According to a recent study by Hexa Research, the global 3D gaming console market is predicted to grow at a lucrative pace (over 12% CAGR) during 2016 to 2024 (forecast period). Analysts have anticipated market volumes to exceed 61 million units by 2024. 3D gaming consoles offer extraordinary experiences. Their great attraction lies in playing games in real environments. This coupled with technological innovations acts as a critical driver.
Sales of these devices have increased owing to rising purchasing power &gamers’ average spending. These products are specifically preferred by young professionals who draw high salaries. Real time gameplay experiences and realistic visuals offered by 3D technology are addictive. The technology offers accurate spatial localization.
Three-dimensional video game devices can support stereoscopic three-dimensional gameplay on peripheral and integrated displays. The images obtained create a depth-illusion for gamers. They also provide accurate perception on surface materials in gameplay zones. This improves the immersive experience, making the gameplay more realistic.
3D gaming products are well-equipped to project 3D images from conventional 2D games and dedicated S3D games in multidimensional format. The games & entertainment industry has expanded from 2D to multidimensional gameplay. The same is being enabled by rising affordability of three-dimensional display technologies, advanced game software applications, and console accessories. This is foreseen to open more opportunities for device manufacturers.
Advanced gaming technology has registered slow growth in the past, primarily due to high display & hardware costs. However, in the recent times, this barrier has been eliminated owing to affordable multidimensional display technologies and their entry in the home entertainment genre.
Aggressive strategies adopted by players also boost market earnings. Technological proliferation in the form of motion sensors, multi-screen displays, & intelligent communication has led players enjoy more intense & interactive gaming sessions.
The main industry restraint is the high costs involved in developing gaming software. Another concern revolves around extended ‘3D game’ usage, which can be detrimental to human health. Also, advanced smartphones pose a threat to the 3D gaming console market. The worldwide market is split on the basis of components, technologies, platforms, consoles, end-users, and regions.
Hardware and software are the key components. Few of the technologies comprise Auto Stereoscopy, Active Shutter Technology, Leap Motion, and Project Holodeck. KINECT motion gaming, Oculus Rift, Polarized Shutter Technology, and Xbox IllumiRoom constitute the remainder. Active shutter technology uses alternate-frame sequencing that blocks light on one eye and shows proper image to the other.
On the other hand, polarized shutter relies on polarized filters that cover the screen. This kind of a display exploits light’s ‘wave-like’ properties to control what is visible to each eye. Each eye is shown only its intended perspective, although the output for both eyes is simultaneously reflected on the screen.
With several platforms available in the industry; Microsoft Xbox, Nintendo Wii, and Sony Playstation are the most renowned. Consoles include hand-held, home, dedicated, and micro. Healthcare, gaming, and mobile are the primary end-users of 3D consoles.
In the healthcare industry, systems are being introduced to train doctors & other medical experts diagnose illnesses, treat patients, and perform robotic surgeries. One such instance is that of scientists at the University of Washington having developed ‘virtual reality’ in SnowWorld (a game for distracting burn victims). This technology is for patients who undergo excruciatingly-painful therapies & other burn treatments.
North America, Asia Pacific, Europe, South America, and MEA (Middle East & Africa) are the regional segments. Europe occupied the largest market shares in 2015. It is likely to continue its leadership till 2024. Asia Pacific is another dominant region, followed by North America.
China is a major contributor to Asia Pacific, almost rivaling with North America. Technological innovations; like virtual & augmented reality, 3D imaging, etc. will augment Asian Pacific shares. In fact, this region could grow at the fastest rate over the next eight years. Apart from China; India, Japan, and South Korea are expected to heavily contribute to Asian Pacific sales. This regional market for games that incorporate virtual reality (VR) would reach around USD 6 billion by 2019.
U.S. will fare well in the coming years. This may be attributed to its rising adoption of 3D consoles. North America and Europe, being developed, should generate the largest demand for high-tech video game devices.
Some of the prominent players in the global 3D gaming console market encompass Microsoft Corporation; Sony Computer Entertainment Inc.; Nintendo Co.; and Activision Publishing Inc. Apple Inc.; Avatar Reality Inc.; Kaneva LLC; Electronic Arts Inc.; Linden Lab Inc.; and Oculus VR are the other reputed companies.
Sony is a leading player in video games. Its key strategies comprise the introduction of novel products and collaborations with software & hardware developers. Its recent alliances with YoYo Games and Unity Technologies have made PlayStation developers access Unity’s engine tools without increasing the cost burdens. Sony also launched its fourth generation ‘PlayStation’ version. As of May 2016, Sony had sold over 40 million PlayStation 4 units. The company is scheduled to release Morpheus VR headsets in October 2016.
Oculus VR is focused on applying virtual reality concepts to multidimensional gameplay. Its key products are Gear VR and Rift. The company has partnered with top PC vendors to develop systems that are optimized for Rift. Since these systems are designed & assembled to be compatible for Rift, they promise an extraordinary VR experience.
Microsoft Corporation recently launched Xbox game stations and HoloLens virtual reality headsets. This is viewed as an attempt to penetrate the three-dimensional games station industry. The firm also announced a slimmer version of Xbox One. It is working on a new video game device that provides true 4K gaming and exceptional VR experiences. Nintendo and Snail have introduced ‘next-gen’ video game products to keep up with the competition.
Most manufacturers strive to provide more realistic & immersive gaming experiences. They are engaged in high-tech research for the same. These manufacturers adopt mergers, acquisitions, and alliances. Given the nature of the worldwide market, vendors introducing the best gameplay experience & selling it at affordable prices should emerge winners.
Research Support Specialist, USA