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Is New Zealand's VR sector ready to explode? A new MBIE report says so

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment has released a new report on the potential of virtual reality in New Zealand.

The virtual reality (VR), mixed reality (MR) and augmented reality (AR) sector could reach $320 million in annual revenue in just two years. Oh, and it could also see double the number of workers that the sector has today.

The report, VIRTUAL GETS REAL: The Explosion of Cross Reality in New Zealand, showcases what is known as the cross reality (XR, a term used to describe the continuum of immersive technologies that blur the line between the physical and digital world, including virtual, augmented and mixed reality) sector in New Zealand. It highlights achievements and success stories to date and predicts strong growth for the sector over the next few years. For example, it calculates that around 1,100 people currently work in the sector, a number which could rise to 2,200 by 2019.

MBIE policy director Kim Connolly-Stone says the report will help government, industry and academics to identify the challenges and opportunities associated with XR and what it means for New Zealand and our growing digital economy. “The report is critical to helping us better understand our local XR industry,” Connolly-Stone says. “For example, the report recognises our strong position in some market segments such as holographic capture, local games development and augmented reality. The growth of our XR sector has the potential to create new high-value jobs, export opportunities and improve productivity and competitiveness through the application of these technologies across other sectors such as health, education, and entertainment.”

And she believes the Government has a role to play in it all. “Government has an important role to play in helping New Zealand adapt to this change by making sure the policy and regulatory settings are fit for purpose and by investing in the connectivity infrastructure and the skills needed for the future.  This will help to ensure we are positioned to take full advantage of the benefits that new technologies such as XR can offer.”

The report was commissioned by the New Zealand VR/AR Association in partnership with the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment. It is the first of a two-part exploration into the New Zealand XR ecosystem.

Connolly-Stone says it has other implications, too. “This is a key part of our digital economy work programme, which includes similar work focused on helping us better understand emerging and disruptive technologies such as Artificial Intelligence and the Internet of Things.”

View the report here: http://www.nzvrara.nz/nzvrara-report-one-virtual-gets-real-oct2017/