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How much Money can you make in VR?

As a race, we humans have final­ly hit the wall. Real­i­ty just does­n’t cut it any­more. We need vir­tu­al real­ty ( VR ), aug­ment­ed real­i­ty. mixed real­i­ty. It’s evo­lu­tion. It’s progress. It’s what all the cool kids are talk­ing about. And it’s about to be a huge busi­ness opportunity.

Last fall Forbes report­ed that more than $4 bil­lion had been invest­ed in vir­tu­al real­i­ty since 2010.

That actu­al­ly does­n’t seem too over­whelm­ing a fig­ure for such a high-tech sci-fi type of enter­prise, and it seems much low­er when you con­sid­er that $2 bil­lion of that was Face­book buy­ing Ocu­lus, the mak­er of the Ocu­lus Rift VR head­set that has been the talk of VR enthu­si­asts for the last few years but still has­n’t made a breakthrough.

Then there was the much hyped but then much maligned Google Glass, the first real­ly big thing in aug­ment­ed real­i­ty, which also failed to make any seri­ous head­way. So should you inves­ti­gate a job in any of these alter­nate real­i­ty fields, or are we still tears away from any­one find­ing any­thing viable? As is almost always the case, fol­low­ing the mon­ey is a good clue to the answer.

Depend­ing on which Ven­ture Beat arti­cle you believe, the VR indus­try could be worth either $30 bil­lion or $120 bil­lion by 2020. That’s only four short years from now, and even if you go with the small­er esti­mate it’s a big oppor­tu­ni­ty. Invest­ments in the space are pick­ing up, and the broad­er appli­ca­tions for the tech­nol­o­gy are start­ing to be dis­cussed and under­stood more as well.

The first thing that jumps to most peo­ple’s minds when they hear the phrase ‘vir­tu­al real­i­ty’ is video games, and right­ly so. Gam­ing as an indus­try has explod­ed in the past decade and shows no sign of slow­ing. Who would have thought, back when we were play­ing our Game­boys and our orig­i­nal Playsta­tion con­soles, that today there would be peo­ple being paid to play video games pro­fes­sion­al­ly around the world, or that there would be tele­vi­sion broad­casts where we could watch oth­ers play­ing? Yet here we are. And VR in the gam­ing world is an attain­able Holy Grail.

There is also the work NextVR is doing is broad­cast­ing sports events, con­certs, and more in vir­tu­al real­i­ty, allow­ing us to watch Michael Phelps make Olympic Gold Medal his­to­ry or U2 play­ing a show in Vegas from our couch­es in much more detail than the piti­ful 4KHD on our big screens. And edu­ca­tion might see some of the biggest ben­e­fits. Imag­ine stu­dents being able to take a prac­ti­cal­ly-in-per­son tour of the Parthenon or the Pyra­mid of Giza with­out the has­sles of pass­ports and TSA pat-downs?

So where will the pay­day be? Well, unless you’re an investor or a hard­ware cre­ator, the answer is obvi­ous­ly devel­op­ment and adver­tis­ing. The CEO of VR adver­tis­ing plat­form Immersv believes that a year from now devel­op­ers in VR will be able to make up to $50,000 a day from ads. And VR video spon­sor­ship deals can break the $1 mil­lion mark already.

Is there mon­ey to be made in VR? Maybe not in a wide­spread way today. But if you believe the prog­nos­ti­ca­tors in the busi­ness, today is the day to start look­ing for jobs in VR, and in the com­ing years you might be rolling in it.

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