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Samsung is all-in on virtual reality, as if it were the next smartphone.

The latest estimates from global market research firm TrendForce show the virtual reality market growing from under $7 billion today to $70 billion in 2020. In the next 10 years, it’s estimated that there will be 135 million VR headsets in America alone. That’s one for every three people.

John Pleasants, executive vice president at Samsung Media Solutions Center America, said in a keynote speech at the Samsung Developer Conference in San Francisco that first-time demos of VR always provoke big emotional reactions. And the company is doing what it can to create a viable ecosystem for virtual reality, including the hardware like the Samsung Gear VR mobile headset and the Gear 360 camera.

“If you want to go deep on VR, we can help,” Pleasants said.


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Pleasants said that the appeal of VR will reach across industries, and it’s already taking off in entertainment in the form of 360-degree videos. These videos are more immersive, making you feel like you are in the place where the story is happening, he said.

Samsung is creating software to do things like embed the Samsung MilkVR video player. MilkVR and Gear 360 will be fully integrated, so you can post VR videos on your own channel on the MilkVR site.

Pleasants said that fans have already spent 228 years watching VR video on MilkVR. With Wevr, Samsung partnered to create a VR show dubbed “Gone,” an original thriller video series in VR.

“I think this is a sweet spot for Samsung,” said Patrick Moorhead, analyst for Moor Insights & Strategy, in an email. “In VR, tight linkages between software and hardware is vital because and reduction in latency kills the experience. I think if Samsung keeps innovating and can move up the VR food chain, they will be a player to be reckoned with. It’s also a spot Apple hasn’t even entered yet, so in a way, they could have the space all to their own, at least on the mobile side.”

Third parties such as Mountain Dew built a VR app with a lobby. Others have built ways to discover video, and livestream content. Samsung is seeking as many developers as it can to rethink businesses beyond entertainment in just about every industry.

Tim Merel, the CEO of Eyetouch Reality and managing director of Digi-Capital, said that Samsung is indeed getting more serious about enhancing its relations with VR developers.

“Samsung’s approach of integrating support, relationships, and investment should make a major difference to both Samsung’s own success and the success of developers working in partnership with it,” said Merel.

Merel is speaking about the reality of augmented reality and VR business models in our lightning round talks at the GamesBeat Summit next week.


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