According to Tianfeng Securities, Facebook and Sony have ordered a large number of new and more expensive optical lenses, which means that the two companies will likely launch new VR hardware in 2022.
The last time Facebook launched a new lens design dates back to May 2018, when it released Oculus Go (now discontinued). Meanwhile, Quest, Quest 2, and Rift S also use a lens model called “Super Libra G”. Besides, PSVR, which was unveiled as early as the end of 2016, needs a new optical lens to update the iteration. Sources revealed that PSVR 2 has higher resolution, the inside-out tracking and positioning function, head-mounted touch sensors, and even gaze point rendering. Thus, the use of new optical lenses is inevitable.
The current mainstream VR headset has a field of view angle of 100 degrees. It is reported that the new lens can improve the field of view and resolution of the headset. In March this year, Facebook AR/VR vice president Bosworth stated on Instagram AMA that he prefers to study the higher field of view, which may be more influential than the wide field of view. The news also claims that Facebook’s new headset to be released in 2022 will be named “Oculus Quest 3”, but the name has not yet been officially confirmed. In April this year, Bosworth answered in an Instagram AMA public Q&A session that Quest 2 will remain in the market for a long time.
However, Bosworth discussed “Quest Pro” in this answer session, suggesting that this headset will add new features, but it will not be released immediately in 2021. This shows that Facebook may plan to introduce a new lens in the Pro model first. As time goes by and the cost of the new optical lens decreases, the new lens will eventually be applied to the Quest 3.
According to the results of the “Steam Hardware and Software Survey” published by Vlave in May 2021, approximately 2.31% of Steam players have used at least one VR headset in May. In terms of market share, Facebook’s Oculus brand continued to maintain its lead in May, and the user usage rate of Oculus Quest 2 achieved the greatest increase (1.55%). Last month, the Oculus brand headset market accounted for about 60%, and Facebook’s strength in the VR headset market is well recognized by users.
1. New VR/AR scenarios in the 5G era accelerate shipment growth
The arrival of 5G not only enhances the existing virtual experience, but also expands new scenarios and applications. Let VR/AR in the 5G era become the most anticipated application scenario. 5G uses cloud computing to do a lot of processing on the edge cloud. The use of high a CPU/GPU will not consume too much power. The fast connection of 5G can quickly communicate the local area, which will strongly support the improvement of users’ VR/AR product experience.
In fact, VR/AR are similar in key devices and terminal shapes, overlap in key technologies, and differ in application areas. Both VR and AR require a computer to draw virtual images. The images in VR are all drawn by a computer, which generally requires a high-performance GPU. At the same time, because VR is a closed audio and video immersive experience, it has higher requirements for display quality. Most of the images in AR are shot through lens projection or camera, and computer-drawn images account for a relatively small amount, which does not require a high GPU. However, AR needs to understand the scene, need to use complex algorithms, and run in real-time, so AR has very high requirements on the computing performance of the CPU.
Although there are differences between the two, as users experience VR/AR products more frequently, the demand for VR/AR products has risen. The shipment of virtual display terminals has grown steadily. It is estimated that the growth rate of virtual display shipments during the five-year period 2020-2024 will be approximately 86%, of which the growth rates of VR and AR will be 56% and 188% respectively. In 2023, AR terminal shipments are expected to surpass VR. Compared with the relatively flat terminal shipments in 2018-2020, with the iterative sale of benchmark VR/AR terminals such as Facebook Quest2 and Microsoft Hololens2 and the development and promotion of virtual display terminals by telecom operators, 2021 is expected to become a critical year for the scale and significant growth of virtual display terminals.
2. The trend of VR/AR investment and financing is on the rise, and the scale of major capital layouts has increased
In 2020, the scale of investment and financing in VR/AR continued to rise, and the scale of overseas investment increased significantly. Since most companies in the VR/AR industry are still in the early stage of entrepreneurship and rely heavily on external financing and mergers and acquisitions for R&D activities, investment and financing are still important indicators of the industry’s prosperity. In terms of scale, the scale of VR/AR investment and financing reached 24.4 billion yuan in 2020, and there were 219 investment, financing mergers and acquisitions, which achieved three consecutive years of growth. Among them, the scale of overseas investment has increased significantly, the research and understanding of industries and capital on the industry has become more in-depth, and investment and financing activities have become more active. From the link point of view, hardware and applications are still key links. The industry is still working hard on the upstream hardware, the competitive landscape has not yet formed, and the hardware needs to be mature, which is also the direction of the capital layout.
In the case of financing mergers and acquisitions in 2019 and 2020, the amount of mergers and acquisitions in the field of AR glasses ranks first. There have been several major mergers and acquisitions in the AR glasses field, including Magic Leap, North, and Nreal. In addition, it also has a high degree of investment and financing activity in the fields of solutions, tool software, and games. At the same time, VR/AR semiconductor chip manufacturers have also begun to have a higher degree of attention. Among them, the largest financing is 3D imaging semiconductor company Inuitive to obtain a $106 million investment. WIMI, as a listed company in the holographic AR industry, has obtained industry gathering and support through investment and acquisition of many R&D companies in the holographic AR industry, forming a powerful holographic AR technology research and development ecosystem, and building a holographic AR value industry chain with great potential for expansion.
3. WIMI’s VR/AR application in the 5G era enhances the hardware product experience
According to data, WIMI Hologram Cloud was established in 2015. In 2020, WIMI has successively received strategic investments from Weibo and other well-known investment institutions, and its revenue increased by 140.0% year-on-year to 766 million yuan. Through financing mergers and acquisitions, WIMI has carried out related investment layouts. It also has carried out cross-field production and research cooperation and cooperated in the research and development of AR chip technology. In the meantime, WIMI established a subsidiary VR/AR optical R&D center in Hainan, and has great technical advantages in the fields of 3D holographic pulse lidar products, VR/AR, HUD, and sensors. Besides, as early as a few years ago, WIMI carried out extensive cooperation in the fields of smart terminals and VR/AR.
WIMI independently developed a head-mounted display for the holographic AR system. The head-mounted display used in the holographic AR system can realize the immersion required by holographic applications, and can send head movement data and external image information to the host computer. It includes a holographic data collection and transmission module and a micro-display module. The holographic data collection and transmission module includes an image sensor, a Bluetooth module, and a processor. The holographic data collection and transmission module completes the collection of head movement data and the collection of holographic image information of the real scene.
The head-mounted display optical system is computer-generated, and the holographic AR image source output is digitized and holographically imaged in the user’s field of view. It has the advantages of the large field of view, low power consumption, wearable, modular, stereoscopic display, and a high degree of customization.
At the same time, WIMI vigorously developed a team, recruited software and hardware talents in the VR/AR field, and established the WIMI Holographic Academy of Sciences. WIMI’s research and development costs have increased significantly, and more IT engineers have been hired to engage in research on advanced AR holography and related projects. On the one hand, WIMI set out to layout the VR/AR hardware equipment market, on the other hand, it lays out VR/AR content production and content operation, and is moving in the direction of creation pluses content operation. In April this year, WIMI also obtained a patent for holographic real-time imaging with an atomized particle size of 2-4μm, further improving the intellectual property protection system and maintaining its leading position in technology.
Every industrial revolution will have a huge impact on mankind and promote changes in the economic foundation and superstructure. The third industrial revolution achieved the current global leading position of the Internet. With the coming of the fourth industrial revolution, the country has focused its efforts on the national strategic policy of enhancing the country’s comprehensive strength and international competitiveness.
In addition, in the 5G era, global technology giants are rapidly deploying the VR/AR industry, and the market has introduced policy support for the VR/AR industry, supporting the development of VR/AR entire chain industry. WIMI and other chain companies have deployed multiple parties ahead of time, accelerated innovation, and relied on their core advantages such as advanced R&D capabilities to make the domestic VR/AR ecosystem to a higher level.
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