Monica Schipper/Getty Images for Tribeca Film Festival
Worldwide revenues for the augmented reality and virtual reality market are projected to approach $14 billion in 2017, according to IDC, the market research firm. But that’s forecast to explode to $143 billion by 2020.
Facebook is setting itself up to be a key player. In its quest, Facebook has acquired 11 AR/VR companies, mostly through its subsidiary Oculus, according to research from data visualization and analytics startup Quid. Since 2013, Quid values those acquisitions at $2.16 billion, using publicly disclosed deal values.
Facebook is building AR glasses and has a separate VR team working on ways to bring virtual reality into Facebook, like the social VR product it demoed at F8. Facebook sees VR and AR ultimately colliding, and CEO Mark Zuckerberg says VR goggles are a stepping stone to AR glasses. So it makes sense that it would be spending heavily.
But Facebook is hardly the only company making big AR/VR plays.
Venture capital firm Rothenberg Ventures has made 32 investments in the industry. HTC, the smartphone maker that produces Vive VR goggles, has been the leading corporate investor in AR/VR startups with 28 investments.
Naturally, increased investment is leading to hiring sprees for AR/VR jobs.
In the past two years, the number of augmented and virtual reality jobs posted on LinkedInhas tripled. Of course, LinkedIn postings don’t represent all the open jobs in the business — many are secret, such as those at Apple — but they do give an indication of some of the companies looking to expand their AR/VR teams.
Facebook-owned Oculus has the most (86) current positions listed for jobs involving VR or AR, according to data provided by LinkedIn. Facebook also has 16 listings right now for VR/AR jobs outside of Oculus.
Other tech mainstays including Intel, Microsoft (which makes the HoloLens) and Google are hiring in the field, as are startups like 3-D camera company Lytro.
Source: LinkedIn | Note: Job postings as of April 2017.
Most of these jobs, according to LinkedIn, are based in the United States, followed by the U.K., Germany and India.