This IDC study forecasts VR and AR in three major hardware buckets. The first is screenless viewers, which strap a smartphone screen to a person's face. The second is tethered head-mounted displays (HMDs), which connect to general-purpose compute device such as a smartphone, PC, or console. The third is standalone HMDs, which have the necessary, compute power integrated into the display or attached to it. Each of these categories will have a role to play in growth of the broader AR/VR market.
"In 2016, virtual reality will catapult into the spotlight with major launches from Oculus, HTC/Valve, and Sony building on the early momentum created by Samsung's first smartphone-based product," says Tom Mainelli, IDC VP for Devices and AR/VR. "VR growth begins now and will dominate much of the public discussion in the near term, but longer-term augmented reality represents a much larger technology evolution and opportunity. AR hardware will take longer to mature, but over time, it will grow to represent a much larger opportunity for hardware, software, and service companies."