We get the question every day: how expensive is virtual reality and what costs should I take into account when developing VR applications? Without a detailed concept it is difficult to give an indication or estimate. Since we get the question so often we try to give an insight in this article. The costs are based on 6 years of experience and the development of dozens of VR apps for each platform and for various purposes.
Three different types of VR App
We distinguish three types of virtual reality applications: mobile, stand-alone and desktop. The costs depend on the design, the functionalities and the required hardware.
Mobile VR applications
The user can look around, but not walk around and there is limited interaction possible. These applications often use 360-degree photos or animations to display the environment. Interaction is possible by, for example, selecting multiple-choice questions.
Walking through a room, grasping objects and complex interactions are not possible. These apps are often used on a larger scale for group events, large-scale training courses or for companies with rapidly changing content.
These mobile vr applications make use of VR glasses such as a PICO, or a cardboard variant such as the Google Cardboard.
Costs of a mobile VR application
As a rule, these applications are the cheapest because the environment is simple, the interaction limited and the hardware the cheapest. If you develop your own application, the costs start at around €20,000 and can rise to €40,000. You can make use of existing platforms, which reduces the costs because you only have to develop the content. Mobile VR glasses cost around 350 euros and a Google Cardboard only 5 euros.
Stand-alone VR applicaties
These applications often have a larger, more complex or more beautiful environment with more opportunities for interaction. Think for example of screwing together a pump or replacing the battery of an electric car as in the example below.
Stand-alone VR applications involve glasses such as the Oculus Quest that do not require any external hardware. Stand-alone glasses allow you to walk around and interact, which does require more space.
- Complex applications without PC
- Walk around and interact
- Finer design
- Complex controls
- Less scalable
- Less suitable for heavy-duty applications
Costs of a standalone VR application
The costs of stand-alone vr applications are average. They offer the balance between complex interaction, design and scalability. The glasses are slightly more expensive than mobile VR glasses, about 400 euros. On average, a standalone vr application starts at 25 thousand euros and runs up to 50 thousand.
PC VR applications
In this variant, VR glasses are connected to a PC or desktop. You can walk around and interact with controllers. Thanks to its high computing power, it is very suitable for complex applications, realistic environments and real-time calculations. These apps are used for visualisations or simulations with complex interactions and/or a lot of data.
- Finer designs
- Interactive elements
- Walk around and interact
- Least user friendly
- Cables and PC required
- Costly and less scalable
Costs of a PC VR application
Applications for the PC are the most complex. The price starts at around EUR 30,000 and can rise to EUR 60,000 or more. The price of a pair of glasses is on average around 400 euros. You still need a good laptop or PC, which averages about 2,000 euros.