Mapping the growth of Virtual Reality in the UK

Internet of things, artificial intelligence and virtual reality - just a few of the emerging technology buzzwords which are growing in popularity at the moment. But beyond the hype - what is happening on the ground in the UK to turn these technologies into part of our everyday lives?

PwC, in partnership with ImmerseUK and Digital Catapult, is now able to answer that question for virtual and augmented reality. In what is believed to be the largest ever exercise of this type, we have produced an interactive map and dashboard showing the most thorough picture available of the VR and AR scene across the UK at this moment in time. It shows a wide variety of data including:

  • How many VR/AR organisations are in each city
  • How much venture capital (VC) funding companies in each city have received
  • How many academic institutions are researching VR/AR
  • The split between companies who are creating content, building technology, or offering a service
  • How mature the companies are (micro, startup, scaleup and established)

Perhaps unsurprisingly, London is where the majority of the 463 listed VR/AR companies call home. The capital has real dominance too - the UK’s largest city plays host to over 12 times as many companies as second place, Bristol, which plays host to 20 companies.

So what are all these companies doing? The majority (65%) are focused on producing content. A further quarter (25%) of companies are developing the technology that enables further VR experiences to be built and enhanced. The remaining 10% are operating in the service sector, for example building a dedicated VR cinema or providing VR/AR marketing services. Interestingly, we are also seeing legal firms starting to offer tailored services to VR/AR companies - another sign of the growing industry and impending legislation development in this area.

The technology shows no sign of slowing with over half of the 463 companies at an early stage, either ‘micro’ or ‘start up’ - the VR/AR renaissance lives on.

Click here to explore the interactive map and dashboard and drill down into the research’s findings. Think there is a missing organisation? You can suggest additional companies or academic institutions that you know are working in the field via this link, or share any other feedback you may have via this link.

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