Growing VR/AR companies in the UK

Digital Catapult, in collaboration with PwC, has produced this handbook for the benefit of VR/AR companies in the UK. Those new to the industry looking to build such companies as well as organisations seeking to adopt VR/AR solutions may also find this information useful.

It aims to analyse the VR/AR industry, mainly from a business and legal perspective, to examine its current and likely future in the short term (1-2 years), medium term (2-5 years) and long term (5-10 years). As a result, the handbook:
  • Provides guidance on current challenges
  • Raises concerns to be aware of and understand, now and in the future
  • Makes recommendations to leverage opportunities and mitigate concerns
For the full report analysis download the Growing VR/AR companies in the UK handbook.

Top 10 takeaways


  1. Challenges of mainstream adoption:
    • Content: there is currently not enough quality content available to consumers to justify their purchase of VR/AR hardware.
    • Education: there is a lack of public knowledge of what VR/AR technology actually is and what it can do.
    • Cost: although prices have fallen drastically in the past few years, the cost of high-end VR/AR hardware is still a major deterrent for consumers.
    • User experience: the experience between unboxing some VR/AR hardware and being able to use it is still arduous. The headsets themselves are heavy and unfashionable, and users are used to far higher fidelity screens.
  2. Industry perspective: for many VR/AR companies, the technology is the lens through which they see themselves. However, when seeking investment there may be more effective ways to present their company. Potential investors may also have preconceived ideas about VR/AR technology which will handicap the investment case before it is fully delivered.
  3. UK based incentives: it is important to take advantage of the full range available - these include government grants, R&D tax credits, the Patent Box and Video Games Tax Relief.
  4. Finding the 'killer uses': the concept of a single killer application that covers the whole of the VR/AR industry does not make sense given the wide range of applications across different industries. The future of VR/AR is being driven not by a single killer application for the whole market, but rather by 'killer uses' of the technology.
  5. Choosing the right VR/AR device: this will depend on a number of factors relating to the intended user group and attributes of the product.


  1. IP Rights in the VR/AR environment will give rise to many new issues: what can be done to protect intellectual property rights, what licence agreements need to be put in place for content in a VR/AR environment, and how will licencing VR/AR content or technology to customers or business partners be affected? How will these new forms of exploitation interact with existing rights agreements? What happens when users of a VR/AR service create new designs, art works or products in a VR/AR world?
  2. Legal liability: consider how provision of VR/AR technology and services could give rise to risks of injury or legal liability for fraud, harassment or other criminal activities? What can be done in terms of use and what other practical measures can be taken to manage these risks?
  3. Ownership of property: is it possible to 'own' virtual property? How will the law address the 'theft' or sale and purchase of virtual assets and currencies?
  4. Content standards: what regulation and standards apply to virtual content and how might these evolve as the VR/AR market develops?
  5. Jurisdiction: users of VR/AR services will be able to interact with each other from different locations across multiple jurisdictions - which countries' laws will apply to the provision of services and to determine obligations between the providers and users of services?

"VR/AR technology is already showing value in the enterprise space by creating more efficient or effective ways of training staff, designing physical products, and contextualising real world elements."

Growing VR/AR companies in the UK
A business and legal handbook
Download the full report
Alyssa Bonic
Alyssa Bonic

Head of Creative Industries, Digital Catapult,


Digital Catapult drives the early adoption of digital technologies to make UK businesses more competitive and productive to grow the country’s economy.

Digital Catapult website

In addition to this handbook, there are a number of other complimentary reports on the immersive industry:

In July 2018, Digital Catapult kicked off the second cohort of its Augmentor programme which aims to accelerate business adoption and investment in the immersive sector in the UK.

Contact us

Jeremy Dalton

Jeremy Dalton

Head of VR/AR, PwC United Kingdom

Tel: +44 (0)7701 295956

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