This week we had the privilege to sit down with Stephanie Llamas, VP, Research and Strategy and Head of Immersive Technology Insights at SuperData. Stephanie is an augmented and virtual reality expert who oversees research design and products across all digital gaming and interactive media segments for the company. Here’s what she had to say!
Can you tell us about SuperData and how this company came to be?
We are a market intelligence firm that opened shop in 2009. Our CEO Joost van Dreunen saw that there was a lack of transparency in the digital games market, which at the time was very new and not well understood. In early 2010 we secured angel funding to build a proprietary dataset on digital point-of-sale data. Once we established a reliable data stream and a network of partners such as publishers and payment providers, we developed products and reports on games across all segments, including mobile, PC, and console.
In recent years we have been able to expand our research using the resources we’ve gathered. This includes online video content, esports, and of course, XR. What makes our XR research unique is that it covers the entire industry, not just consumer and entertainment. We are able to do that because XR’s beginnings are mostly rooted in games and using game development tools. This opened the door for us to establish our VR Data Network, which has been providing us with tangible analytics we can use to more accurately understand the present and future potential for the market. By embedding ourselves in the industry, we have been able to combine our learnings and resources to gain a holistic sense of the market.
How does SuperData fit into the Live Event landscape?
Our research examines all points of opportunities for stakeholders in the industries we cover. For instance, gamers are not just playing games – they are watching esports and live streams, too, and this presents many opportunities not just to publishers but brands, investors, and so on. We take the same approach to looking at XR. It’s not just about what’s right in front of us – what’s happening now – but what the future could look like. XR combines pretty much all of the consumer entertainment technology we use today, so it’s only natural that live events will become a major part of this ecosystem in time.
What’s the difference between Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality?
Augmented Reality really contains three categories: mobile AR, head-mounted AR (which is often what we think of when we talk about Mixed Reality), and tabletop AR.
Virtual Reality, on the other hand, is fully occluded – meaning the outside world is completely out of view. It requires a headset and for the user to be situated within the virtual environment.
Do you remember your first experience with AR/VR?
Without counting my experience with mobile devices, my first true VR experience was with the VIVE. I did Office Simulator and a couple other demos. It was like a light switched on, but a light I didn’t even know was there. VR is all about the experience, and once I was fully immersed in a high-end virtual environment I realized just how transformative this would be. I didn’t want to take the headset off!
What are some of the exciting things happening in the AR/VR space right now and what’re you looking forward to most in 2018?
I’m really excited about enterprise applications we are starting to see in VR, AR and MR.
SuperData works with some of the largest brands on the planet (Microsoft, Visa, PlayStation, PayPal, etc.). What’s your secret?
We just try to create research that is honest, actionable and answers the right questions. I’ve also always loved that our priority at SuperData is not money – it’s people. We are so lucky to have so many talented, passionate and hardworking people who enjoy coming to work everyday. And I think when you have an organization that takes so much pride in what they do, it shows in your output.
At SuperData, you compile lots of information and data about the Esports industry. Can you tell us a little about the development of this industry and SuperData’s future in Esports?
When we started looking at the esports industry several years ago it was almost invisible to most people. But in the last couple years it’s begun to infiltrate the mainstream as successful partnerships with media like TV networks and streaming channels have brought visibility to tournaments. And publishers are heavily investing in infrastructure: Activision Blizzard and their Overwatch League are a great example of garnering widespread interest both on the corporate and consumer side. These developments are how esports brought in $1.9B in revenue and investments last year, and will earn $3.2B by 2021.
Can you tell us about the SuperData Arcade?
The SuperData Arcade is like the chest where we keep our treasure – it’s a cross-platform portal where users can navigate through our games data and see how major titles, markets and regions are performing. It allows for custom segmentation and reporting, and gives insights on everything from high-level trends to granular KPIs.
For more information, visit our website: https://www.superdataresearch.com
At SuperData, you offer a plethora of reports, available for download or for purchase, on your website. Tell us how SuperData creates these reports and what insights we can expect to learn from them?
We cover the entire digital games and interactive media spaces, providing data and insights on the PC, console, mobile, free-to-play, gaming video content, esports and XR spaces. We use point-of-sale transaction data to measure KPIs for major titles and markets. For streaming content and esports, we are able to gather data through our partnerships with stakeholders and consumer studies. XR includes a variety of resources, including web analytics, our XR Data Network and qualitative research. All of our research provides actionable insights that help strategic decision-making when creating products or considering entering into these spaces. There’s a whole lot more I can’t fit here so if you want more information about what we do and how we do it, get in touch!
Will you give us a bold prediction for AR/VR in 2018?
- Magic Leap will stop raising funds… just kidding.
- A game publisher will make over $20M on a single VR-only title in 2018.