How Much Does It Take to Create a Virtual Reality App?

For many of us, virtual reality is kind of a fiction environment known from movies and books. But nowadays this environment has become a part of reality, our everyday routine. And it goes further and becomes closer changing the world around us.

How does it happen? Let’s start from the very beginning. Virtual reality is, first of all, an aggregate of computer technologies. Its software generates realistic sounds, images, and possibly more sensations to create a completely new environment around you. For virtual reality developers, it’s quite a challenge and adventure at the same time. With each new application, they face a bunch of tasks that, eventually, lead to creating a new universe.

If you think that your company will hardly ever need a virtual environment, be ready to wonder. At present, virtual reality app development finds its use far and near. And it’s not all about gaming.

Captivating Uses of VR Applications

In 2016, virtual reality market made huge steps comparing to an uncertain gait of last years. We may say the year was foundational for the whole branch. It is explained with a new hardware (Oculus Rift and HTC Vive) and content (Batman: Arkham VR and Chair in a Room). And, at the same time, industry conferences brought virtual reality app development companies and investors together.

Virtual Reality App Development - Captivating Uses

Pursuant to BI Intelligence, VR market appeared to be highly fragmented, and this fact lays out potential growth in numerous VR categories. Consequently, developers’ interest and customer’s expectations will lead to the tremendous growth of VR headset shipments.

Tremendous Headset Growth of Virtual Reality App

And entertainment, in this case, is only a part among diverse opportunities of virtual reality. There are numerous uses for VR applications which ultimately can become an idea for a startup.

Top Fields for Virtual Reality Startup

So, we may affirm that creating and using virtual reality innovations make us one stage higher in technical progress and personal growth.

Basic Quality Tips in VR Development

The most challenging task for developers building a virtual reality application is to create an absolutely new environment. Our brain has evolved thousands of years to embrace a natural reality. And now developers teach us to perceive new realities subconsciously. If this experience is overwhelming for you, then they did a great job.

Latency as the first enemy of VR

The latency between the physical movement of a user’s head and updated photons from a head mounted display reaching their eyes is one of the most critical factors in providing a high-quality experience.
John Carmack, game programmer, aerospace and virtual reality engineer.

The reality in front of the eyes of your user should coincide in time with any movements. If you turn your head, and the image appears a few seconds later, your brain will probably send you wrong signals.

For interactive applications, an advisable latency should be less than 20 ms with its target quantity of 5 ms.


In this part, you think how your application will communicate with the user without any keyboard and mouse, and how you manage it considering an ergonomic aspect.

Primary ways to interact:

  • Navigation in the environment
  • Entering text
  • Menu and graphical user interfaces (GUIs)
  • Manipulating an object.

Virtual Reality App Interactions

So the developer should think about these basic interactions, than those from his app and find the best solutions. Here are some examples how a navigation part can be done:

  • Joystick
  • Pointing any destination with a hand-held device
  • Saying the destination out loud
  • Walking around
  • Gestures
  • Picking the destination on the map, etc.

The solution on the best technique for each interaction context requires a strong expertise.

Virtual body (avatar)

Virtual reality is all about complete immersion into another world. It means your body stays in the natural environment, and you don’t see it anymore. A virtual representation of yourself and others is called an avatar. It depends on the developer whether this representation is realistic or differs completely from the user’s appearance.

According to the new research from University College London, the use of avatars in VR enhances the sense of presence. This information is strongly important for those developers who build virtual training programs.

Again, if you want your VR project to look convincing, strengthen the feeling of presence for the user. It gives him an understanding of how exactly he acts and reacts in completely new and unwonted situations.

Collaborative environment

Collaboration in virtual reality means that in one space people can interact with each other even if physically they are in different parts of the world. This option can be rather helpful for particular branches:

  • Entertainment: multi-player games
  • Education: distance learning
  • Medicine: surgery simulation
  • Healthcare: phobia treatment
  • Art: interactive installations
  • Marketing: consumer interaction

Collaborative Environment of Virtual Reality

The collaborative virtual environment gives people new forms of communication. In contrast to the static, linear work, virtual co-operations enable users to change or amend the information within one common environment.

High-end VR systems

Using high-end (high quality) VR systems also requires careful consideration. Nowadays, there are several most popular systems of this kind: CAVEs™, workbenches, and domes. There are some specific issues when you use them:

  • Creating the correct perspective depending on the user’s position
  • Managing multi-screens or multiple graphics cards
  • Haptics force- and feedback
  • Displaying various types of stereoscopy (active, passive, side-by-side, etc.)

High-end systems require a specific experience, so consider hiring a specialist with an appropriate level of knowledge.

How Much Does VR Application Development Cost

There are many factors that have an influence on the final price of a VR product. Much of the costs are dependent on the VR content. At the same time, many components have a role in determining the full cost of an application.

So there are 4 basic constituents of the price:

  • Content. The more realistic and interactive content you want to create, the higher cost you get. For example, using a 360-degree camera is not the same as building a complex interactive graphic simulation.
  • Headsets influence on a user’s experience in a big way. You can count on Google Cardboard headset and go mobile – your consumer uses only his smartphone. If you want more immersive experience, work with a high-end PC (Oculus or Vive headset).
  • Software. Anything more complicated than a 360-degree video played back with a web browser requires building a software application. Google Cardboard and Samsung Gear are mobile systems, hence you create an iOS or Android application.
  • Distribution. Marketing and distribution are those components that lead you to a final user. Developing a mobile application, it won’t cost much to distribute it in the iTunes and Google Play Stores. Another free way to promote the project is using social networks and YouTube – here you may want to use paid social tactics for a faster result. To know more about the whole process of distribution, read how to start a mobile app marketing campaign.

Adding all these aspects together we get a final cost to develop a VR mobile app. For now, it is about $25000-50000.

Final Thought

It’s time to leave our imaginary worlds, wake up and meet the reality. VR development is not just a part of 3D effects at the movies. It is a helpful assistant for scientists, businessmen, students – for all of us who want to make a step forward. Now this niche is almost unoccupied, but, at the same time, one of the most fast-growing. The prognoses are really impressive – a headset seem to be a gadget we’ve all waited for! And the market still anticipates a killer application blowing our minds.

As any other branch of app development, VR has its own critical issues you should think over carefully. Almost all of them are about a user and how he feels in this overwhelming reality. First, it is latency. Physiology and computer sciences meet in one place – now you think of the right time for the image to appear after every movement of a user. Second is the process of interaction. If you can see, you probably want to get more – walk, touch, and learn things around. How could a developer manage this process? There are dozens of ways to ponder. How a person sees others and himself are two more issues requiring developers’ expertise.

All decisions you make on the way influence heavily on the final cost of the project. You can’t get one all-purpose technique to create a VR app for any business. Headsets, content, software, and marketing strategy – these several words include step-by-step consideration. Who knows, maybe sooner or later your startup plan will become a revolution for all iPhone and Android users.

Virtual Reality App Development

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