The key product utilized in the VR world is the headset, originally prohibitively expensive, but currently dropping in price. As a matter of fact, you can buy a D-scope Pro Google Cardboard 3D Virtual Reality Kit for less than $20.
Historically, one might consider the stereoscope as the first step towards virtual reality. It was invented in the 1800's and consisted of a viewer which allowed the left and right eyes to view two separate but identical pictures, giving a three dimensional effect.
The more modern version is the View-Master, created in 1939, which gave the users the same effect but gave the ability to click through a series of pictures.
Of course, Oculus is considered to be one of the largest virtual reality technology companies, with its popular Oculus Rift, a virtual reality head-mounted display for video gaming. Mark Zuckerberg saw the writing on the wall and Facebook ended up paying $2 billion for the company in 2014.
Many other companies are involved in virtual reality and augmented reality, such as Adobe (ADBE), Alphabet/Google (GOOGL), Apple (AAPL), Microsoft (MSFT), and Sony (SNE), but it is currently only a small part of their business. A list of over 30 virtual reality and augmented reality stocks can be found at WallStreetNewsNetwork.com.
However, although there are no truly pure plays, there are a few smaller companies where the VR business can bring a substantial amount of money to their bottom line.
One example is Immersion (IMMR) which is working on force feedback for virtual reality. Force feedback, also called haptic technology and kinesthetic communication, is the creation of the sense of touch to the user, through the use of vibrations or motions.
Immersion is one of the leaders in haptic technology. The stock has a nosebleed high trailing price to earnings ratio of 901, but a more reasonable forward P/E of 26. The company is debt free and has $2.11 in cash per share.
Kopin (KOPN) develops, makes, and markets virtual and augmented reality gaming, training and simulation products. The company is currently generating negative earnings but is debt free with $1.42 in cash per share.
Microvision (MVIS) makes PicoP scanning technology for three-dimensional sensing and image capture. This company, like Kopin, also generates negative earnings, but is also debt free. It has 22 cents in cash per share. On the positive side, Macrovision's quarterly revenues jumped 311% year over year.
These three companies are small cap, and should therefore be considered very speculative. Many other VR stocks can be found at WallStreetNewsNetwork.com. Hopefully a virtual reality stock will make your profits a reality.
Disclosure: Author owned AAPL and MSFT at the time the article was written.
Modern picture courtesy of Pixabay.