23 Virtual Reality Companies to Know

VR has made real impacts in healthcare, employee training and, of course, gaming.

Written by Stephen Gossett
23 Virtual Reality Companies to Know
Image: Shutterstock
Brennan Whitfield | Jan 29, 2024

Thanks to a groundswell of virtual reality (VR) companies in recent years, VR has made some great strides and found a home in a variety of industries. The global VR and AR market is expected to reach $454 billion by 2030, along with the estimated creation of 23 million VR-related jobs.

Virtual Reality Companies

  • Apple
  • Meta
  • Microsoft
  • Samsung
  • Unity 
  • Qualcomm
  • Matterport
  • Vicarious Surgical
  • Talespin
  • AppliedVR

Sure, VR is still widely considered as just gaming technology, but it’s also proven a valuable tool in medical training, employee development, e-commerce, retail and non-gaming entertainment. 

We’ve compiled 22 virtual reality companies that are making the VR dream a reality.


22 Virtual Reality (VR) Companies to Know

Location: Cupertino, California 

How it’s innovating VR: In 2023, Apple revealed the Apple Vision Pro, a headset that lets users view and interact with digital objects in a real-life setting. Worn like a pair of goggles, Apple Vision Pro users can navigate apps, view images and watch videos directly from the headset in any environment. It notably features Apple’s first 3D camera, as well as its first spatial operating system, known as visionOS. While the company doesn’t explicitly name the product as VR, AR or mixed reality technology, it shares and applies several similar capabilities, such as using cameras, sensors and display screens to create an immersive experience.


Location: Redmond, Virginia 

How it’s innovating VR: In 2017, Microsoft released its Mixed Reality line of products. The company offers both headsets and VR controls as well as PCs that are compatible with VR equipment. The HoloLens 2 uses holographics to guide players through tasks and is equipped with various enterprise applications. Users can also build custom applications with Microsoft Azure.


Location: Bellevue, Washington

How it’s innovating VR: Samsung is another major tech company that has jumped into the VR industry. In 2015, the company released Gear VR powered by Meta Quest. Samsung’s VR products are specifically designed to be compatible with Galaxy mobile devices and strive to make VR easily accessible. Gear VR products allow users to connect with friends in VR games and share 360 video.


Location: San Francisco, California

How it’s innovating VR: Unity has expanded beyond the traditional gaming industry with VR as it has found footing with automakers, who use its virtual reality imaging as a prototyping tool, as well as filmmakers, who employ it to combine various production tasks. Still, it remains a powerhouse in gaming, with its development engine purportedly laying the groundwork for half of all mobile games and more than half of all virtual or augmented reality content, including Pokémon Go. Among its VR standouts is Coco VR, Pixar’s first foray into standalone virtual reality filmmaking, made in collaboration with Magnopus.


Location: Detroit, Michigan

How it’s innovating VR: American vehicle manufacturer General Motors has been producing cars since 1908. In the contemporary context of bringing hybrid and electric vehicles to market, GM has been incorporating new technologies like virtual reality into its operations. The company uses VR to speed up the vehicle design process, a strategy that’s enabled team members to collaborate while working remotely.


Location: San Diego, California  

How it’s innovating VR: Qualcomm is known for its work with semiconductors, 5G and wireless technologies, but it also hopes to influence the way we approach VR. The company is striving to create fully immersive mobile VR that users can easily transport with them wherever they are. Qualcomm’s Snapdragon XR1 is an enhanced extended reality headset and platform that allows users to have a variety of display options with hardware-accelerated composition, 3D overlays as well as and support for graphics APIs including OpenGL, OpenCL and Vulkan.


Location: Sunnyvale, California

How it’s innovating VR: Anyone who has ever house-hunted knows there’s often a very long gap between getting early info on a prospective property and actually stepping foot inside, especially with a long-distance move. This led to the blossoming of 3D imaging tours in residential real estate. Matterport’s approach incorporates computer vision to “read” complex layouts. Once a space is mapped, users also have the option of a VR tour that’s even more immersive and truer-to-life than a computer stream.


Location: New York, New York

How it’s innovating VR: Transfr is an edtech company using virtual reality to train professionals in essential skills. Wearing VR headsets and wielding handheld controllers, trainees immerse themselves in simulations like construction sites, warehouses and airfields, where they practice the job and hear feedback from instructors. Once trainees pass the VR-based training, they’re ready to learn from instructors in the real world.


Location: Waltham, Massachusetts

How it’s innovating VR: Vicarious Surgical is reinventing surgical technology and capabilities to provide patients with better outcomes and less risk or invasiveness when undergoing abdominal procedures. The system features two components: the patient cart, featuring two robotic arms with exceptional reach, mobility and camera-enabled visibility, and the surgeon console that drives the robot and is controllable via a 3D screen, a VR headset and the system’s proprietary software. Although the technology is still being developed, the Vicarious surgical system is expected to have 28 sensors per arm and will require just a single 1.2cm incision.


Location: Fully Remote

How it’s innovating VR: Sandbox VR offers immersive virtual reality experiences in locations across the United States, Europe and Asia. Players wear gear such as headsets, goggles and vests, and can choose from six experiences, each of which are designed and developed by Sandbox VR’s staff and can accommodate six players at once.


Location: Culver City, California

How it’s innovating VR: Dreamscape’s VR gaming experiences combine motion capture, computer programming and virtual reality technology to track people’s full bodies and render them as characters in virtual worlds. The Dreamscape room offers free-roam VR adventures, each with a strong focus on narrative and wonder (think a galactic zoo, underwater exploration and an Indiana Jones-esque adventure). Everyone in the room with you shows up as an avatar, so expect a higher-than-average sense of interactivity.


Location: Menlo Park, California

How it’s innovating VR: Any discussion of VR must begin with Meta, which famously acquired Oculus for $2 billion in 2014, thereby igniting the second major firestorm of VR hype. It launched the Oculus Rift headset in 2016 — the so-called Year of Virtual Reality, which also saw the release of HTC Vive and PlayStation VR. Since then, Meta’s Quest headset series has opened up VR gaming options with dozens of games and apps.


Location: Culver City, California

How it’s innovating VR: Talespin offers access to immersive learning content, a skills insights platform and a content creation tool in equal parts. The platform leverages the power of extended reality to accelerate skills and learning development in workplaces, helping programmatically transfer knowledge and build employee experience through roleplay and job simulation before their first day on the job. The software brings employees and managers into virtual sales calls, performance reviews and other stressful on-the-job situations.


Location: Van Nuys, California

How it’s innovating VR: AppliedVR was founded based on 30 years of academic research, working to determine the most effective ways to work virtual reality into the healthcare process. The VR platform uses immersive therapeutics to help users prevent, process and manage chronic pain. The groundbreaking tech has been utilized by over 200 hospitals and 60,000 patients, according to the company’s website.


Location: Los Angeles, California

How it’s innovating VR: Wevr Virtual Studio is a game and interactive film development tool that creators can use to store, build and edit their VR projects all in one platform. For more than a decade, Wevr has been releasing projects with everyone from Reggie Watts to Run the Jewels to Deepak Chopra. The company also worked with technophile blockbuster director Jon Favreau to create a virtual-reality film.


Location: New York, New York

How it’s innovating VR: Spectator sports are a hand-in-athletic-glove fit for virtual reality. LiveLike has presented the Super Bowl, the FIFA World Cup and other marquee matchups through its VR platform. Along with the live game feed, it adds features like Jumbotron feeds, live stats, multiple movable vantage points and an in-the-stands sense of immersion — everything except the smell of spilled beer. With former NBA commissioner David Stern among the company's investors, LiveLike has also trained its eye on mobile, which ups the platform’s social capabilities.


Location: Austin, Texas

How it’s innovating VR: Working with VR, AR and 360-degree video, Subvrsive has developed videos and experiences for the likes of Amazon, Google, MTV and Walmart. Subvrsive’s VR portfolio includes a decentralized training portal to train new hires at Simi Winery in California. It also includes an educational game that demonstrates how Roblox can be used to create brand experiences. 


Location: Austin, Texas

How it’s innovating VR: One downside to VR is that you’re limited by your physical space. Virtuix built a workaround to this with the Omni, a 360-degree treadmill that lets gamers run through virtual lands while staying put in a real one. Virtuix is known for its Omni “arenas” made for immersive venues, but it is also developing beta versions of Omni One for home use.

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Location: San Francisco, California

How it’s innovating VR: Bigscreen allows users to watch movies and sports, play games, collaborate for work or just hang out with friends in one of 20-plus virtual environments. The VR environments include movie theaters, office settings and even campfires. You can stream your screen directly into your chosen VR room or select content from the Bigscreen TV. The company also makes compact VR glasses that are custom made to the shape of customers’ faces. In 2023, Bigscreen announced the release of Bigscreen Beyond, the world’s smallest VR headset.

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Location: Culver City, California 

How it’s innovating VR: Framestore’s VR studio creates immersive virtual reality experiences for theme parks and specially designed headsets for National Geographic. You may have also seen the studio’s digital handiwork in movies like Spider-Man: Far from Home and in TV shows like Black Mirror. The company brings that same visual pizzazz to VR too, as it built the Fantastic Beasts experience for Google’s Daydream headset and a virtual-reality tour of the Smithsonian American Art Museum.


Location: Santa Fe, New Mexico

How it’s innovating VR: Meow Wolf is a media-captivating arts collective that stages outlandish exhibits which are part interactive installation, part psychedelic sensory overload, part theme park. In 2017, the collective began its work to implement VR into its various projects. Its exhibit “The Atrium” combines haptics and VR to create an interactive storytelling experience. Meow Wolf has several permanent installations in the United States as well as pop-up-style events and projects.


Location: Santa Barbara, California

How it’s innovating VR: WorldViz offers VR products and software for training and collaboration across industries, including education, military training, healthcare and academic research. The company’s products range from projection VR for group immersion to headsets and eye-tracking software to VizBox, a portable VR system that can be used anywhere. Businesses and universities can use WorldViz to create a VR lab where researchers can conduct experiments and observations. One VR lab at Stanford University is used to study how people interact with one another in immersive VR simulations and video games. WorldViz solutions are also used at companies like Accenture, Boeing, Brown University and NASA.


Location: Chicago, Illinois 

How it’s innovating VR: ImmersiveTouch is another example of how VR impacts the healthcare industry. The company’s platform converts 2D medical images into 3D spatial models, enhancing surgical planning and training. It also allows users to train with specific equipment and surgery techniques, as well as use custom, patient-specific anatomy. ImmersiveTouch technology has been adopted at institutions like Dell EMC, John Hopkins Medicine, Tufts University School of Medicine and UChicago Medicine.

Margo Steines and Jessica Powers contributed reporting to this story.

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