2020 and the Future of VR and AR!
Virtual and augmented reality has grown in leaps and bounds over the past few years. With the release of hardware such as the Oculus Rift, and even games like Pokemon Go, or your favorite online games, virtual and augmented reality has left the realms of sci-fi, and made its way into our homes.
With many companies, game developers and tech-gurus putting their own spin and touch on virtual reality, the technology is moving at a rapid pace.
Big companies are beginning to invest in the VR and AR world. Facebook, for example, is investing in bringing VR hardware to a wider audience. Apple has also joined the bandwagon, with plans to develop and release VR and AR headsets.
Apple’s plans are set to come to fruition in 2022 – which is when they want to be finished with the AR and VR combined headset that will focus on gaming, watching videos, and virtual meetings. They also want to release a pair of lightweight AR glasses as soon as 2023.
The biggest draw of VR and AR is the almost endless list of capabilities. Everything from driving tests, weapon training for police, security and military forces, gaming, healthcare, learning, and almost everything in between.
With regards to gaming, we will all have to settle for what is already on the market for now, as 2019 was a “hardware year”, meaning improvements and builds on VR and AR equipment and hardware were the focus.
2020 is most likely going to be a very lowkey year for the technology, as companies will be looking to improve the systems, graphics, capabilities and so on.
Developers will also be spending this time improving/creating games that will be playable on the upgraded hardware. Most reports and industry experts agree that the next generation of hardware and games can be expected in 2022.
One of the most exciting avenues that VR is heading towards, is in education. Being able to learn through VR will help students with everything from geography, history, and biology. Schools are wanting to use it to help students see ancient ruins, countries, and even inside the human body to see how everything works.
VR and AR Hardware
With regards to tech that is available today, there are a variety of headsets made by companies such as Oculus, Sony Playstation, HTC, Nintendo, and Lenovo. These headsets are split into three categories, namely, tethered, standalone, and mobile.
1] Tethered VR Headsets
As the name suggests, tethered headsets are ones that need to be plugged in. The most famous of these being the Oculus Rift. Tethered headsets are definitely at the higher end, and will cost more money.
They are usually more powerful than their standalone and mobile counterparts, with the trade-off being the need for a more powerful machine, such as a PC or Playstation 4, to run the headset at full power. However, these machines are more expensive, and there are also a number of cables to deal with.
2] Standalone VR Headsets
Standalone headsets are ones that have all the processing power, storage, and the screen built-in. This means that you can have the VR experience without needing to be the owner of a Playstation 4 or PC.
The Oculus Quest is currently the leading standalone VR headset, and while the benefits of a device like this are obvious, at the moment, they are limited. While Oculus does have a varied library, you are limited to the games available there.
3] Mobile VR Headsets
Mobile VR headsets are headsets that are compatible with devices such as your smartphone, or Nintendo Switch. These headsets are on the lower end of the price spectrum, but they are also very limited with their capabilities and options.
Headsets such as the Samsung Gear and Nintendo’s Labo headset are currently available, unfortunately, they can only be used with their corresponding devices, such as a Samsung smartphone or Nintendo Switch.
While these devices are clearly for virtual reality, they can only turn your smartphone or Nintendo Switch experience into VR. While they both have VR games available, don’t expect to be playing your favorite mobile or Pokemon game in VR, but games such as Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Super Smash Bros., and Super Mario Odyssey do have limited VR features.
You will need to download Samsung games off of the Samsung App store, and the Nintendo headset comes with additional attachments that allow you to play specific games that allow you to control a blaster, fly, and many others.
The Future of the Technology
VR and AR are most definitely on the path to global domination. The technology is moving a rapid rate, and with every day that passes, more possibilities are being discovered. It is only a matter of time before every household will be home to a VR or AR headset or two.