How AR and VR can reach a billion users before 2028


We have seen it all before: This will be the year of (blank). Pick any technology—augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) headsets, wearables, social networks, etc. The hype cycle starts three to five years early, and everyone—vendors, Wall Street and venture capitalists—is disappointed when last year was not the year.

It is early days for VR and even earlier for AR. Sales of VR headsets were graded disappointing after the close of the Christmas season and seemingly confirmed when BestBuy closed half of its in-store Oculus demo stations.

+ Also on Network World: Augmented reality is more than just holograms +

Google, Microsoft, Facebook (parent of the Oculus Rift), HTC (maker of the Vive), Sony and presumably Apple (if it ever gets its rumored AR device to market) define markets in billions of users or devices. No one can agree on when the 1 billion users or devices mark will be reached—2022, 2025, 2028 …

Jesse Schell, professor at the Carnegie Mellon University Entertainment Technology Center and CEO of Schell Games, predicted the 2016 VR forecast of 8 million consumer headsets back in March of 2016 at the Game Developer Conference (GDC). He was more reserved at GDC 2017 this year, though. No forecasts from him. His talk—Lessons Learned from a Thousand Virtual Worlds—explained how to design and build better VR games.

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