Leaderboard: Is our future in virtual reality or augmented reality?

MOP reader Sally recently pointed us to a series of articles on virtual reality and augmented reality tech that when taken together make for an interesting discussion on two terms most laypeople seem to use interchangeably.

  • In January following this year’s CES, Yahoo tech columnist David Pogue rolled his eyes at “gushing” over VR and argued that augmented reality was far more interesting.
  • In April, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg gave a speech suggesting that the future of VR is bright but that the equipment was a hindrance to socializing — that augmented reality, with transparent glasses, is the future.
  • Electronic Arts said basically the same exact thing just four days ago — that VR is still years away from mass-market consumers but that the company is focusing on AR in the shorter term.
  • And finally AltspaceVR, a startup that was offering a social VR chat aimed at businesses, is closing up shop, having run out of funding. Its userbase was only 35,000 people monthly, and it’s not even the only VR company to close down this year.

I have to say that I see much more utility and promise in a Shadowrun-like tech future of augmented glasses than in cumbersome game devices, but am I wrong — and are the money men wrong? Is our future in virtual reality or augmented reality?

Leaderboard: Is our future in virtual reality or augmented reality?

  • VR (10%, 15 Votes)
  • AR (27%, 41 Votes)
  • Both (33%, 50 Votes)
  • Something else (16%, 24 Votes)
  • Don't know / don't care / just want to see results (13%, 20 Votes)

Total Voters: 150

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possum440 .
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possum440 .

Neither. The long and short term effects are known and being ignored. The companies post complicated EULAS removing themselves, or trying to, of any damage to your noggin or body, again, you happily sign these.

You gamer’s need to worry less about your entertainment satisfaction and more about your health.

I have stated a number of times why the tech is dangerous and why, in the hands of gamer’s it is many times more dangerous because the majority of gamer’s have weak minds and spend, will spend hours in these things without thought of anything, except their own entertainment.

And do not try to compare it to what our military uses today, it is night and day. We have regulations as to duration and usage of these devices.

Warnings, something you gamer’s will happily ignore. One thing you need to realize first and foremost, the companies making these devices want profit, MONEY, they could care less about you or they would not put the EULAS out the way they do to place full blame on you, the consumer for abusing their product.

They do not include health studies up to this date and they never will, they will simply take your money and state not to put that gun to your head as it “might” be dangerous.

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Melissa McDonald

You can die from drinking too much water.

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Melissa McDonald

Both, and the only differentiation we will make is the setting, and the opacity of the images.

Worth noting that the new preferred term is thus “Mixed Reality”. AR is kinda 2016.

Andrew Ross
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Andrew Ross

I see AR enough within the industry, but Mixed Reality is one of the terms I’m seeing with companies trying to stand out.

I feel like VR impressed the masses but is still too hard to develop for. AR’s lighter, but truthfully, game wise, it seems like a gimmick more than VR does. The difference is that AR can work better now, and functionally, especially if you focus on “mixed reality” (think board games projected on a surface but you move pieces with your hands). It’s like Tony Stark’s tech IRL.

I still think VR has a stronger future in the long run, but maybe not so much for a lot of the games we’re seeing. The demos are cute, but few really hold up for me or the people’s I’ve shared with.

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Melissa McDonald

I will have to respectfully disagree. I have friends learning how to make VR apps in Unity. There are even web-based VR dev tools like InstaVR that almost anyone can dive into. Btw, Microsoft is calling it Mixed Reality, I don’t think they have to do too much to try and “stand out” eh?

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KumiKaze

AR and VR are the future, but they are just a stepping stone to the ultimate goal of all of this. The Holodeck. AR is probably going to be shifted more towards business and then in turn towards your average consumer. When you look at what Microsoft’s Hololens is capable of, or at least we are told is capable of, the future of AR is pretty exciting.

VR in its current form, does have some limitations, price being one of them at the moment. As with most new tech, the first generation isn’t going to be the greatest and will be expensive for what it does. Current VR systems remind me of the first gen iPad. It didn’t have a camera, and when compared to the 2nd gen was almost twice the thickness and twice the weight.

Both AR and VR currently live in separate realms at the moment, but when their powers combine…Holodeck. Sorry that was horrible, but I just want the Holodeck already.

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Melissa McDonald

if you remove the fanciful “matter from energy” element from the fictional Star Trek product, you’ll get something pretty close to it in the next 20 years or so. Which will be here before you know it. But the future is never quite what we expected, there’s always some crazy new angle or element we didn’t see coming because of discovery, and because of R&D taking years to produce products sometimes.

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zoward

While I like both, I really don’t see either monopolizing the gaming space. Both are more complicated than I’m going to want unless I have a lot of extra time and energy to expend. While AR is fun, I don’t always want to have to go outside, run around and socialize when I’m enjoying downtime. VR is immersive, but cumbersome, expensive and you’re chained to your rig (at least for now). Neither lends itself well to e-sports (not that I’m an e-sports fan), but watching someone else use either AR or VR for more than a moment or two is just … unfun. I’m willing to be convinced, but neither has qualities that immediately make me think they’re going to take over the gaming space anytime soon.

Veldan
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Veldan

Yeah, both. I personally don’t see the attraction of AR, I don’t care for it at all, but Pokemon GO has already proven that the masses are interested. So I guess it’s here to stay and we might see other applications in the future. And that future starts now, unlike VR’s future, which is still some years away I think. We are still in the stage where VR is only really nice for enthousiasts with money. But when the next generation of all the VR headsets is released, and enough time has passed for some more big projects (games or not) to complete… I think VR will be what people are enthousiastically talking about, not AR.

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Melissa McDonald

Apple is just about to launch some AR stuff with the iPhone 8. I’m really curious to see what they do with it. Might end up being just some goofy camera tricks that turn people in to animals or emojis, though.

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Joe Seabreeze

Both will have its place, and one device should be able to handle both.

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Archebius

I think both will coexist in the long term. AR has a lot of nifty features and allows you to engage more with the world, not be completely given over to whatever you’re doing or tied to a specific location. But like good ol’ desktop PCs, VR will be there when people really want to be immersed.

PurpleCopper
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PurpleCopper

Augmented Reality seems much farther in the future.

I’ve yet to see any TRUE AR games.

Just imagine those sci-fi series that shows people playing AR games, that’s some truly outrageous technology that doesn’t seem feasible for decades to come.

Imagine playing a shooter AR game in your house when you slip on a pair of AR glasses and wield a toy gun. The AR game spawns digital enemies and you seem them pouring in through the garage, windows, doghouse, etc. You take cover behind your real couch to avoid their shots, and you use your real kid brother as a human shield as you mow down the digital enemies. Likewise the digital enemies take cover behind the kitchen counter to avoid your shots. You then decide to close the living room door to prevent more enemies from coming in. After an hour of ducking behind furnitures like an idiot, you take of your AR glasses and see that everything is back to normal as the rest of your family gives you weird looks.

Is such a game feasible in the foreseeable future?

Probably not.

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Melissa McDonald

Actually Pokémon Go is a “true AR” game. But HoloLens has some games made using Windows Holographic developer kit, you can find articles about them. There’s one where bugs appear to pop out of the walls of your room and you have to shoot them.

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Korbenik

AR already has real world possibilitys like creating 3d object and being able to walk around and look at it as if it actually exists. You can multitask in the office and create screens all around your workspace to easily move between one desktop to another. Vr does nothing innovative. Vr is just a screen on your face and you still are limited to the same behavior of a computer.

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Melissa McDonald

I know this is a game site, but games are really the last piece of the puzzle for VR. Virtual Travel is huge right now content-wise. I can strap on a visor and take a guided tour of Machu Picchu, the VR is 360-degree film, so it really is like being there in many ways. If I was in a wheelchair or something it would give me the ability to virtually see the world in some very compelling ways. There are hundreds of hours of such things for Gear VR / Oculus already. You can sit in the tent of a refugee family in Syria and watch them prepare their evening meal. You can experience an annual gathering of Scandinavians who live the “Viking” life, including battles that get extremely physical – no sharp edges – but plenty of mud, blood, and muscle.

VR represents a way to see the world we’ve never had before. Check this out: http://news.nationalgeographic.com/2017/02/viking-warriors-battle-reenactment-360-vr/

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Melissa McDonald

What you described is almost exactly what you get in the game below :) cheers!

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Sally Bowls

1)

Amara’s Law: We tend to overestimate the effect of a technology in the short run and underestimate the effect in the long run.

2) AR will certainly be getting more press; in a couple of months, there will be a billion AR compatible devices with consumers.

https://www.macrumors.com/2017/06/14/developers-augmented-reality-demos-arkit/ has links to Sir Peter Jackson’s studio’s augmented reality demo, BB-8, a naval battle on an office floor, and someone seeing Overwatch’s WidowMaker standing in their bedroom.

3) xR is a convenient way to show that, whatever the hypetrain is, the author is onboard.

Extended reality (XR) is a term referring to all real-and-virtual combined environments and human-machine interactions generated by computer technology and wearables. It includes representative forms such as augmented reality (AR), augmented virtuality (AV) and virtual reality (VR),[1] and the areas interpolated among them. The levels of virtuality range from partially sensory inputs to immersive virtuality, also called VR.

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Arktouros

I’m not so sure on Augmented Reality. My first thought is how people reacted to Google Glass when that came around with it’s microphone and camera at the ready. My second thought is curiosity to see what it’s actually capable of as, if I’m being honest, I have a bit of a bias imagining the possibilities after so much exposure to sci-fi entertainment content.

VR on the other hand I have actual experience with and I think it’s pretty great. However I wouldn’t say it’s so great that it’s going to completely replace gaming the way we experience it today. I see VR ultimately becoming it’s own medium with it’s own applications, games and otherwise. The biggest struggle I see with VR currently is the way companies are latching onto the label. Many of these “strap-a-phone-to-your-face” low end devices give poor impressions of what high end VR is actually like or capable of. In my opinion, if the device doesn’t let you interact with the virtual environment then I don’t really consider that VR. It’s those poor devices that lead to most of the ignorant criticism we see regarding VR just being “you paid to strap a monitor to your face” when people who have played actual VR know it’s much better than that.

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Melissa McDonald

Reviewers are pretty stunned by even the first-gen HoloLens, though. One called it “sorcery”. Its one limitation was FOV, but the manufacturing benefits could be immense. Your headset could lead you through complex assembly, identify the correct bolt or screw from a box of them, lots of efficiencies it could create for things that get made by hands, and a lot of things still are. Robots are great for precision and speed but still not that dexterous.

Edit: and it will revolutionize surgery!

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Arktouros

Like I said, most of the time I just jump right into imagining all sorts of possibilities for technologies like VR or AR but what we can imagine happening and what actually happens are usually two different things. I hope things work out and sounds like some great uses so far, but we’ll see what’s actually out there eventually.

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Korbenik

interacting comes with ir cameras like the connect. VR does not have any high end hardware its all just an idea with people trying to make it affordable for consumer but not delivery of a good experience