There were over 5 million Virtual Reality devices sold in 2020, and the growth chart is looking at doubling that in 2021. There’s no doubt that 2021 is the year of VR!.
These technologies have been around for a while now but there seems to be a bit of confusion still around what VR is and for that matter what is AR and how are they different?
So we break down the differences and give some examples of how they've been used in gaming and in commercial instances.
Virtual Reality (VR)
VR is fully immersive, it puts the user in the environment and lets them interact with objects and people. This has been primarily used for gaming and training purposes. For example, VirtualShip is software used to train the US Navy, Army and Coast Guard. One of the more popular devices is the Oculus Quest 2 which is developed by Facebook and has become the most affordable entry point to VR.
The benefits are that it's cable free and doesn't need a high end gaming computer to use. There are rumours that Quest 3 is set for release in 2021.
Augmented Reality (AR),
AR is similar but instead places objects as an overlay in a real-world environment. For examples of this look no further than the mobile game “Pokemon Go” that took the world by storm.
Nintendo has used that technology again in “Mario Kart Live” which allows you to race a real-life Mario Kart around your house while at the same time overlapping obstacles and enemies on your Nintendo Switch screen or TV.
AR is also used in other real-life applications. Like when a watch company lets you virtually try on watches to see what they look like on your wrist, or furniture companies like IKEA who let you use AR to virtually place furniture in your home to see how it looks before you buy it.
Lego just announced a new AR game collaboration with Universal Music using LEGO characters and pieces to create virtual interactive dances to current hit songs. This is called LEGO VIDIYO and I’ll tell you more about that on Friday in the gaming segment.