Apple, Niantic and Snap's AR products are getting closer and closer, igniting expectations for a technological revolution. But before successfully reaching this "oasis" world, there are still many problems to solve. No one can guarantee that the AR augmented reality country will not repeat the VR virtual illusion.
Think back to the year, Oculus, HTC and other companies launched VR headset, almost every year was trumpeted as the first year of VR. As the pendulum ticks forward, VR remains an exciting and fascinating niche, and people are confident about the future of VR development. Typically, the rise of new computing platforms is often accompanied by corresponding changes on the content side, such as VR games, movies, and more.
While such a prospect is exciting, it also takes a lot of time, effort and creativity to develop. Today, only a relatively small number of executives and investors are willing to listen carefully to how VR will overtake television and the Internet.
It's AR's turn to get popular
Some in the market believe that VR has been viral for a long time, and now it's time for AR to take its turn. Note that this does not mean that the technology innovation enthusiasts have disappeared.
VR is like an old hat for them, and the next few years will be the year of AR. With the support of these enthusiasts, AR will become a new big seller.
Some conventional wisdom is that AR has a bigger market and potential than VR, and that AR will more easily break through the early niche market and become a truly revolutionary technology. The core of AR is the seamless superimposition of virtual content into real-world experiences.
It will change the way people live and interact with each other, just like smartphones. From a video game perspective, AR has the potential to change and enhance the video game experience more than any technological advancement since the birth of the industry. The author is not advocating how promising the future of AR is.
Rather, it's just a pure belief in the transformative power of the technology, just not quite sure when it will happen. When we discuss specific application scenarios for AR, how far away are we from viable, mass-manufacturable products? At this point these questions remain very vague. If you follow the news in the field, you'll see hints of an impending revolution every few days.
PokémonGo developer Niantic recently made fun of a number of high-tech companies' eyewear products, and Snap was apparently one of the targets. Snap is said to be developing Snap Spectacles, a product with AR capabilities.
Apple is finally going to take a shot
Not surprisingly, Apple will also join the camp of mockers. March 31, Apple announced the 2021 WWDC Slogan "Big point to see, eye to eye to come." Some analysts point out that this conference, Apple will bring a new hardware products, most likely the latest AR glasses, helmets. It is said that no wind is no wave, I wonder if this means that the era of consumer AR is coming.
AR, MR will be the next key technology of innovative human-machine interface that defines electronic products. At the same time, it will also provide innovative visual experiences and redefine human behavior in creating, processing and receiving information.
This is perhaps why so many companies are investing heavily in AR and MR. Looking back at the history of Apple, it is essentially the history of innovative human-machine interfaces for consumer electronics.
After successfully defining an innovative human-machine interface and mass production, the industry chain will all have huge growth opportunities. However, the key to success in AR and MR is to have a device that works independently and is designed for MR and AR use.
One of Apple's strengths is ecological integration, and the introduction of AR and MR hardware products will accelerate ecological and industrial growth. In the long run, AR and MR products have the potential to replace all display-equipped electronic products.
But that doesn't mean display-equipped electronics will disappear.
Apple's MR/AR product blueprint is divided into three phases: Helmet type products in 2022, glasses type products in 2025, and contact lens type products in 2030-2040.
He further predicted that helmet type products can provide AR and VR experience, while glasses type products and contact lens type products are more likely to focus on AR services.
If the AR industry does see a surge, it will be a pivotal moment for the gaming industry. Perhaps its likely to overtake smartphones in terms of business and innovation.
How far away is it?
The ideal is rich, the reality is bleak. The status quo is that AR hardware has not even been born like Oculus such benchmark products. Market analysts believe that Microsoft Hololens is currently the most functional AR products. That said, in fact, Microsoft is also very clear that it is a product for B-end customers, rather than consumer products. The same applies to Google.
Google just started releasing AR glasses, they were boycotted by consumers. Eventually, the product was reduced to a niche industrial product. Compared to the VR industry 5 or 6 years ago, many new things emerged but did not enter the consumer space. One also wonders if this evolution will be similar to that time.
If so, AR has given birth to a lot of interesting ideas over time. It would not be surprising if it did not succeed in penetrating the mainstream consumer market. But that comparison isn't quite accurate, after all, AR has learned too much from the VR industry and its lessons.
Objectively speaking, no matter how enthusiastic Apple or other tech giants are about AR, the expectation that it will conquer everything deserves to be more rigorously scrutinized. People's enthusiasm for AR has indeed brought some volatility to the game industry. If AR explodes in popularity, this will become a transformative event for the gaming industry.
It could even be more important commercially and innovatively than when smartphones were born. This will bring huge creative challenges, types of games, and the potential to inspire ways to interact.
When players hold up their phones and look at AR objects or characters through the screen, the experience is hardly satisfying. For Niantic and other companies that are deeply involved in the AR field, there is no doubt that there is a very high level of imagination on how to transfer the AR overlay from the phone screen to a pair of lightweight glasses. But the current situation in front of us is that AR games face very big challenges. The success of games like "PokémonGo" does not mean that AR is in any way a solved problem.
Frankly speaking, I don't really classify "PokémonGo" as an AR game. At least not in the sense that most people understand AR. at first, the idea of being able to see Pokémon around you in the real world is indeed interesting. But it doesn't correlate well with the core gameplay of the game, which uses maps and GPS data.
Even without any AR features, it does not affect the game's hotness. Many Pokemon GO players - in fact, probably most of them - turn off their AR features because it shortens their phone's battery life.
The real benefit of the AR feature for PokémonGo is that it could build a kind of viral marketing. Think about it: players can share PokémonGo screenshots from various locations in the real world, and the desire to retweet is not high. In terms of core gameplay, most of the game content can be done without visual AR.
One might argue that games like PokémonGo and other similar Geo-based games are also a form of AR - they display electronic data overlaid onto reality. One would think that AR doesn't have to involve superimposing visual images onto a screen or glasses, but rather something a little more abstract, like turning real-life locations into Pokémon dojos.
Still, for the most part, we talk about AR as a visual overlay. So far, no hardware products have done particularly well in this area, and no gaming software has even begun to address this as-yet-undefined challenge and opportunity. ar will be a transformative technology, and gaming will be one of them.
Rationally, it will take more time to implement than people expect, and there will be more obstacles to overcome. Fortunately, companies like Niantic are already thinking about how to address these challenges. At the same time, I hope that more companies in the industry will pay close attention to this area of development. This is mainly in light of the fact that many large companies missed the mobile Internet era and have spent billions of dollars since then to catch up and make up.
Of course, we should also learn from the lessons of Magic Leap's failure. In addition, the industrial use of Hololens and Glass glasses is a reminder that the consumer-grade market is difficult to attack. Before the emergence of mature mobile AR platform, or we still need to have more patience.
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