Virtual reality: it terrifies some, excites others, and confuses most.
No matter what your personal take is, the virtual reality (VR) movement is picking up some serious momentum and doesn’t show signs of slowing down anytime soon. In fact, did you know that by 2020, the combined market size of augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) is expected to reach $150 billion?!
You know what they say… if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em! VR is coming—whether you like it or not—and making its way into all facets of everyday life. Here we’ll educate you on what’s in store for the VR community in 2019, including ways you can harness the various benefits this new technology offers.
Understanding the Difference between VR and AR
We recently wrote an article on the comparison between Microsoft Hololens vs Oculus Rift and HTC Vive. The latter two devices are more gamer-centric and project images in front of the user’s eye over a 360-degree screen, but the Hololens projects holograms on the physical environment surrounding the user.
That’s one of the key differences between virtual reality vs augmented reality: VR creates a virtual world for users to interact with while AR blends virtual reality with real life.
It’s necessary to understand this fundamental difference between AR and VR in order to see how these two emerging fields may manifest themselves come 2019.
Going beyond Gaming
When most people think “VR”, they imagine themselves wearing a headset, playing some sort of high-tech video game in which they’re smack in the middle of the battlefield with action happening around every virtual corner.
This image isn’t far from accurate, but in 2019, you can expect VR (and AR) to reach far beyond the world of video games. In addition to rich, immersive gaming, you’ll see this technology in a wide variety of fields, such as:
- Real Estate
Google Chrome recently announced that their latest update will be able to support virtual reality content, bringing the potential to completely change the VR phenomenon with interactive web surfing. If you thought that VR was exclusively for escapist gamers, think again. We’re seeing lots of ways this evolving tech is making its way into new markets.
The government is actually embracing virtual reality technology and the possibilities it may offer our service members, including better, more efficient training. In 2019, we’ll likely see a rise in VR military training, thanks to the rise of inexpensive equipment and highly-detailed, customized simulations.
In another example, NASA is training their astronauts in VR game. Inspired by the super popular Unreal Engine developed by Epic Games, NASA immerses the user in a fabricated 3D environment and then asks them to complete objectives under various constraints.
Of course, these astronauts will still need to go through extensive training in real life (IRL), but it’s encouraging to see the different ways VR can be used for purpose and not just for pleasure.
Immersive Entertainment Meets Education
Nonetheless, VR is incredibly fun! Stand out games in 2018—such as Chronos, Skyrim VR, and Space Pirate Trainer—show us the world of possibilities game developers have only begun to scratch the surface of. From realistically wreaking havoc behind the counter of a convenience store to taking on a fleet of flying robots, these teasers show us that whatever VR games the future may hold for 2019 are sure to be a blast.
Again, it’s not all fun and games here; there’s IRL material to be learned through VR tech. National Geographic provides a virtual experience of the natural world in order to get users to connect with nature in an immersive setting. Retailers are educating consumers with AR barcodes. Best of all, these learning opportunities are cloaked in fun, immersive entertainment. We’ll be curious to see how public and private school educators use this methodology in 2019 classroom settings, as well.
The technology in development for the upcoming years is impressive, to say the least. Take the rumored Apple gadget in the works as an example. Insiders say that it will combine VR and AR into one headset viewer that’s capable of integrating 8K display for each eye! That’s quality we can only imagine for now, as we reportedly will have to wait until 2020 to see this cutting-edge device.
But don’t wait until then—the future is here now! If you don’t already own one, pick up a top VR headset and get excited about all the ways you can use your device! Whether you’re playing games, watching VR media, or learning about a land faraway, there’s bound to be at least one way VR and AR technology can benefit you in the New Year.