The increasing use of virtual reality (VR) is a Hard Trend that will continue to grow, and with the release of several high-profile VR systems, 2016 was supposed to be the year that VR finally went mainstream. However, users around the world queuing up to immerse themselves in a virtual world have yet to materialize. The less fancied augmented reality (AR) consists of using your smartphone camera or smart glasses to overlay virtual elements to the physical world. AR is not immersive and was dismissed by many as just another tool for tech enthusiasts only. For those of you who read my 2016 annual list of 25 Hard Trends shaping the future, augmented reality was listed, and the revolution has now started.
The problem is that widespread adoption of any technology is crucial to its growth. Early adopters typically only represent 10 percent to 15 percent of potential customers. Launching new hardware is good, but having engaging and viral software that brings it to life is even better.
Assuming you already have a high-powered PC, the entry fee for Oculus Rift will set you back $599. In addition, it’s easier for video game developers to create a large-scale video game than to design and develop a more complex virtual reality game that can scale quickly. Maybe we shouldn’t be too surprised that VR has yet to hit the mass market. Alternatively, if you mentioned the words augmented reality to anyone outside of the tech industry, they would probably have had no idea what you were talking about. However, in just over a month, the game-changing Pokémon Go has been downloaded by over 100 million users.
Suddenly, everyone with a smartphone now fully understands exactly what augmented reality is and how it can be used. It no longer matters if you are a fan of the game or not, our reality is that this technology has gone mainstream almost overnight. This changes everything.