How Augmented Reality (AR) Shapes the Future of Online Gaming

The AR/VR market has seen staggering growth in the past few years, and the total market value is expected to reach SD 571.42 Billion by 2025, giving the AR/VR industry an incredible CAGR of 63.3% from 2018 to 2025.

Analysts predict that gaming consoles will account for the highest revenue share, but console-based VR is currently facing stiff competition from the mobile market. The “go anywhere” portability of mobile VR/AR, as well as the lower cost-of-entry, has contributed to the fact that mobile VR/AR currently enjoys over 50% of the market revenue.

AR in mobile gaming

Apple may announce Apple Glass in 2021, a line of smart glasses with AR capabilities. They’ll reportedly retail for around $599, and also be available in the form of contact lenses, which will retail for a higher price.

Users will have access to the Apple Arcade AR library, and the Apple Glass will have LiDAR sensor technology, which can judge the distance between the sensors and an object surface faster than the speed of a bullet, giving highly accurate real-time object and distance scanning capabilities. This would offer much better physics performance in 2 player games.

Google offers the ARCore SDK to developers, and has no shortage of its own AR/VR games. Google has also done a smart job of marketing VR for business and utility usage as well. While Apple may offer technology with better specs, Google seems to be a bit more developer-friendly. Many are also concerned over Apple’s strict control of the Apple Store, such as prohibiting cloud-gaming services Microsoft xCloud and Google Stadia. There’s also the on-going Apple feud with Epic over Fortnite.

AR in console gaming

In the console realm, Sony has been significantly tweaking their PSVR 2 in preparation for the launch of the PlayStation 5 around the end of 2020, and the PSVR 2 could be released in early 2021. Sony is focusing a lot of resources on VR and AI research and development, and are leading the console market in VR gaming.

Microsoft has not been very vocal about VR on the Xbox Series X, and in fact, may be distancing themselves from VR for the console market. Xbox Head Phil Spencer responded to candid interview questions regarding VR, saying that Microsoft doesn’t feel the family room is a good place for tethered headsets, and that the industry is “a few years away [from a wireless VR solution”. Windows is still the best platform for intensive PC VR gaming however, and even playing io games in VR.

It may be that Microsoft is playing it safe and waiting for VR/AR technology to become more powerful, but they surely can’t ignore that the PSVR has sold more than 3 million units, earning Sony over $2 Billion in revenue. We hope this isn’t another case of Microsoft missing the boat too late, like the MP3 player and the smartphone.

Kickstarter is proving worthy for AR development

The AR market without considering VR is also set to see incredible growth, if things go smoothly. There are a lot of third-party companies out there developing AR glass prototypes, but nothing is truly ready for mainstream consumers, unless Apple Glass lives up to the hype.

Numerous companies are raising successful Kickstarter campaigns for AR tech, such as Tilt Five. They’re developing an AR headset that is companioned with a specialized reflective-surface gameboard, for the specific purpose of AR boardgaming.

“Our system is kind of unique compared to others,” said Tilt Five in an interview.“[It] actually projects out to a special game board which is called a retroreflector and that allows us to make the headset really high-performance, lightweight, and super-wide field-of-view.”

“Many of them will be on PC and Android. Just go to Google Play or Steam, download the game and you’re good to go… We have a bunch of games that are going to ship with the system which are party action games […] Then we have some solo play experiences.”