In 2016, augmented and virtual reality burst onto the scene and people expected them to take the world by storm. This turned out not to be the case, as the original devices were too expensive for the average end user and there wasn’t enough software for them. Now mixed reality has appeared as a possible alternative to the others and could be the best of both worlds. Microsoft has quickly got in on the act and has brought out the HoloLens 2 Development Edition mixed reality headset.
Microsoft unveiled the new mixed reality headset at this year’s Mobile World Congress event in Barcelona and announced that the device would cost a whopping $3500. The multinational tech company founded by Bill Gates is said to be “doubling down” on mixed reality and expects it to explode in the next few years. Projections for the combined AR and VR market predict a huge spike to a combined revenue of $192.7 billion in 2022, and mixed reality may play a part in this. Microsoft has already brought in 20,000 developers to its platform in the last year and hopes to triple that number as it builds its Mixed Reality Developer Community.
There is vast potential for mixed reality in almost every industry, but it could be the gaming sector that pounces on the technology first. This has already been seen with AR after Niantic released the immensely successful Pokémon Go in 2016. The game allowed players to catch Pokémon in real world settings using the modern technology and grossed over $3 billion in worldwide revenue. This sparked a number of similar titles such as Ludia’s Jurassic World Alive.
The online casino industry could make good use of mixed reality as operators continue to strive for a realistic playing experience. Sites like Aspers online casino feature live streams of real-world table games like roulette and blackjack as a way to make players feel as though they are actually playing in a casino. Mixed reality could take this one step further, and players may even be able to feel as though they are in a casino when they put on the headset. Some developers, including Microgaming and NetEnt, have already created content for VR, so if mixed reality kicks off, they will almost certainly look to incorporate it into their games.
There are also some interesting ideas about how mixed reality could be applied in the television industry. Some experts predict that the interactive nature of Black Mirror: Bandersnatch could be taken up a few notches in the near future, with technology like mixed reality taking center stage in this. The Sundance Institute’s New Frontier has been experimenting with story worlds in digital simulations, which sounds like an exciting prospect.
With a company like Microsoft investing so many resources into mixed reality, there is a real feeling that this could be the next big platform. Other major players are likely to get involved, and the industry could blow up sooner than expected.