Despite a level of uncertainty about the terminology used to describe each device, with some developers introducing terms such as Mixed Reality, Annotated Reality, Augmented Virtuality and many others, the new report on the topic by IDTechEx Research “Augmented, Mixed and Virtual Reality 2017-2027: Technologies, Forecasts, Players” finds that the market for AR, VR, and “everything in between” headsets is already approaching $3.4 Billion in 2017 and is expected to reach over 10 times that by 2027.
A revealing disagreement in terminology
The disagreement in terminology reveals several interesting points, one of the most important ones being that despite the fact that different companies will take a different approach to categorizing devices, there is in essence a difference in how much of the real world is coming through a specific headset.
A pure VR headset blocks out reality completely, while an AR one will only superimpose additional information, without obstructing the wearer’s view of the real world at all. What the future is bringing is a spectrum of eye-worn devices with varying amounts of reality and virtuality thrown in; for instance, a VR headset with a front facing camera can instantly become an AR headset, as it allows the wearer a full view of the real world, albeit through a display.
PC VR to propel market forward in the short term
In its newly launched report on the topic, IDTechEx categorizes headsets according to whether devices are tethered to an external computer or not (PC or standalone AR &VR) or whether they make use of the display and/or electronics of a mobile device such as a smartphone (e.g. mobile VR).