What’s Hot In 2020 —Immersive Developments To Watch Out For
2019 has been a year of new releases, innovation, and progress for the immersive industry. With Facebook’s Oculus Quest launching in May, we’ve seen a lot of interest and momentum across the consumer market. As accessibility, content, and hardware improve, this will only continue.
As we say goodbye to a fantastic year—and a decade that has seen so many technological advances—we can look forward to 2020 and all it holds for VR, AR, and MR. Here are just some of the developments and releases I am excited about…
1. Valve’s flagship Half-Life VR game
With more than 10 million views of the trailer across YouTube and Twitter in its first 24 hours, widespread media coverage, and tens of thousands of social media comments, it’s impossible to ignore the news. Finally, we’ve seen a title that has catapulted VR into the spotlight of mainstream gaming. However, we have to wait until March 2020 to experience it.
2. Apple’s New 8K VR/AR Headset (unconfirmed)
The rumor is that Apple is planning to release a new virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) capable headset in 2020. Codenamed T288, the untethered headset will feature double the resolution of today’s most advanced headsets with 8K displays in both eyes. With this new immersive product, the tech giant is hoping to generate the same levels of excitement last seen with the release of the original iPhone.
3. CATAN: World Explorers
This 24-year-old board game looks like it’s coming to AR. TechCrunch reported that work has apparently begun on this adaption. Niantic (the company behind Pokémon Go) confirmed to The Verge that it is involved in the game’s creation and will have more info to share in 2020. Watch this space!
4. Nreal Light AR Glasses
With its lightweight design and aggressive pricing—$499 for the consumer kit—these mixed reality glasses promise to make MR accessible and available to everyone. While the developer kit is available for pre-order now, the consumer kit will only become available in early 2020. It’s expected the Nreal Light will ship with the ability to watch movies and TV shows and come with MR games.
5. Snapdragon XR2 5G Chip and 5G MR devices
Qualcomm has announced its latest chip platform which will enable standalone headsets with 3K×3K resolution, accelerated AI processing, seven camera feeds (key for tracking the environment and user), and integrated 5G. While the chip was announced in early December and billed as “the world’s first 5G XR platform,” we are only likely to see actual products using the new platform from 2020—Qualcomm is readying a VR-based reference design with XR2 for early 2020. Qualcomm is also working on a project with Niantic Labs to develop a reference design for smart glasses.
The 5G roll-out is set to begin in 2020. This is great news for those working in the immersive industries as a reliable 5G network will help VR and AR applications evolve to the next level. Some even say the future of immersive is reliant on 5G. Why? Both VR and AR require a cheaper, more substantial network with lower latency and more consistency if they are to continue to evolve. In short, 5G is a necessity.
7. World-first Mixed Reality Auction
Serbian performance artist, Marina Abramovic, is using volumetric capture technology, along with the Magic Leap One, to immortalize her latest piece called “The Life.” Christie’s has announced that it will be auctioning the art in 2020 and estimates a price tag of $775,000 (£600,000) for each of the three editions of the video. This is a world-first for art and MR—I’m interested to see what the videos fetch.
8. Tilt Five
I’m excited about this Kickstarter that puts a new spin on traditional board games. Don a pair of AR glasses and look at the game board to open up a 3D world. It’s being hailed as a “revolutionary holographic tabletop gaming device”— Christmas 2020 will certainly be a whole lot more fun with this kit! The startup achieved it’s Kickstarter goal and estimates delivery in July 2020.
9. Medal of Honor: Above & Beyond
Medal of Honor is a classic first-person shooter franchise. The much anticipated VR game is being developed by Respawn, the Electronic Arts-owned marker of AAA games like the Titanfall series. The game, out in 2020, brings the historic battlefields of World War II back to the forefront as you play an Allied agent of the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), tasked with infiltrating, outgunning, and outsmarting the Nazi war machine.
10. Facebook Horizon
Facebook Horizon is the next step for the social media platform’s VR ambitions. Horizon is a VR sandbox universe, with expressive avatars and various creation tools to help you shape the world you’re in. It’s a destination, somewhere people will hang out in VR, and it will replace the Facebook Rooms and Facebook Spaces apps that were closed down in October this year. You can sign up to apply for access to the closed beta, which will launch in 2020.
2020 is off to a good start with positive headlines about Virtual Reality. Here are just some of the announcements.
Within the past five years, the number of U.S adults and children practicing the mindfulness exercise has greatly increased. Now, we can add an extra dimension to meditation through VR.
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Neurable has announced a $6 million Series A round of funding to move beyond VR applications and develop the everyday brain-computer interface.
Political parties now spend more on online advertising than traditional channels, with widespread political activity taking place on social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook. As technology and forms of communication evolve, could we see virtual reality offering a new edge over the competition?
When you work in an industry that is moving at lightning speed, it’s often hard to take a step back and reflect. So, as we wind down for the Christmas break, we thought we’d do just that!
It’s fair to say that 2019 has been a year full of progress for augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), and mixed reality (MR). For those working in the industry, there have been many developments which lay the foundation for positive growth.
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