CES (consumer electronic show) of 2020 came and went. We didn’t see any massive hardware released from the biggest tech giants, we didn’t see any major advances in software, and most importantly, we didn’t see a consumer-focused pair of AR glasses hit the market. Many people were hoping for AR glasses to become easier and more popular to use this year, but it is unlikely.
Many were also hoping for a VR headset that would change the virtual worlds forever. Again, there was no sign of that. We saw a number of enterprise-focused VR headsets get revealed and launched. It is a sight to see, but that tech will never reach the common consumer. And if it does, it will take another few years to get there.
VR Consumers – Forgotten, But Not Gone
Samsung showed their AR glasses this last week, but never actually said anything about them. Facebook and Oculus never showed what they were working on, and of course, Apple didn’t bring any hardware or software to the table. AR was highlighted by Nreal, but their hardware is still a few years away from being mass-consumer ready. To own one of their headsets and use it plenty, you’ll need to have a load of patience at all times.
The VR realm had nothing worth noting in the consumer world. Pimax has a consumer headset in the works, but it doesn’t seem like their following is interested in that. Their customers are business-oriented and won’t want a gaming headset. With that being said, their new headset likely won’t be able to compete with the Quest or Rift S, or even the Vive Cosmos.
Panasonic got involved with media and VR, but it wasn’t enough to get consumers even somewhat curious about a price or release date. This is an idea that is fun, but about 2 years too late.
By the trends we are seeing, it seems like the future of VR is going to be pure business. VR gaming has yet to really take off. The uses of VR in the work space (and the ability to become a work space) are being more trendy. The stars are aligning for VR to drop the games and pick up the work. So where does this leave consumers?
There might be some dead air in the consumer world for a bit. Oculus is going to continue to pump out content for their VR consumers, but there isn’t many other companies doing the same. Vive is already hinting at a business-focused future. Were they the last competition Oculus will see for VR?
AR is the future for consumers. Inclusive gaming is only going to be one part of the headsets abilities in the future. AR headsets are going to be much more useful to consumers than a VR headset ever could be. If you are looking for the next big consumer release, don’t expect it to be in the form of a VR headset. Chances are, we are entering the future of AR headsets for consumers and VR headsets for business.