Opinion: Test And Development In The World Of Virtual Reality
Virtual reality (VR), the stuff of sci-fi movies and more recently, action-packed video games, is becoming more real all the time. Investors have funneled $8.8B into the sector since 2012, according to SuperData Research Inc. The firm reports that 6 million Americans say they intend to purchase a Sony PlayStation VR system this year, compared with 5 million for Oculus Rift (purchased by Facebook for $2 billion) and 2 million saying they'll buy another leading platform, the HTC Vive.
Currently, the market is segmented between VR, augmented reality (AR), and mixed reality (MR). VR is a fully immersive, fully virtual experience that mimics reality, while AR layers virtual elements in the real world – such as with Google Glass. MR, while similar to AR, is a merging of real and virtual environments, creating an experience where physical and digital objects co-exist and interact in real time.
New technologies continue to appear, such as the Google Cardboard and Samsung Gear VR headsets for smartphones, which are far cheaper ways to experience VR. Magic Leap, a secretive MR company, has yet to release a product but has already raised a staggering $1.38 billion from Google, Alibaba, Qualcomm Ventures and other top VC firms. A top player in the MR market is Microsoft HoloLens, in market since 2015 and highlighted for its industrial use such as product design and collaboration.