What drives XR growth?
I wanted to share a piece of content that Belinda pointed out to me.
This is a nice summary of many of the recent developments we have seen in the XR industry. XR training, education, rehabilitation, and other professional applications have slowly but surely gained momentum over the past three years, albeit under the radar of the wider XR gaming sector and the media outlets that are covering it.
Even though I strongly agree with the overall sentiment of Sam Rutherford’s article, there are two points that I disagree with in this article.
“And just because companies aren’t coming out with new consumer headsets every six months”
Maybe not each company is coming out with new consumer headsets each six months, but the aggregate XR industry is releasing a steady stream of new hardware, to the point that it is still hard to keep up with the latest headsets, sensors and gadgets. This observation comes from our perspective of using XR hardware for projects and product development, not from an XR enthusiast who wants to test and cover all the latest hardware. When I commit to a certain hardware configuration at project start, changing devices once might be fine, but often it is not economically feasible to swap hardware often (or even at all). Luckily, game engines like Unity with their broad user base have made it possible to connect to almost all XR hardware devices and sensors. It is almost mandatory for hardware companies to integrate with Unity or Unreal Engines to have a chance of gaining a piece of the XR market. This makes it much easier to support multiple XR devices and even change or update support for various XR devices later on in the product development cycle.
Which brings me to my next point:
“Making VR content is hard, and very few people have the expertise or tools to design their own VR experiences.”
Nope - strongly disagree! Anybody with a semi-recent smartphone, Google Cardboard and a free copy of Unity can start XR development right now without much of an upfront investment. It’s never been easier to develop an XR application, even without any prior knowledge of programming. It’s just a question of putting in the time and effort. Yes, there are many nuances and hurdles to building and polishing more complex XR applications, but there’s many helpful tools and tutorials available for any XR dev topic imaginable. In contrast, twelve years ago, I had to beg my supervisor to purchase a license of Quest3D (from Act-3D, the company behind Lumion) for $10k to even have a shot at building a VR application without building everything from scratch myself. And no, Unity did not have a Windows editor back then. Times have changed…
Anyways, I still feel like the above article is a great read for any XR skeptics or anyone interested in where XR might be going over the next years. Let me know what you think in the comments below.