Virtual reality (VR), or augmented reality (AR), enjoyed mass appeal in 2016, with Pokémon Go becoming a record-breaking app, downloaded by people around the world. For many, this was the first time people had experienced VR/AR in action and how it could impact their user experience.
But, with many experts believing it is only in its infancy, where will the development of this tech lead us?
It's going to grow and fast
Some of the biggest companies have invested in VR recently, with Facebook’s Oculus Rift, Sony’s PlayStation VR, Samsung’s Gear and HTC’s Vive all being developed. With this support, it's expected that 2017 will be the year when this tech really evolves.
There is varying opinions on how popular VR/AR will become, but most leading experts believe it will grow.
Goldman Sachs Research, cited by Business Insider, suggests that by 2025, the uptake of VR/AR will outpace all other consumer tech. If these predictions come into reality, it would mean the market would be worth some $110 billion.
Data suggests that this will be down to a wide array of tools and resources that make the most of VR/AR, but being transported to a different location and playing games are expected to be the most popular.
Efforts will be towards making it affordable
Many experts see the major obstacle to a mass uptake of VR is the amount it currently costs to have a decent system, which is perhaps why the free Pokémon Go app proved so instantly popular.
With this in mind, many efforts will be put into making this tech much more affordable. One of the best ways of doing this is building VR-compatible devices that can be attached to game consoles or smartphones. Items like Google Cardboard, which costs less than $30, allows people to use their smartphones to play their own virtual reality games or experiences.
Total immersion will be key
Pokémon Go made it clear that people are keen to dabble with virtual reality, but few people felt as though they were actually chasing real monsters. This will be a key part of VR having mass appeal. The launch of Facebook's Oculus has seen a significant stride towards this, with the development of Touch controllers and headsets to make the user experience not just immersive but transportative.