Future of reality: virtual + augmented

The future of reality is virtual and augmented… Why are are covering these together? Well, because they're both set to be part of a major disruption in terms of information, communication, entertainment, and business.

"AR is from Mars, VR is from Venus" — Digi-Capital

AR and VR are similar: VR and AR headsets both provide stereo 3D high definition video and audio. But they're also very different…

VR is from Venus

  • is closed and fully immersive
  • puts users inside virtual worlds, immersing them
  • great for games, 3D films
  • what Digi-Capial call "niche enterprise users": eg, medical, military, education
  • We'd also point out industries like: tourism, sex, advertising

Tourism/advertising exampleEtihad has created a VR film featuring Nicole Kidman

Porn example: VR could re-invigorate the industry

  • “people who have never paid for porn at all see value in paying for this porn” — VRTube co-owner and "adult performer" Ela Darling, who shot her first VR film in 2014
  • Example companies: HoloFilm Productions, VRTube (which has developed a camera and software for VR)
  • HoloFilm launched January 2016: sales of the company’s videos have doubled every month.
  • The company expects that growth rate to actually accelerate once Oculus Rift and PlayStation VR begin to ship widely. 
  • Question: what else will VR do for the film/gaming/entertainment industry? We believe the possibility is informed by Secret Cinema's approach to immersive storytelling. (Ask us if you're not sure what we mean by that!)

Cinema & storytelling examples: great piece on The Verge on VR and AR at the Tribeca Film Festival.

VR rising

  • 350,000 VR headsets shipped in 2015
  • 9m+ virtual reality (VR) headsets will be shipped in 2016
  • 64.8m a year by 2020 
  • (NB: headsets lacking electronics, such as Google's Cardboard viewer, not included in IDC estimates.)
  • (NB: v different figures to Gartner, which predicted only 1.4 million VR headsets would ship in 2016)
    Source: analyst firm IDC

Early VR players

Unity, Valve, Razer, Oculus Rift

Here's an example of game made with Unity's technology: 


AR is from Mars

  • augmented reality is also called mixed (we think this it to make it more consumer-friendly)
  • open and partly immersive – you can see through and around it
  • puts virtual things into users’ real worlds, augmenting them
  • early players: HoloLens, Magic Leap (great Wired article on Magic Leap here)

The VALUE of AR, VR and MR is rising

2 types of VR: screenless & tethered


  • use smartphones as their main display

  • These require a smartphone capable of handling the high-quality video used for VR and which possess sensors that can monitor movement and adjust what a user sees to give the impression of immersion in a computer-generated scene.

  • First available: Samsung's Gear VR

  • IDC says screenless will be more popular than the tethered headsets.


  • works with a PC or a game console that pipes images to their display, eg

    • Oculus Rift headset start shipping in March 2016

    • HTC Vive headsets start shipping in April 2016 (see video below)

    • Sony's PlayStation VR set to be available in October 2016


Augmented / mixed reality rising too

  • Growing interest in augmented-reality systems, says IDC
  • eg, Microsoft's HoloLens headset uses a transparent display to overlay images and information on what people see
  • Magic Leap is valued at more than $4.5bn
  • It hasn't launched a product yet! As per this TechCrunch article.
  • It calls its product the "Mixed Reality Lightfield experience"
  • “We are creating a new world where digital and physical realities seamlessly blend together to enable amazing new experiences" — Rony Abovitz, Founder, President, and CEO of Magic Leap
  • funding comes from, inter alia, Alibaba. (Note that brings audience of over 400 million people on Alibaba’s platforms for Magic Leap's products. Hint: this technology will be huge for e-retail.)

What does the rise of virtual, augmented and mix reality mean for you, your company, your future?

How can you profit from virtual, augmented, and mixed reality? How are companies getting it right and getting it wrong? (Always good to learn from others' mistakes!) 

For advice on what this means for you and your company, and for smart ideas on how you can adapt and thrive, get in touch.