Why Microsoft Sees AR (Not VR) as a Big Opportunity
An opinion piece by Travis Hoium on Fool.com entitled Why Microsoft Sees AR (Not VR) as a Big Opportunity discusses Microsoft’s investment preferences when it comes to immersive technology.
In 2017, Microsoft entered the virtual reality (VR) industry with what it called “mixed reality” headsets made by ASUS, Lenovo, HP, Dell, and Samsung. The differentiation of these headsets from early Oculus and HTC Vive headsets was their inside-out tracking, meaning they didn’t need external trackers to locate the headset, but they were still tethered to a computer.
The concept was novel at the time, but operations were glitchy, and Facebook’s Oculus and HTC’s Vive products were superior even at Microsoft’s launch.
Xbox head Phil Spencer squashed the idea of VR for Xbox saying, “Nobody’s asking for VR.” Maybe nobody’s asking for VR, but Microsoft is investing in related augmented reality (AR) technology that customers are definitely asking for.
The VR/AR industry is booming, with market intelligence company IDC expecting growth of 79% to $18.8 billion in 2020. But it’s not consumer products that are expected to drive growth, it’s enterprise applications.
IDC projects that spending in areas like investment services and banking will grow at over 100% annually for the next five years. So enterprise solutions are big business, and that’s where Microsoft sees its opportunity in AR.