Augmented Reality vs Virtual Reality: Which Trend Will Dominate?

July 15, 2016 - 2 minutes read

Pokemon Go hands on

Virtual reality has been dominating media coverage of tech, and when mobile app users imagine the coming VR revolution they usually imagine the sort of VR devices we saw at SXSW — big headsets, cords on the ground, complete visual immersion in a digital world.

So Pokemon Go, the record-setting high-growth mobile gaming startup from Nintendo exploding across Twitter in recent weeks, comes as a surprise. The interface, which turns user’s phones into an augmented reality device that reveals pokèmon and gameplay in real-world landscapes, takes an innovative twist on VR and mobile gaming alike, hinting at the possibility of mobile app experiences that augment rather than replace

The question for Boston mobile app developers is, what will the VR and augmented reality specialty gear of the future look like? Will widespread adoption depend on integration with standby daily use devices like smartphones and tablets, or will dedicated hardware like the Oculus Rift become the device of choice? Currently, the field is ripe with experimentation, and the general consensus seems to be that some combination of the two is likely.

One thing is for certain — VR and augmented reality are here to stay, and mobile app developers who tap into these new opportunities will find surprising new revenue sources and design possibilities. For now, augmented reality has the advantage of being able to exist on top of existing hardware. Even if this gap closes, it’s easy to imagine how augmented reality could become a part of daily life for digital consumers — particularly for mobile app developers designing tools rather than games. From workplace training to navigation and transit, the possibilities are endless for the next generation of VR app developers.

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