Why Microsoft is betting on AR rather than VR


  • Augmented reality is gaining strength in the industry
  • Is the future in AR?

Microsoft has nevertheless made an attempt in the world of virtual reality by launching its Window Mixed Reality platform in 2017. The Redmond firm, on the other hand, left it to other companies, HP, Samsung, Acer and Lenovo, to manufacture their own headsets. These differ from those of Oculus or HTC by the fact that they do not need an external tracker to track them. Everything is in-house.

Since then, more or less news from Microsoft on this front. Only the statement of Phil Spencer, head of the Xbox branch, confirmed the positions of the American giant. VR is clearly not their priority. The reason given is that this is not what people want. In place, they have focused all their efforts on augmented reality. And if the general public does not express itself much more on this subject, another fringe of the population is interested in it; one whose pockets are full.

Augmented reality is gaining strength in the industry

Several recent examples prove it, the universe of virtual reality, accompanied by augmented reality, is booming. Headsets are out of stock, some games are making millions of dollars (well, at least a million). However, this market represents only a small part of the gains generated by the industry. It is not he who is the real engine of the expected strong growth, although he is participating in it. No it's mainly AR and its application in various sectors like industry, medicine and military. This is where the money is potentially.

So, when Microsoft presented its HoloLens headset at E3 in 2015 with a game of Minecraft, the feedback was positive. They were less so when the price exceeding 3 euros was announced. The target of this device was therefore obvious and addressed in priority to businesses and government agencies. Thus, even though Microsoft sold far fewer headsets than Oculus, it is likely that their margins were higher.

Is the future in AR?

By positioning itself as early as possible on augmented reality, Microsoft has taken a good lead over the rest of the market. Nevertheless, other manufacturers, Chinese (Magic Leap), French (Lynx) or Americans are on his heels. They too well understood the challenges of AR. It is also, in a way, the bet to bet on a technology which represents the future. Indeed, augmented reality should not be limited as virtual reality can be. And the fact that giants like Google, Facebook and Apple are getting started proves that they too expect a small revolution.

So at the moment this represents a small market. However, Microsoft can take advantage of its place at the top of the mountain to observe the evolutions and calculate your next move.

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