The Next Wave Of Developments In Mixed Reality

Since it first became a consumer-facing technology in early 2016, mixed reality has taken us on an exciting, unceasing roller coaster ride. We saw the unveiling of VR headsets, the emergence of games, countless articles about applications beyond entertainment, and finally the introduction of augmented reality on the smartphone market. Taking it all together it’s been quite a lot. In fact, even what happened in augmented reality in 2017 was a wild journey.

Mixed reality’s evolution hasn’t always been easy to predict or project, and in a way it’s been fun to simply watch everything unfold. Even so, it’s fun to try to look ahead, so we’ve taken a stab at predicting some of the next big developments.

Standalone Headsets

This is sort of like the coolest VR development none of us fully realized we needed. To this point, we’ve all simply accepted that virtual reality requires additional hardware to work. That is to say, you need a mobile phone, a powerful computer, or an advanced gaming system that can pair with your headset to bring you a VR experience. Now we’re discovering this just might not be the case. Google and Lenovo unveiled a standalone headset earlier this year, potentially changing the game in virtual reality. While the new headset will be more akin to mobile-based VR in quality than, say, the HTC Vive, it’s still a very intriguing step forward. More independently operated headsets may just be a hit with consumers.

Virtual Casinos

More than anything else, this feels like a dam that’s ready to break. It’s actually astounding that casinos haven’t already migrated to VR more aggressively, but it’s certainly being talked about, and the appeal is clear. As one writer put it, it’s a more substantial rush of exhilaration when you win in a virtual casino, as opposed to just an online or mobile one. The simulation of a real environment will make the whole experience feel more real, and will make it that much more inviting to players. Given that the games themselves are pretty straightforward (poker, blackjack, slots, etc.) this doesn’t seem like the biggest challenge on the software end either. Expect to see full virtual casinos in the very near future.

Virtual Arcades

This is something that isn’t being talked about as much, but it’s sort of a natural follow-up to the idea of a virtual casino. If we can create environments in which we can move from one gaming station to another in a single environment, we might just see the return of mall-style arcades. When you factor in the general popularity of all things vintage as well people might really appreciate an experience like this.


When you see the word “holoportation” it seems like a miracle it isn’t a bigger deal than it is. People have been excited about the potential for hologram-like technology for years already, and VR is bringing it closer to reality. Digital Arts took a look at Microsoft’s progress with VR-based hologram technology in a piece on where mixed reality is going next, and it sounds as if we can expect some exciting developments fairly soon. We can’t say exactly what those developments will look like, but the chance to interact with holograms of other people (rather than animated characters or avatars) could make VR seem that much more real.