Mixed reality is exploring new horizons

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Beatshapers’ Alexey Menshikov took a few minutes at the GamesBeat Summit to talk about mixed reality technology, past and future.

Mixed reality technology is in kind of a weird spot right now. The last few years have seen some serious ups and downs. There was a point early where Sony looked pretty impressive on the AR front with Eye of Judgement.

And then we did not see a huge amount of follow-up, at least on the AR front. A little while after that VR picked up in a big way with an unprecedented level of hype. Oculus demos at E3 were finally gaining notoriety, and suddenly everyone wanted a piece of the VR space.

That level of hype and promise led directly to the now shrinking Metaverse bubble.

AR never really took off. The VR hype is dying. Both categories, and mixed reality itself, are practically back to hobbyist levels of interest.

But the hobbyist space is usually where the magic happens.

The future of Mixed Reality

Whenever something like AR, VR or the Metaverse comes up the point is inevitably made that the lack of cross-device support is a huge point of failure. When Oculus was the only game in town it seemed, for a year or two, like it wasn’t going to be a problem in that arena.

Then, of course, everyone tried to come out with their own device … or their own store. The exact same thing happened to the Metaverse. Everyone tried to launch their own. Most people weren’t working together. They still aren’t. It’s kind of a mess.

Mixed reality might have a potential solution, though.

“2022, Qualcomm announced Spaces,” said Menshikov. “This is actually one of the key API … they have a chance to become the middleware; the API that’s uniting all other devices. Not just Apple or Meta.”

A grand unifying API might be the ticket to letting those hobbyist spaces advance and innovate. At least on the software side of things.

The hardware side’s a bit more tricky. There’s just as much fragmentation between different pieces of hardware as there is on the software side.

“There’s already a lot of devices to support,” said Menshikov.

Despite the problems, Menshikov is optimistic for the future of Mixed Reality. He sees a world, in the near future, where MR devices are simple to pick up and use. He wants to see easy local multiplayer games, and someday room-scale and house-scale applications.

Personally? I can’t wait to see it.

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