And here are some of the really hard AR problems, which unfortunately I don’t have time to discuss either.
So how might this new world of gaming come to pass?
The roadmap for VR is likely to be pretty straightforward.
First, the Rift ships and is reasonably successful, and that kicks off the kind of positive spiral that occurred with 3D accelerators, with several companies competing and constantly improving the technology.
The real question is whether VR is a niche or a whole new platform – how broadly important it turns out to be.
In the long run, it’s certainly potentially a new platform; just watch any “Star Trek” episode that has the Holodeck, or read Ready Player One.
It’s just not clear how long it’ll be until we can do most of that.
The AR roadmap is less clear.
We know where we’d like to end up – with seamless, go-anywhere, always-on AR like Rainbows End – but that’s much too far from current technology to even think about right now. We need to start by developing more tractable sorts of AR.
Possible roadmap #1 involves the success and widespread use of HUD-style head mounted displays like Google Glass, which show information, but don’t do AR.
Once they’re established, though, AR could become a value-added, differentiating feature – for example, allowing you to play virtual tabletop games at home, in airports, or in boring meetings.
In possible roadmap #2, living-room AR successfully ships for a console and becomes the dominant form of living-room gaming.
In either case, once AR has a toehold, it can start to evolve toward science fiction AR.
That’s definitely going to take decades to fully refine.