Jason Jones is the co-founder of Bungie, the legendary gaming studio behind franchises like Halo and Destiny. In a pre-show interview ahead of today’s Destiny 2 Showcase, Jones professed a sincere belief that AR and VR (XR) technology is going to radically disrupt smartphones and TV hardware.

As a co-founder of Bungie in 1991, Jason Jones has been with the company for 30 years, and has played a significant role in the development of every game under the studio’s banner. Now as the company’s Chief Vision Officer, it’s no surprise that he’s got a forward-looking take on the future of computing.

In an fireside chat published today (timestamped video link) Jones said he’s “100%” sure that XR is going to be a disruptive technology.

Jason Jones (right), Luke Smith (left) | Image courtesy Bungie

“AR is gonna be the thing that displaces mobile [phones]. I’m so sure of that. I’m so sure we’re all going to be wearing [AR] glasses. And all the TVs are gonna go in a landfill. All those [TV] companies are going to go out of business. All the cracks in our ceiling are going to get fixed in our glasses. So many people are going to end up with virtual pets and [AR] windows out to the Taj Mahal or the Eiffel Tower,” Jones said. “Maybe it’ll be… 20 years? I think it’s gonna be a lot sooner than that, and I think it’s going to be really interesting.”

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While Jones said “AR” as a matter of simplicity, it was clear that he was implicating VR too when talking about TVs becoming software rather than hardware.

“…what’s going to happen is people are gonna throw away their TV and have a way bigger TV [via AR glasses], or they’re gonna go to a totally virtual space that has a bigger screen [via VR glasses].”

To Jones’ point, in the future it’s likely that AR and VR capabilities will merge into the same devices, as we’re beginning to see with headsets like Quest 2 and LYNX.

Despite his bullish take on XR disrupting smartphones and TV hardware itself, he doesn’t believe the technology will disrupt the way that people primarily play games today.

“I don’t think what’s gonna happen is there’s gonna be a whole new slew of games that can only happen in AR. I mean there’s definitely gonna be some,” Jones said. “[…] And they might play some tabletop or strategy games in a different way, but I think people are always going to be playing first-person shooters with some kind of input device on a virtual window in their visual field.”

Because of the performance requirements for XR, Jones believes that local compute will always be necessary, even if thin clients powered by cloud streaming for traditional gaming catch on.

“[…] the other interesting thing about AR is that if you have AR, you have to have local compute, because you need high framerate, you need to be able to render all kinds of crazy stuff like right there, like within two feet of your body,” he said. “Which means I think that all the cloud [streaming] stuff—[which is] totally gonna happen, absolutely gonna be a thing—but we’re not gonna transition fully to thin clients.”

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Jones also predicts that there will initially be widespread denial and criticism of AR before it inevitably becomes mainstream.

“And when [AR starts to catch on], the reason that you’re gonna know that it’s gonna take over the whole world—is that everybody is gonna laugh at it. Everybody is gonna think it’s ridiculous,” said Jones. “When the iPhone came out, the stuff that people were saying to not admit that they were holding a chunk of the Sun in their hands that was going to change the world… the stuff people said was ridiculous. And people are gonna do that again [with AR.”

Jones stopped short of saying that Bungie is specifically working on anything related to AR or VR, but summarized his conviction by saying “AR displaces mobile, like 100%.” As the company’s Chief Vision Officer, it’s not hard to image he’s certainly thinking about where Bungie fits into that future.

And he’s far from the only tech veteran to hold this belief. Facebook, Microsoft, and other major tech companies are investing hundreds of millions if not billions jostling to both manifest and lead the emerging XR market.

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  • XRC

    For great example of AR/VR in future, see Hulu’s The First (mars) with Sean Penn – people use heavy glasses with global and local synchronization to access AR and VR content

    One heart wrenching scene is very effective, where an astronaut consoles the parents of a dead colleague by sharing VR with them showing why their son loved what he did. Other scenes show the AR functionality, its very impressive.

    The show is set in 2030’s which seems about right in terms of XR technology reaching mass market as smartphone replacement?

    • namekuseijin

      Well, Hollywood has been selling VR/AR forever, just as warp drives. Doesn’t mean it’s even physically possible or within our near future reach.

      However, I watched videogames grow from simple untextured blocks of Atari to playing Sniper Elite with a gun in my hands on a mobile processor with quite good and convincing presentation overall, so there’s hope…

      • XRC

        2030’s doesn’t seem unrealistic considering huge amounts of money being pumped into AR R&D by Big Tech, in tandem with 2030 projections for roll out of 6G technology and developments within engagement edge computing

        If I recall my first experience with video gaming, Space Invaders in arcade in 1979, the progress has been absolutely incredible…it took 25 years from Virtuality to Vive, I’m patient…

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    It’s inevitable that it’s the future, it’s just a matter of when it takes the lead in front of other mediums to replace them as the primary or at least best means of doing things.

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  • dk

    on xr ….rnd for the hololens is billions ….and all of that can be used for vr eye/hand/positional tracking software platform and hardware …just the screen tech is not applicable for vr
    ….and they will be doing a lot of rnd for the 22 billion military contract
    it will be cool if they invest a lot in researching something like the holographic lens optics feacebook demoed a while back

  • kontis

    What is impossible to predict is when the threshold of mainstream-friendly AR glasses will be achieved and what the threshold really is.

    It took Apple 15 years to go from geeks-only Newton PDA in 1992 to iPhone in 2007. And the challenge was much smaller because it wasn’t trying to take over your entire sense of vision.

    The first iPhone was barely above that mainstream acceptance threshold, couldn’t even record a video and many people didn’t want to accept its shortcoming even compared to normal cellphones.

    The display technology is not even scratching the surface of what’s needed. In 2014 Zuckerberg expected to have something good enough by 2025. Now they gave up to even put ANY display into their prototypes.

    We need computing power of today’s high end gaming machine (or even better considering the holographic rendering challenges) in tiny form factor with battery that lasts at least 12 hours. Seeing how in recent years mobile processors started significantly slowing down this may take many decades.

    The progress is much slower than what experts were predicting 5-8 years ago, despite the fact the richest megacoprs in the world are heavily investing in the research.

    • namekuseijin

      Mobile processors are able to do in VR circa 2005 graphics with not even 4K resolution.

      But 5G and beyond will be a reality soon, streaming from capable cloud computing will be more realistic.

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  • kontis

    Microsoft’s AR investments, products and demoes all put Apple’s AR endeavors (so far) to SHAME.

  • namekuseijin

    Clickbait at best. This Bungie guy is disappointingly utter clueless. So in the near future you’ll wear your magic goggles to watch whales flying in the sky outside the window and to fire up your virtual tv to push buttons in an old retro shooter with regular gamepad. Can he be any more short sighted ? Not even a 3D tv at least with an arcade zapper gun in your hands.

    Go to the dustbin of history chap, it’s clear you’re still living in early 2K days of flat Halo success and thinking of Hollywood AR instead of actual tech here today.

    • NotMikeD

      Well said! I was definitely vibing with his description of an AR-enhanced future, and then unexpectedly his narrative took a left turn and careened into a chasm when he described WITHIN this futuristic world a take on FPS that would feel dated even in 2017. I don’t play 2D shooters anymore in 2021, once I aimed down sights of virtual firearms in VR, that was it for me. Now using a mouse to aim a crosshair just feels silly.

      • brandon9271

        you under estimate how truly lazy many people are though. I lot of folks want to play a game on the couch or recliner with only their thumbs. Flicking a wrist in Wii was to much physical activity for these couch potatoes. VR is even worse too them. so I dunno he could be correct..

        • johann jensson

          That hasn’t stopped millions of people from exercising daily, in fitness studios or outside. Physical VR games are a combination of exercise and gaming – best of both worlds, in theory.

          Now, when there are games like The Witcher 3 or Mass Effect / Dragon Age in the style of SkyrimVR, you can count me in as well. []-)

          • brandon9271

            oh i agree. i think those type games are awesome! I’ve even had a great time playing old FPS games like Doom and Quake on my Quest 2. I just know a lot of people are stubborn and set in there ways :)

  • I think we all agree with him here

  • johann jensson

    AR? LOL, for casuals maybe (and business, but that’s OT). VR? That’s where the immersive stuff happens – everything else is warm beer.