The Immersive Experiences that have pushed entertainment forward are the same that are changing manufacturing, energy, and automotive, among many other spaces. VR, AR, and other forms of interactive technology are evolving at breakneck speed. This rapid change applies to both software and hardware, as XR is set to become an unstoppable ubiquitous force.
These levels of growth are almost hard to fathom. To be more specific, the global XR market value is expected to reach nearly USD $400 billion by 2026. This completely eclipses a more recent estimated value of USD $25.84 billion in 2020.
Size and scope aren’t the only things set to change in the industry. Key facets of development like QA, testing, and LiveOps pipelines will need to adapt to this rapid expansion. Let’s go over a few growth-oriented challenges facing the future of XR.
Expanding use outside of entertainment means the functionality of XR applications is of greater consequence. Whether it’s medical education, military, or other serious operations, lives are at stake. This means that immersive products used in training or direct job performance need to meet rigorous levels of quality and reliability.
This will likely lead to a rise in governing bodies and standards such as the XRA and Metaverse Standards forum. A change like this makes sense for the use cases mentioned, but this could be a significant adjustment period for the talent pool and industry veterans that are contributing to the rise of XR. Quality standards in entertainment are one thing, but maintaining life-saving performance standards is another hurdle altogether.
While universal or regional regulations have yet to be fully established, XR developers can begin to aggregate better tooling now and ensure they meet upcoming safety and legislative pressures head-on.
By bringing VR, AR, and other immersive technologies to different sectors, there are more opportunities to build profitable businesses. This is especially the case with XR technology entering the retail sphere, or other examples of day-to-day commerce. While convenience, access, and ease of use can all be improved greatly by XR applications, privacy is a significant concern.
AR is a prime example. Using AR in a customer's home or other intimate spaces can lead to some tricky privacy concerns. That, and with purchases being made through an XR application, those who gather customer data have to consider a wealth of protections and other responsibilities. These challenges have already been faced with the rise of e-commerce as we know it, but further shifts are bound to come with new modes of participation.
While the onus lies heavily on executive-level staff and the aforementioned regulatory bodies, developers need to be equipped with the right resources as well.
At the moment, North America holds a substantial market share in XR. While advancement has to start somewhere, technologies that alter daily life for consumers, businesses, and even governments, will benefit from a greater global perspective.
Having more checks and balances in the industry can make things complicated, or even slow things down. However, a larger pool of players in the space can lead to much-needed diversity in the conceptualizing and execution of future XR products and services. All of which, hopefully, lead to a more prosperous vision of XR implementation.