While the market is abuzz with dreams of virtual reality, lest we forget about AR, or augmented reality. Unlike VR, which completely immerses you into an outside world, AR takes advantage of the environment around you to add otherwise impossible interactions to your living room, bedroom or man cave.
Like VR, AR isn't new. In fact, even advertising has gotten in on the action in the past, and Google Glass had some capabilities to do interesting things as well. It must be said, though, that most companies are preferring to go all-in on VR rather than AR. This past August, Google got rid of its AR, unit Niantic Labs, and just last week, Qualcomm sold its Vuforia AR business to PTC, makers of market-leading design software.
That might look bad for AR, but the truth is, there are some companies out there, such as Microsoft, that are working hard to make us realize just how cool, and even useful, AR can be. It could be argued that CastAR, a company that rose from the ashes of a shunned AR project at Valve, was the first in recent years to really make us take notice in AR. But of course, as a small unit, CastAR's ambitions have been somewhat dwarfed by Microsoft's HoloLens, which it first introduced earlier this year.
At the company's event earlier this month, where it introduced its latest top-end Lumia smartphones, Surface Pro 4, and Surface Book, it also showed what's possible with HoloLens for gaming. The result is downright impressive, allowing you to battle ridiculous monsters from right inside your living room. This was a nice departure from what the company showed off at earlier events, which was mostly related to product design.
Now, we learn that it's not just Microsoft that wants to see such a solution hit the market. Interestingly, ASUS also wants it, bad enough to begin discussions with Microsoft to see if it can become the first outside partner to build a product around HoloLens.
What's most interesting about this is that ASUS is largely a consumer-focused company. It does cater to the enterprise as well, but most who read HotHardware are going to think of its motherboards, graphics cards, and other PC components. While Microsoft hasn't put a major focus on gaming with the HoloLens, gaming is something that ASUS loves to promote. So just maybe, it'd be able to create its own unit, and not have it cost an arm and a leg. Or at least $3,000 like the HoloLens dev units.
Given the prominence of VR, though, ASUS would be in for an uphill battle to sell gamers on such a solution.