Microsoft Admits Consumer Adoption Of AR Tech Could Take Years

Hardware and game makers thought years ago that the next big thing for gamers was virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) gaming. That has failed to happen, but adoption in the business sector is coming along much faster. Microsoft unveiled its Hololens 2 at MWC 2019 and aimed it at enterprise users. The software giant signed a big contract with the U.S. military to provide Hololens headsets for training in a deal that is worth $479 million, something some employees were against.

Despite a recent patent application from Microsoft that showed an AR app for smartphones, a company executive has now admitted we are years away from consumer adoption of the tech.

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Microsoft's director of communications, Greg Sullivan, has stated in a recent interview that he believes that for its entire lifespan, Hololens 2 will be an enterprise-level device. Sullivan went on to say that Microsoft sees AR penetration in the consumer space as being measured in years. When asked if Microsoft had any plans for a consumer level-device similar to Hololens 2, but less feature packed and cheaper, Sullivan noted that Redmond had nothing to announce at this time.

The original Hololens had some gaming applications when it launched leading many to expect a big push into AR gaming from Microsoft, but that never happened. Hololens 2 is much more enterprise focused. Despite not being overly gaming focused, the gaming industry paid attention to the original Hololens, and Sullivan says there is a reason for that.

He noted that Microsoft didn't know when the first gen hardware launched where the highest return on its investment would be. While it might have wanted gaming developers to be where that return on investment would come from, as it turns out the enterprise market was more interested in the device for training and other uses. AR and VR will undoubtedly someday be a big deal for gamers; Sullivan says that mixed reality is the "future of the interaction model."