Near the end of 2016, we took a look at technology trends for 2017 and included a few words about augmented and virtual reality. Sure enough, these two technologies (together referred to as mixed reality) dominated in 2017. We saw virtual reality equipment and experiences refined to some degree, as well as made more available to consumer markets. We also saw Apple and Google introduce new software that allowed developers to create easy, phone-based augmented reality apps. In many respects, mixed reality brought about the most interesting and buzzworthy tech developments of 2017. 

That said, this is technology that appears to have vast remaining potential to evolve. So this time around, we’ll look at a few ways it could do just that in 2018. 

Better Movement In VR 

One of the things that’s held back certain types of virtual reality games is the concept of physical motion. Moving yourself with a joystick can be jarring, and in some cases can ruin the illusion established by a headset. In 2018 we’re likely to start seeing some partial solutions to these issues. One early example appears to be 3dRudder, which isn’t new, but which has shown off a brand new update to its foot-maneuvered VR controller lineup at CES 2018. It’s not a complete solution, but it does allow you to use your legs to move, which is at least somewhat more realistic than using a joystick. This and other systems like it could open the door for a variety of new (or improved) VR experiences. 

AR Glasses

AR glasses are coming, and they may be big when they do. Some people are already imagining a futuristic vision of society in which we’re all wearing AR glasses most of the time, effectively making tech a part of our every moment (even more than it already is). That day may well come, but in the meantime we’re likely to start seeing AR glasses that simply pair with our smartphones to make existing AR apps that much more realistic. Apple is the company most will be watching. It’s an open secret that the company has filed patents relating to AR glasses, and it’s possible the glasses could be the company’s big autumn release – something they have almost every year. 

Surges In Investment 

One of the more thoughtful pieces on the near future of virtual reality articulated a cycle that we now seem to be in the middle of: investment in more expensive VR will lead to higher grosses in sales, which in turn will mean more profits, which will lead to better investments in new games and ideas. As stated, 2017 brought significant improvement in mixed reality, which should bring about a renewed surge in investment. This probably means that we’ll simply see a gradual, general increase in the quality of equipment, software, games, and other experiences throughout 2018. 

Casino Integration 

The same article that discussed potential investment trends actually had a lot to say about potential casino integration with VR as well, and this certainly seems like an eventuality. Casino platforms do enormous business with a variety of games that can easily be enhanced via fresh environments or any little feature that makes things more realistic. In 2018 we’re likely to see some of these platforms partnering with VR (or AR) developers to put out new games. 

Booming AR App Markets 

An interesting piece on potential tech trends for 2018 quoted an expert in tech and market research predicting a landslide of AR apps. This, out of everything on this list, seems like the most undeniable prediction for the year ahead. With AR already having come to many, if not most modern smartphones, developers are still just getting started with exploring what’s effectively a new app medium. Already AR portions of app stores are growing rapidly, and that growth should only accelerate in the months to come. By the end of 2018 there could be thousands of augmented reality apps for people to try.