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"AR will be the biggest technological revolution in our lifetimes"

Epic's Tim Sweeney sees VR being overtaken in just 10 years

Tim Sweeney believes the current boom of virtual reality hardware will ultimately give way to a different and more disruptive technology: augmented reality.

Speaking at ChinaJoy in Shanghai, Epic Games' esteemed founder wasn't mealy-mouthed in his appraisal of AR's potential.

"I believe that augmented reality will be the biggest technological revolution that happens in our lifetimes," he said, as reported by Venturebeat.

"If we had this AR display, the deep thing to realise is this. Once you have an augmented reality display, you don't need any other form of display. Your smart phone does not need a screen. You don't need a tablet. You don't need a TV. You just take the screen with you on your glasses wherever you go."

Right now, the most well known device for AR is Microsoft's HoloLens, which has impressed its users despite some significant flaws. However, it's the technology being developed at Magic Leap that has most impressed Sweeney, and convinced him that it could fundamentally alter our relationship with technology.

Indeed, Sweeney believes that AR's potential is so great it effectively puts a time limit on the primacy of VR, which will be more relevant in the near-term.

"With AR, you have a large field of view," he said. "Combine with convenience of mobile and the display is with you everywhere you go and you don't need anything else. Augmented reality will drive all things like chat, social networking, photos, videos, organizing data, modeling, painting, motion capture, and visual programming.

"Every form of computing will be combined together and unified in a single platform. That is long term. This trend will start with VR. AR will take a full decade to play out."

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Matthew Handrahan avatar
Matthew Handrahan: Matthew Handrahan joined GamesIndustry in 2011, bringing long-form feature-writing experience to the team as well as a deep understanding of the video game development business. He previously spent more than five years at award-winning magazine gamesTM.
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