AR vs. VR: The Great Gaming Debate

Insights4 minutes read

The augmented reality vs virtual reality debate is one that’s raged on for a few years and will do so for many more.

Because both serve a similar goal, i.e. to create digitally realistic environments, people often see it as AR vs VR. In reality, both can exist in the same space and serve their own purpose.

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As you can enjoy different genres of games, such as robot games or adventure games, you can also enjoy both AR and VR without any conflict.

To understand why it doesn’t have to be a case of AR vs VR, we need to look at what both innovations offer and, in turn, how they differ.

What is the Main Difference Between VR and AR?

The Augmented Reality (AR) vs Virtual Reality (VR) debate usually hangs on the notion of one being better than the other but, in reality, both are impressive.

The obvious difference is how digital elements are presented to the user. AR systems combine digital elements with the physical world, fusing the two rather than separating them:

  • AR serves a different purpose than VR in the sense that it creates a unity between the physical and digital worlds.
  • VR immerses users into a virtual world that’s disconnected from reality or, more specifically, a world that’s designed to be its own reality.

What is Augmented Reality (AR)?

Augmented reality (AR) is a technology that superimposes digital elements onto physical objects. AR is commonly used on mobile devices, but there are headsets such as Google Glass. Yet, the main feature of AR is that it maps animations onto the world around the user.

To read more about AR games, you can visit our dedicated blog post on the subject.

What is Virtual Reality (VR)?

Virtual reality (VR) is a completely immersive experience. VR software is connected to a headset that’s designed to shut out the physical world. This disconnects the user from reality and, in turn, makes the virtual world in which they’re operating feel real.

VR blocks out the world - it aims to flood the user’s senses to create an immersive 360-degree world.

Is AR harder than VR?

It’s harder to create AR because the digital elements have to interact with physical objects. As well as the need to process data quickly and efficiently, AR software has to project clear images onto the physical world.

The games themselves will vary in difficulty depending on what you have to do.

It Doesn’t Have to Be AR vs VR

AR vs VR might often be a debate among tech fans, but it doesn’t have to be. On a technical level, there is merit to the augmented reality vs virtual reality debate. However, for consumers, there is no need to see it in the same manner. They’re similar innovations but they offer different experiences.

AR brings a digital experience to you. VR takes you to the digital experience. AR makes the world around you feel like a game. VR takes you to a different world. Therefore, as a user, you have to choose the experience that suits you best. It’s not AR vs VR, it’s fusion vs. total immersion.

The one you choose is a matter of personal preference.  

Can VR and AR work together?

Finally, to prove the AR vs VR debate isn’t useful, we can look at the mixed reality vs augmented reality debate. Mixed reality (MR) is a step beyond augmented reality. In classic AR, you can’t interact with the digital elements.

They can act of their own accord, but you can’t manipulate them. In contrast, MR allows you to touch, move, and interact with items in the digital world, which is the direction AR is going nowadays.

This is why it’s better to think about the mixed reality vs augmented reality debate rather than AR vs VR. Fusing the digital with the physical and then being able to interact with the two unlocks even more ways to play games. That’s a positive.

However, when it comes down to it, regardless of whether you’re thinking about AR vs VR or mixed reality vs augmented reality, it’s all positive. Indeed, these are the innovations that are taking gaming to a whole new level!

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