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Wednesday, April 01, 2015

Augmented Reality Gaining Traction in Mobile Games

Despite having been demonstrated to the masses via the medium of Cinema, as well as the fact that the Augmented Reality (AR) concept has been in development for a long time, the technology has yet to gain significant market traction.

That said, AR software applications in the mobile games market are forecast to generate 420 million downloads annually by 2019 -- that's up from 30 million in 2014, according to the latest market study by Juniper Research.

The emergence of Head Mounted Devices (HMDs) used in the home -- such as the Microsoft Hololens -- will bring a surge in interest for AR games over the next five years.

For the time being however, Juniper believes that most AR downloads will likely occur via smartphones and media tablets.

Market Development Opportunities

Juniper also observed that there had been little traction in the consumer AR market over the past two years. They cited the apparent lack of compelling apps to captivate consumers, and hence a limited level of interest had been generated in the wider market.

"The app market has stagnated somewhat, with the industry struggling to move beyond AR marketing tools" said Steffen Sorrell, research analyst at Juniper Research. "I do see a shift though – Blippar, for example is moving into visual search, which will open the app to a far wider potential audience."


Dedicated Circuitry Needed for AR

Meanwhile, the research found that mobile devices continue to come up short where graphic-intensive AR applications are concerned.

Juniper's assessment found that bottlenecks in the object tracking and image rendering pipeline are still hampering the progression of mobile AR.

Nevertheless, all major System on a Chip (SoC) vendors have shown interest in introducing dedicated circuitry for AR, which should spur on the overall application ecosystem.

Other key findings from the market study include:

  • Interest in Enterprise AR has gathered pace over the past year, driven by software and hardware improvements.
  • HMDs will be key in this space, enabling hands-free AR.
  • In-vehicle AR systems offer tremendous safety benefits to drivers. This technology will become available to a wider audience towards the end of the decade.