Gaming is a term we no longer just relate to console and PC games. Now, we have other modes of gaming, thanks to concepts like VR and AR. What are these two? VR refers to “Virtual Reality” and AR refers to “Augmented Reality”. VR gaming has been on the rise with companies like HTC and Oculus coming out with new VR gaming headsets now and then. As for AR gaming, it has made a mark in the gaming industry with games such as Pokemon Go and Ingress Prime being the torchbearers.
Even though people have often been heard using the two terms interchangeably, they’re truly different. They often overlap each other in some way or another, but shouldn’t be mistaken to be the same. So, what is the difference between the two?
VR Gaming vs AR Gaming – What’s The Difference?
Virtual Reality Gaming
Virtual reality (VR) gaming refers to an experience where a user is taken to a completely digital/virtual world using a VR headset.
A VR headset uses an LCD/OLED screen that works in tandem with the headset’s lenses to fill the user’s field of vision with a virtual world. Virtual reality can be used to enjoy gaming in an all-new dimension, and view videos/movies, as though it’s your personal theatre. VR experiences can either have all 6 DOF (degrees of freedom) or can simply be observant experiences (video watching).
There are three types of VR headsets viz. standalone headsets, tethered headsets or mobile headsets.
Standalone headsets, as the name suggests, are wireless VR headsets that run on batteries. Tethered headsets are those that run after they are plugged into your PC or console (like PlayStation). And, mobile VR headsets are those that convert your phone’s screen into a virtual world. Oculus, HTC, PlayStation andGoogle are some leading brands in the VR gaming industry.
Read Also: How Does VR Gaming Work?
Augmented Reality Gaming
Augmented reality (AR) refers to the technology that simply adds digital elements to your real-world environment using a screen. But, how is this done?
Devices such as Google Glass, Magic Leap One and Microsoft Hololens are essentially transparent “sunglasses” encompassing a digital screen, which when worn, add digital elements to a user’s current surroundings.
The AR technology has recently also been incorporated into smartphones, with games like Pokemon Go, Ingress Prime and Harry Potter to name a few. Other than games, we experience AR through the camera of our smartphones while using filters on apps such as Instagram and Snapchat.
VR Gaming vs AR Gaming
What we learn from what’s mentioned above is that both VR and AR are technologies that digitally alter a user’s reality. But, the way of doing so is different in both.
VR replaces a user’s complete field of vision with an illustrative/digitalized world, using the science of refraction between a VR headset’s lenses and screen. Whereas, AR simply adds digital elements to a user’s real surroundings, by using a “transparent screen” in the form of glasses, or via a user’s smartphone.
Can a Device Project Both VR and AR?
In an event where we have the presence of AR and VR simultaneously, we refer to it as MR, i.e., Mixed Reality. When an AR device mimics a VR device by completely covering a certain portion of what’s in front of the screen, by digital elements, it is referred to as MR.
Also, some VR games are designed such that they project a user’s real-world surroundings, inside the headset’s screen using the VR headset’s external cameras. This is also a case of a game possessing mixed reality!
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