VR developer focused on creating immersive storytelling experiences. Follow me on Twitter: @VRHeavenNews
November 2nd, 2022

In the past few years, augmented and virtual reality have rapidly evolved. Every few months, there is a new headset that allows users to push the limits of what AR and VR have to offer, and they are also becoming more accessible and more mainstream. Considering that rapid evolution, what can we expect to be the AR/VR trends in 2023?

Upcoming AR Trends for 2023

While AR tech has been around for quite a while in terms of filters on mobile phones, like when you are taking a picture to post on Instagram, in 2023, we will see many more AR trends than VR ones. That is because most AR tech is still considered relatively new, and not only that, but it also has more practical use than VR for everyday situations, like a few trends that we are going to discuss later on.

1. Smart Mirrors In Stores

Augmented reality is getting much more practical than virtual reality, which is how things will stay for quite a while. In 2023, we expect many stores to utilize the effects of smart mirrors, where people can try out various clothes the store offers without putting them on.

For many shoppers, it can be challenging to find clothing items that they like and that fit them perfectly. In most cases, people know what they are looking for, and while some do not mind browsing through physical items, many would prefer to have the option to stand in front of a mirror and try clothes on with the minimum effort.

This is especially the case when shoppers get annoyed by trying out a few items they like, only to discover that they are too tight or too big or that the thing does not look great. AR mirrors are the perfect solution to this problem, and they will be able to provide all of these comfortable options thanks to Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning powered technologies.

Some bigger chains like H&M and Ralph Lauren already feature smart mirrors that allow shoppers to try out shirts, pants, and even accessories like hats, purses, glasses, makeup, and even jewelry. Including AR smart mirrors in more stores will have a huge impact on the economy, as people will be motivated to go to stores in person and have an easier time finding items they want to spend their money on.

2. AR for Furniture Overlaying

While we already talked about smart mirrors, which will probably be the biggest trend in 2023 when it comes to augmented reality, another thing that many shoppers will want to take advantage of is the 3D furnishing experience.

AR technology is all about comfort and giving shoppers access to quality-of-life features while they are on the lookout to buy some items, and items that are usually the most difficult to shop for are those which they cannot try out in the store, at least not in the form of aesthetics.

Retailers that sell furniture can already utilize room simulator technology for their customers, where they can help them visualize what a piece of furniture will look like in their room. While 2023 is going to see an increase in retail stores with this option, today, some of the biggest companies, like Ikea, are already taking full advantage of this technology.

In any store owned by the Swedish furniture giant Ikea, customers can use the Ikea Place app to see how the furniture from the store would look in their home by having access to true-to-scale 3D models. It is possible to take a picture of any room in your home and try out different furniture that has a realistic outlook. The customization options are already impressive, as it is possible to pair different products and change their colors so they fit the rest of the environment.

3. AR Live Stream Shopping

You may already be able to tell, but AR is going to make shopping a lot easier. The third trend related to AR/VR marketing is AR Live Stream Shopping, which is already pretty big in China. As the Western part of the globe is slowly learning about AR live stream shopping, it is believed that this trend is going to grow into a $770 billion market by 2023.

While AR live streams will allow influencers to host shoppable live streams where they can promote certain products and show them off to their viewers, as well as answer any kind of question that their followers may have, there is a downside to AR live stream shopping as well, and that is that potential customers cannot try out the item themselves before they buy it.

4. Indoor And Outdoor Navigation

In 2023, there will be a significant increase in the use of AR for navigation, especially for navigating specific areas. Trying to find a specific building on campus? No problem! Just turn on your AR navigating app and follow the directions in augmented reality. Of course, this will see limited use in 2023, but it is important to show people that the technology is there and that they, too, can take advantage of it.

Compared to previous navigating technologies, such as GPS, AR technologies will allow more precise navigation to its users by providing them with directions based on their environment instead of their geographical coordinates only. This will make navigating much faster and easier, as comparing something in real-time is much better than looking at an older picture for reference and trying to figure out where it is, if it is still even there.

AR navigation has two parts. The first one is navigation, something a lot of people are already used to, which is the display of directions as text, paths on the screen, and arrows. The second part is the identification of the user’s position. Outdoor AR navigation is already explained, but indoor use new technologies called Bluetooth low energy beacons, or BLE beacons. These beacons can be looked at as lighthouses, which communicate with devices that can receive radio frequency signals from them. With the help of these frequencies, mobile devices, for example, can then help the user figure out the exact location in an indoor environment, allowing them to find their way with ease.

Upcoming VR Trends for 2023

When it comes to VR trends, we believe that VR is more or less established in the eyes of many, and there are not going to be any major innovations in 2023. However, what is going to happen is that the existing VR trends are going to blow up even, just like we saw it happen in 2021 and 2022. With that said, here are some things you can expect from VR in 2023.

1. Growth Of The Metaverse

Even if the Metaverse was supposed to be the big thing of 2022, we all know that it was not even remotely close to what everyone expected. That happened because people hopped on the train too early when the technology for a functioning Metaverse wasn’t there. In 2023, while the Metaverse might not be something that most people expect it to be, it will grow a lot compared to what it was in late 2021 and 2022.

The Metaverse is in a very weird place right now, especially the biggest platform, which is created by Meta. Ever since Meta announced the Metaverse, the company’s stock is plummeting, and the project is so bad that even employees avoid using the platform. The stock went from $378 to $99, and so far, it looks like it will drop.

However, even with this negative outlook, it is believed that 2023 will be a big year for the Metaverse and that it will all be because of Quest Pro and the technologies it will bring to its users. The Metaverse will be one of the biggest trends in 2023 because of the huge improvement to avatars, which comes in the form of codec avatar technologies that allow better facial expressions.

Being able to express yourself in virtual reality is one of the most important things in the Metaverse, especially for business purposes, as users can see how others react to their presentations. Speaking of business, one of the biggest elements in the Metaverse is the existence of NFTs.

While many believe that the NFT craze is over, 2023 will reignite this trend once the Metaverse becomes more popular. That is because NFTs are essential for the Metaverse, as they will be able to help users identify the things they own. Some of the NFTs are also connected to AR technologies, but VR is the place where people should keep an eye out for them.

2. Cheaper VR Models

While the last few VR models released have been significantly more expensive than something like Quest 2, the prices will rapidly fall as both AR and VR technologies improve in 2023. In 2022, many companies got into VR production, but it looks like Meta is still going to be king when it comes to affordable headsets, as they have recently announced that Quest 3 is coming somewhere in 2023.

When Quest 2 hit the market, the features it offered for the price were something that no other company could compete with, and even today, Quest 2 stands out as a fantastic option. Zuckerberg stated that when Quest 3 does come out in 2023, it should be priced somewhere between $300 to $500, which sounds like a great deal for an upgrade. Of course, just like with Quest 2, there will probably be an increase in price later on after the release, but those who are looking to buy Quest Pro for business purposes might find themselves a lower price instead, as keeping a $1500 pricetag for so long is unexpected.

3. VR In The Retail Sector

Certain businesses have already incorporated VR technologies to train some of their employees for specific situations that the workplace can offer. In 2023, this is going to become even more of a trend.

The biggest sector already using VR to train their staff is various automotive companies such as BMW, Peugeot, Audi, and Volkswagen. These companies are utilizing virtual reality technologies to help their employees understand the safety of their working environment and logistics and assembly. VR training puts both new and old workers in realistic situations where they can improve their skills to provide better customer service.

Of course, customer service is not the only aspect that VR training is becoming utilized. One of the most important sectors is the healthcare one, as it helps train staff to react to all kinds of scenarios they could face in their field of work. VR helps surgeons train more often, and there is even a VR medical simulation for the US Air Force that helps soldiers deal with air and space operations.

VR is getting attention from other sectors as well, such as the one revolving around logistics and emergency services. As the new VR technology becomes accessible, these training simulations are going to see a lot of improvement, and 2023 might just be the year when they are considered a standard in certain sectors.

4. The “Indie VR Game Boom”

VR gaming revenue is expected to reach $2.4 billion in 2024 according to Zippia.

There are thousands of passionate VR gamers, but it is a tiny percentage compared to the gaming community. With AR/VR devices being more accessible and the technology allowing even more immersion while gaming, there is no doubt that AR/VR gaming will blow up.

Some other key statistics from Meta Connect 2022 revealing the growth of VR gaming:

  • Walking Dead Saints and Sinners generated $50M in revenue
  • Zenith: The Last City generated $1M in revenue from Quest Store sales alone within 24h of launching the game
  • Resident Evil 4 generated $2M in 2 days
  • Up to today (Oct 2022), $1.5b dollars have been spent on Quest Store games alone

Whilst VR for gaming is no surprise, we are still only scratching the surface of its potential.

These numbers are already impressive, but once the Quest 3 gets released, expect an “indie boom” incoming when these numbers start tripling. Back in 2020 when the Quest 2 was released, the Quest Store’s yearly revenue increased by 5x and it’s not too wild to expect something similar.

Expect Surprises in 2023

Many other trends will come and go in 2023, and while the ones we have listed are the easy ones to predict, considering how fast the technology is advancing, there is always room for pleasant surprises that can change AR/VR as we know it.

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