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The tech business spends a lot of time on VR. Creating exciting new worlds can overshadow the more practical uses of new hardware. This, among other points, was the focus of the “Taking Gaming to New Levels with Augmented Reality” panel at GamesBeat Summit Next 2022 event.

A world for everyone

Moderator Amy LaMeyer, managing partner of WXR Fund, started a conversation about accessibility within the metaverse. “The thing I really think is interesting about AR in particular is you’re talking about your shift from a more physical world to a desktop version is accessibility, right? And just, and not only having different types of gamers work together, but just having it be available to more types of people in general. Do you guys think about that as you’re developing your games?”

“Accessibility is tricky, especially when you’re trying to put a headset on someone you know that may have hearing issues,” replied Jeri Ellsworth, CEO of Tilt Five. “Maybe vision or mobility issues. For us as a small startup, we think about it a lot. We can’t necessarily act on it as much because we’re small. Our magic wand looks like a barbecue lighter, and our industrial designers hated the look of it. They’re like, ‘we don’t want it to look like a barbecue lighter.’ They did hundreds of different iterations on it. We kept coming back to that because it was accessible.

“Someone like my father who’s never really played a game before, we put the magic wand barbecue lighter in his hand and say like, it’s like a hot glue gun or a barbecue lighter,” continued Ellsworth. “Just pull the trigger and just pick that character up. They can do it. So, by making those concessions, the wand was more accessible to a broad audience, as much as we didn’t want to do it.”

Education

One other challenge for the future of AR is making it a household name. While most folks know about AR in a nebulous sort of way, the world needs a better understanding of the tech before it can become a standard.

“Outside of people who are working with AR, the general consumer really has no idea what AR is,” said Alex Lieu, chief creative with Animal Repair Shop. “What people know as AR is Pokemon Go. But it’s so limited in what it can do and that’s sort of the beauty of it. The average consumer has no idea.”

From where we are now, it’s going to take some time. However, the future looks bright for augmented reality.

“It’s the promise is that eventually we’re going sit on this stage and we can all look through our glasses or our new fabricated eyes that we just popped in,” continued Lieu. “We’re all sitting together in this cave and we’re having this experience and all these different things. We all understand what that future looks like.”

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