The State of AR and VR App Development in 2024

Augmented (AR) and Virtual (VR) Reality have undergone significant transformations since the first stereoscopic viewer was introduced. From bulky headsets and limited field of view to lightweight devices, we’ve progressed to highly realistic virtual environments.

Immersive technologies were once seen primarily as a tool for entertainment and gaming. However, they have enjoyed widespread adoption in the fields of training, healthcare, engineering, etc.

In this article, we will look at current and future trends in AR/VR app development to help you leverage the current potential of these technologies.

            An Overview of AR and VR Technology

AR and VR are two immersive technologies that allow people to interact with digital content. While related, AR/VR development differs in approach.

Virtual Reality immerses users in a computer-generated 3D environment, blocking out the real world. Users can interact with simulations through gestures,  body motions, or controller devices.

Augmented Reality enhances the real-world environment by overlaying digital objects and information over real ones. In AR, users employ smartphones, tablets, and AR glasses to seamlessly blend virtual and physical worlds together in real time.

These technologies actually have a long history.

            The Evolution of Virtual and Augmented Reality Over the Years

The concept of VR and AR has been around for decades, but true commercial viability is quite recent. Here’s a brief look at how the technologies have progressed.

1838invention of 3D view stereoscope.
1929the first VR prototype of the flight simulator  “View-Master”.
1961the first VR helmet-like device that monitored head motion.
1969 – 1974invention of computer-generated settings and “artificial reality.”
1982introduction of AR on TV in the form of interactive weather maps.
1987introduction of the term “Virtual Reality.”
1993 – 1995Sega’s VR headset and Nintendo’s first home VR device.
2000release of ARToolKit  and the first AR applications.
2003Sony’s digital camera for gesture recognition.
2010the first Oculus VR HMD prototype.
2013Volkswagen’s first AR tutorials.
2010s-2020s5G, cloud computing, mobile, and standalone VR/AR devices made high-quality experiences portable.

Today, there is ongoing advancement in computer vision, body tracking, hand tracking, and spatial computing enriched immersion, which together contribute to the increasing adoption of AR/VR technologies.

            Current State of VR and AR

VR and AR technologies showcase dynamic growth, with a projected revenue of $38.6 billion in 2024 compared to $6.36 billion in 2020, according to Statista. Several key factors have contributed to the growth of the AR/ VR development market, including:

  • advancements in hardware and software. As processors become more powerful, they allow for more complex and lifelike experiences.
  • increased accessibility. 5G makes AR/VR apps remotely accessible via streaming to any device.
  • affordability of VR/AR technology. Devices for virtual experiences are getting cheaper, which makes them more available for mass purchasing.

In terms of technology adoption across industries, VR app development has progressed in the following sectors:

AR app development has dominated across:

With wide AR/VR adoption, simulations are becoming more advanced and complex, requiring robust and accessible tools for efficient development.

        AR and VR Development Platforms and Tools

The leading VR development tools are Unity and Unreal Engine, with massive asset libraries and robust feature sets, which allow for building simulations of any complexity.

For VR-focused web content,  you can employ WebXR with a standardized API. And to design some environments or 3D models without coding, you may use AWS’s Amazon Sumerian. The platform supports major VR headsets such as Oculus and HTC Vive.

For Augmented Reality, there are Vuforia, ARKit, and ARCore, which focus specifically on AR for iOS/Android.

For other tasks, you can employ:

  • Blender, Maya, and 3DS Max for 3D modeling,
  • MARS for AI/ML integration, and
  • Droidoki and Mixamo for animation.

With these robust tools, you can develop a wide variety of VR/AR content. However, while trying to create a content-rich simulation, don’t forget to ensure a user-friendly experience.

            Design Considerations for Immersive Experiences

For an engaging Virtual Reality experience, developers must carefully balance usability, immersion, and functionality. To make your VR solution immersive, you need three components:

  • Illusion of place. It’s crucial to create a convincing simulation setting, ensuring it appears realistic and aligns with simulation purposes.
  • Illusion of plausibility. The simulation should offer a high level of interactivity, allowing users to touch, move, and visually explore their surroundings.
  • Embodiment features. A high-quality simulation should convincingly portray the presence of a body, even if it’s only through partial representations, such as hands.

While you need to create a design thoughtfully to provide high-level immersion, it isn’t the only challenge in developing compelling AR and VR experiences.

            Overcoming Challenges in AR and VR Development

Here are four key technical challenges in AR/VR development and potential ways to overcome them.

Hardware limitations. The low processing power of chosen hardware can negatively impact graphics quality and limit experience length. Developers can mitigate this problem through art style choices, hardware abstraction layers for cross-platform apps, and optimizing resource use.

Interoperability. Content on different platforms can lack compatibility. So, it’s better to adopt cross-platform development tools and standards like OpenXR.

Transitions between virtual spaces. To maintain smooth, glitch-free rendering, developers should consider scene complexity and hardware capabilities, which returns us to the first challenge of this list. To overcome this, developers may adapt 3D assets to hardware and set up preloading assets for each scene in advance.

User comfort. Since users cannot see screens or use mice and keyboards as they’re used to, interfaces need to rely on movements and voice commands. This requires extensive usability testing to ensure interfaces are easy to navigate.

To overcome all these challenges smoothly, AR/VR development companies employ technological expertise and best development practices.

           Augmented and Virtual Reality Development Companies

AR/VR development companies provide a wide range of AR/VR software development services, delivering immersive and engaging experiences.

Outsourcing software providers have a deep understanding of the underlying frameworks, tools, and platforms required to build immersive experiences. Technical proficiency enables such companies to leverage the full potential of AR/VR, ensuring the development of feature-rich applications.

Smart AR/VR development companies keep up with evolving trends and advancements in the domain, offering their clients the latest development approaches and cutting-edge solutions.

            Future Trends in AR and VR Development

Today, AR and VR straddle boundaries between industries, with a forecasted market share of $58.1 billion by 2028.  Emerging trends include:

  • Introduction of AI in the AR/VR space. Computer vision, NLP, and generative models improve virtual environments and interactions with a high level of realism. For example, AI enhances object recognition and enables more natural conversations with virtual assistants.
  • Rise in AR Avatars. Virtual celebrities and avatars, such as Kizuna AI and Lil Miquela, are on the rise, appealing to consumers and becoming virtual influencers. Brands are starting to work with virtual avatars, too, to promote products.
  • Gearing up vehicles with AR. An AR heads-up display (HUD) on the windshield could overlay helpful information like speed, navigation, possible hazards, etc. AR in vehicles improves safety by keeping eyes on the road while accessing important driving aids.
  • Integrating WebAR. Web-based AR allows users to access AR experiences directly from web browsers without the need for additional applications. Users can enjoy AR content simply by visiting websites or clicking links.

These trends indicate a future where AR and VR technologies become more integrated and accessible, unlocking more possibilities for how we learn, work, and entertain.


Every day more industries are implementing AR and VR to enhance training, assembly, maintenance, and remote collaboration.

While affordable headsets make these technologies accessible to a wider range of users, 5G networks and cloud-based networking provide the possibility to use AR/VR in real-time across numerous industries.

As you can see, AR and VR are likely to play a larger role in our lives, both professionally and personally, in the future by changing our perceptions of the world around us.

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