Should indie developers be working on AR or VR?

Should indie developers be working on AR or VR?

At Develop:Brighton 2016, Wolfgang Hamann, CEO of Koolhaus Games, gave a talk on whether indie developers should be working on AR or VR.

He started with a history of AR and VR, starting in 1957 with the Sensorama, a machine that simulated various senses for the user.

The term Virtual Reality, however, wasn't coined until 1987, when the technology started to become heavily represented in sci-fi such as Tron and Star Trek.

And it wasn't until 2012, when the Oculus Rift was first Kickstarted, that the technology took off again.

Cyclical fashion

"There's a buzz, and then it goes away," said Hamann, who suggested that the interest in VR is cyclical, running in ten year cycles at a time.

Meanwhile, in AR, the first major breakout hit arrived far more recently, in the form of Pokemon GO, which Hamann claims "came out of nowhere" to be a huge success.

So the market could now go either way, as while there's a growing market in VR that has been developing for several years, the explosion in AR could be something to jump on.

Choices, choices

When it comes down to which technology to develop for, Hamann was particularly down on VR, pointing to other expensive, "failed" technologies like 3DTVs and Google Glass.

AR, meanwhile, already has a huge install base of mobiles, doesn't have any of the nausea effects, and doesn't require additional expensive equipment to make it work.

Whichever you choose, Hamann suggested that you "don't ignore non-gaming applications", as there are plenty of apps that can be built for a variety of different businesses.


Ric is the Editor of, having started out as a Staff Writer on the site back in 2015. He received an honourable mention in both the MCV and Develop 30 Under 30 lists in 2016 and refuses to let anyone forget about it.