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Epic Games’ Tim Sweeney thinks augmented reality will trump virtual reality

One of the big questions Microsoft has forced us to ask since it first showed off its Hololens CG trailer and eventually its live-action demonstration at the BUILD event, is: why have a real TV when your augmented reality one is so much better? In-fact, as far as Epic Games founder Tim Sweeney sees it, why have any screens if you can just conjure them from thin air using a functional AR device?

“If we had this AR display, the deep thing to realize is this: Once you have an augmented reality display, you don’t need any other form of display,” Sweeney said during the Chinajoy gaming trade show (via Venturebeat). “Your smart phone does not need a screen. You don’t need a tablet. You don’t need a TV. You just take the screen with you on your glasses wherever you go.”

He event went so far as to describe augmented reality as the biggest technological revolution of our lifetime, delcaring it will eclipse everything else, even the virtual reality developments that are happening at companies like Valve and Oculus right now. His reasoning is that VR will eventually be bundled into the AR platform, the difference being that one can only create virtual worlds, whereas the other can alter both the real and virtual.

However, Sweeney did say that we’d need Hololens-like hardware with a big field of view that’s as natural as possible before an augmented future can come to pass. As it stands, Microsoft’s hardware, while impressive, does struggle to render to a wide field of view, which can leave the experience feeling a little limited.

Regardless of whether AR or VR becomes the dominant platform, it does seem that before long the displays we spend so much time staring at are going to become a thing of the past. Within a couple of decades, even those wafer thin UHD displays are going to be the equivalent of a rotary phone.