GDC 2019: Nreal AR Sunglasses Target Gamers With NetEase Partnership

by Jamie Feltham • March 19th, 2019

Having showcased its promising hardware at CES and MWC already, Nreal is targetting gamers at GDC 2019.

The company today announced a partnership with NetEase to showcase content on its AR sunglasses, Nreal Light. Nreal offers a pair of light sunglasses that connect to an external processing unit, be it either a dedicated device or a Snapdragon 855-powered smartphone. The glasses then produce virtual images in the real world, much like Magic Leap One or HoloLens 2. I was surprised by just how well the experience worked when I tried it at MWC. That said, I didn’t get to sample any truly interactive content.

That changes at GDC, where Nreal is showing NetEase AR’s YuME. It’s a puzzle game in which players explore a series of fantastical landscapes and objects. Puzzles rely on optical illusions, getting players to utilize six degrees of freedom (6DOF) tracking to solve them. Nreal Light supports a 3DOF motion controller, which we assume you use to interact with the game.

Nreal hopes to show developers at GDC that it has a viable platform for AR game development. Current AR gaming is largely confined to smartphone-based AR on Apple’s ARKit and Google’s ARCore. Microsoft’s HoloLens 2 is an enterprise-level device that isn’t concerned with entertainment. Magic Leap One does feature plenty of games, but at $2,295, it’s too expensive for many gamers to really consider.

We don’t yet know when Nreal Light will release, nor how much it will cost. But, weighing in at just 85g, we have high hopes that this could be an AR ‘headset’ that really catches on.

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