Warped Realities: Understanding the Differences Between VR, AR, MR, and XR

With products like the Apple Vision Pro and the Meta Quest 3 recently being released, buzzwords, or buzz-acronyms like “VR”, and “AR” have been being thrown around now more than ever. It can get confusing when you begin to throw other acronyms such as MR and XR into the mix.

All of these terms are different types of technologies that are used to make hardware more immersive and blend physical and digital worlds. As usual, Web3sy is here to get rid of the confusion for you. First of all, here is a quick rundown:

  • VR – Virtual Reality
  • AR – Augmented Reality
  • MR – Mixed Reality
  • XR – Extended Reality

Alrighty, let’s go!

Virtual Reality (VR) immerses users in a completely digital environment, effectively blocking out the physical world. When wearing a VR headset such as the Meta Quest 3 or HTC Vive, users are provided with a 360-degree view of a computer-generated world, allowing them to experience a variety of settings from fantastical landscapes to realistic simulations.

For instance, putting on a VR headset to play a game or use an application might place you on an alien planet, or navigating historical settings. The headset tracks your head movements and other sensors, thus making you feel as though you are truly present in the virtual space.

Augmented Reality (AR), on the other hand, overlays digital content onto the real world, enhancing what you see, hear, and experience without completely replacing your physical environment. This technology typically utilises devices like smartphones, tablets, or AR glasses to superimpose digital information on your surroundings.

For example, using a smartphone app to view your living room through the camera might allow you to see how new furniture would look in your space. A playful application of AR is Pokémon GO, which is a popular game that uses your phone’s screen to show Pokémon characters appearing in the real world as you move around.

Mixed Reality (MR) combines elements of both VR and AR, creating an experience where digital and physical objects co-exist and interact in real-time. It goes a step further by enabling the coexistence and interaction of real and virtual objects.

MR typically requires more advanced hardware, such as Microsoft’s HoloLens, which allows users to see and interact with digital objects as if they were part of the physical world. Imagine using a HoloLens to place digital furniture in your living room and being able to walk around it as if it were real, or having virtual characters interact with physical objects in your environment.

Extended Reality (XR) serves as an umbrella term that encompasses VR, AR, and MR, referring to all real-and-virtual combined environments and human-machine interactions generated by computer technology and wearables.

XR can include any application that blends the digital and physical worlds, from VR gaming and AR navigation to MR industrial applications. It represents the broad spectrum of experiences that merge the real and virtual worlds in various ways, providing diverse opportunities across multiple fields such as entertainment, education, and industry.


Well, we hope that that has got you thinking about different application of these immerse technologies. Perhaps you have already used them? Regardless of where you are in your XR journey, give us a comment, like, or share so that we can continue to teach others!

Until next time!


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