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Beantown is the place to be next week for a new exploration of the promise and potential of the VR and AR markets.

Virtual and augmented reality burst onto the digital media radar in 2014 — fueled by the breathtaking $2 billion acquisition of startup Oculus VR by Facebook; the introduction of affordable, smartphone based Google Cardboard VR, and the rapid emergence of numerous other players from new startups to video game heavyweights. The technology was embraced with excitement over its great potential.

“Today, however, as with many new technologies, some pundits suggest VR and AR are mostly hype. Some question whether a true market for the technology even exists,” say the organizers of a forthcoming conference. “How are entrepreneurs assessing this space? How are startups and established players alike leveraging demand and overcoming obstacles in order to capitalize on current and future opportunities? What business models are likely to take hold?”

On May 3 the MIT Enterprise Forum of Cambridge (MITEF) Innovation Series, along with the Boston VR Meetup and the Boston AR Meetup, will host a deep dive into the reality of augmented, virtual and mixed reality.

Set for 5:30 to 8:00 p.m. at MIT’s Bartos Theater, the evening will feature insights from early stage entrepreneurs to established large market cap players creating VR applications, hardware and development support systems as well as the experts who finance and write about this new digital medium.

“Driving innovation in gaming, therapies, training and more, augmented and virtual reality have the potential to change how we see the world,” said Katja Wald, executive director of MITEF Cambridge. “In fact, it can transport us to new places we may never see otherwise. The use of AR/VR goes well beyond entertainment and many of the leaders driving this revolution are right here in the Boston area. We’re excited to bring many of the most influential people in this community together to discuss where the market is today, where it’s going and how we’re likely to get there.”

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