XREAL glasses make AR gaming more approachable than ever

XREAL sign at CES 2024.
XREAL sign at CES 2024. (Image credit: Rebecca Spear / Windows Central)

What you need to know

  • The Game Developers Conference (GDC) is going on now from Mar. 18 - Mar. 22 in San Francisco, California.
  • At the event, XREAL is hosting AR game demos with its various spatial computing glasses. 
  • XREAL also introduced a new accessory specifically designed to add more convenience to the XREAL glasses experience.

This week at Game Developers Conference (GDC), XREAL is hosting AR game demos on its various AR glasses. From these demos, people get to see for themselves that the future of augmented reality (AR) gaming (and even virtual reality (VR) gaming) is already here — and it doesn't have to be as expensive, ridiculous-looking, or as uncomfortable as what's offered by Apple Vision Pro.

Additionally, XREAL's newly revealed XREAL Hub accessory makes the company's glasses even more convenient to use. Basically, this new peripheral allows you to charge up your source device (phone, laptop, desktop, gaming handheld, etc.) while still keeping XREAL connected to it. That's especially helpful for devices that only have one USB-C output port.

XREAL Hub | Coming soon at XREAL

XREAL Hub | Coming soon at XREAL

XREAL glasses require a wired connection to your source device, so this useful accessory makes it possible to maintain that connection while also allowing the source device to charge back up. 

Why XREAL matters in the gaming space

XREAL Air 2 Pro features micro OLED displays that overlay digital imagery over the world around you.  (Image credit: XREAL)

There's been a much bigger focus on the world of spatial computing over the last few months thanks to the release of the extremely expensive $3,499 Apple Vision Pro and various companies' AR/VR glasses. Currently, XREAL is the leader in this space (with over 350,000 glasses sold) — its glasses are far more affordable ranging between $379 and $699. 

More Spatial Computing

There's plenty of competition out there, but XREAL stands above the rest as a company that not only designs but also manufactures its own glasses. With their classy style, excellent performance, and far more affordable price point, it's no wonder XREAL glasses have been so popular lately as both work and entertainment devices. I was able to check out XREAL at CES 2024 and can personally attest to their quality and future vision (pun intended). 

For those who don't know, XREAL glasses feature micro OLED screens behind the glasses lenses. This allows a display to layer over the world around you and makes for an excellent AR experience (and VR experience if you're wearing the flagship XREAL Air 2 Ultra). All you have to do is plug the XREAL glasses' USB-C cable into a compatible device with USB-C output (such as a laptop, desktop, phone, or gaming handheld) and then you can view the display from that source device privately on your glasses as you move about.

Sensors on these XREAL glasses understand the space you're in and layer digital elements on top of what you can see. These sensors also register hand movements and gestures so you can navigate through programs without needing a controller or glove like Meta Quest 3 and PlayStation VR2 do. As you can imagine, this all works together to make a far less clunky (and much lighter) gaming experience right from your phone or other device. In many ways, XREAL makes AR and VR gaming far more approachable and mainstream than ever before. 

XREAL game demos show off AR capabilities

Attendees can experience the GDC XREAL demos at the Alibaba Cloud and DeepMirror booths as well as at the GDC Post Awards Expo Party at The Midway on Wednesday evening (Mar. 20). Here are the demoed games.

Landing Party is an outdoor RPG with fanciful creatures to discover. (Image credit: Monsarrat)

Landing Party: Los Angeles game company Monsarrat's outdoor RPG is a walking game that "lay[s] out a 2D roleplaying game landscape across your backyard or any space where you want to play." In other words, it takes into account your surroundings and creates a playing experience that meets your space. As Monsarrat CEO, Johnny Monsarrat, says, “We make outdoor roleplaying games in AR, with deep storytelling and player interaction, the next big leap past Pokémon Go’s." 

Playing this game with XREAL glasses allows you to make use of the specific room around you. For example, placing a creature beside you or allowing you to walk into a digital space station without having to worry about running into the nearby real-world wall. You can learn more at mosarrat.com.

Table Trenches is a strategic game that turns any table into a battlefield.  (Image credit: DB Creations)

Table Trenches: For those with more tactical gaming preferences, this AR game from Bellevue, Washington's DB Creations "transforms any table into a battleground." The demo specifically makes use of the XREAL Air 2 Ultra's 3D environment sensors to take in real-world environments and layer digital elements on top of them. 

For those interested, Table Trenches is available at both the App Store and Google Play. If you have XREAL glasses, then go to XREAL.com to get the right version for you. 

You can solve interactive AR puzzles while playing appAARatus on XREAL glasses. (Image credit: forwARdgame)

appAARatus: This puzzle completion game from Berlin, Germany's forwARdgame takes advantage of XREAL Air 2's hand tracking and gesture recognition software. Specifically, it allows you to interact with digital devices and items in a real-world space while getting around various challenges.

Head to XREAL.com to download the game to play with XREAL glasses or simply to learn more about it. 

Learn more about various scientific areas while interacting with the Halo AR Museum.  (Image credit: Halo AR)

Halo AR Museum: While more of an educational experience than it is a game, this 3D holographic virtual museum allows users to learn about the world from the comfort of home. It was developed by a team of Stanford teachers who were backed by the National Science Foundation and the U.S. Department of Education. While wearing XREAL Air 2 Ultra, you can view various objects in VR, such as a swirling solar system that rotates about you. You can learn more about this developer at the Halo AR website

GDC is currently underway, running from Mar. 18 through Mar. 22 in San Francisco, California. We'll be reporting on the event as time goes on, so check back here at Windows Central for the latest GDC news.

XREAL Air 2 Ultra | $699.00 at XREAL

XREAL Air 2 Ultra | $699.00 at XREAL

The Ultra version of the Air 2 offers both AR and VR capabilities. You can easily view the world around you while looking at a micro OLED displays or you can press a button to black out the world so you can purely focus on the screens. 

XREAL Air 2 Pro | $449 at Amazon

XREAL Air 2 Pro | $449 at Amazon

Simply plug these glasses into your phone, laptop, computer, or gaming handheld and you'll be able to view the device's display behind the glasses lenses. They're very comfortable and are a far more affordable alternative to Apple Vision Pro. 

Rebecca Spear
Editor and Reviewer

Self-professed gaming geek, Rebecca Spear, is one of Windows Central's editors and reviewers with a focus on gaming handhelds, PC gaming, and laptops. When she isn't checking out the latest games on Xbox Game Pass, PC, ROG Ally, or Steam Deck; she can be found digital drawing with a Wacom tablet. She's written thousands of articles with everything from editorials, reviews, previews, features, previews, and hardware reviews over the last few years. If you need information about anything gaming-related, her articles can help you out. She also loves testing game accessories and any new tech on the market. You can follow her @rrspear on X (formerly Twitter).