Microsoft showed off its vision for VR headset gaming across it’s platforms at the E3 Microsoft keynote in Los Angeles. However, the highlight (apart from Xbox announcements) of that presentation was Microsoft’s demonstrations of the augmented reality headset HoloLens via the insanely popular MineCraft universe.
Minecraft developer Mojang AB did a presentation during Microsoft’s Electronic Entertainment Expo keynote, in which the map of a Minecraft world was placed on a table, and the user wearing HoloLens could interact with the map, items, and characters displayed in front of them.The demo was done in coordination with a second player who was controlling his own Minecraft character via a Microsoft Surface.
Further details on HoloLens, such as release date or pricing, were not revealed. The company simply said that HoloLens will support a fully-featured version of Minecraft that will allow players to explore the game world in full 3D. For example, users can tell the device to zoom in or out, even being able to zoom far enough to look inside rooms. Furthermore, users can raise the world entirely to see what would otherwise be hidden underground.
In another example, the company showed how users could tell the game to launch a lightning strike, simply by saying the words “lightning strike.”
Microsoft’s augmented reality glasses create the illusion that virtual worlds are actually mixed with the real world in front of the user.
HoloLens, announced back in January, generated a significant amount of buzz for it’s concept hardware as well as software. The device contains a full computer, including what Microsoft says is a “high-end” CPU and GPU, along with an in-house “holographic processing unit.”
Microsoft seems to be getting pretty serious about its VR initiatives, as is evident by it’s partnership with Oculus and software behemoth Valve. Both their products might support Windows 10. Microsoft is betting big on the future of virtual reality, much like counterparts Sony and Apple, who have shown genuine interest in the virtual reality space via patents and acquisitions.
The demo was stunning no doubt, and gave us a glimpse of what the future of gaming might be like. Microsoft, armed with Hololens and Xbox One, has placed some serious weight on gaming through augmented reality.
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