When the HoloLens was first announced at Microsoft’s January 21st event it was quickly compared to virtual reality headsets. VR headsets are probably the closest comparison to the HoloLens that we have unless you want to delve into the worlds of scifi and superheroes but they aren’t really the same thing.
Microsoft CVP Kudo Tsunoda, who focuses on Hololens and other projects, expounded on HoloLens in an interview with Game Informer – “The thing that HoloLens does is allow you to blend your digital world with your real world.” That blending of worlds creates an entirely different set of uses for the HoloLens than those of VR headsets. The best term for what the HoloLens is, is ‘augmented reality.’
With augmented reality you can have someone ‘draw’ instructions of how to wire a light switch over your real world. You can play Minecraft on your living room couch. Maybe most differentiating is the fact that when you augment reality you aren’t immersing yourself into a separate world, you are laying another world on top of ours.
When comparing augmented reality to virtual reality Tsunoda said “None of that stuff is things you could do with VR… It’s nothing against VR; I think VR is great tech. But it’s the ‘blending of the worlds’ part about HoloLens that makes it unique. From a gameplay perspective, it’s being able to make your real world environment an integral part of the experience. That’s really different than what you would get from a VR experience.” It’s worth noting that while HoloLens is a large part of Microsoft’s future that they haven’t ruled out having a VR headset of their own.
While Minecraft is the only game that’s been shown running on the HoloLens, it’s almost guaranteed to gain a wide array of games in the future. A new frontier of gaming, and a lot more, is opening thanks to HoloLens.