Microsoft just announced today that HoloLens Development Edition is now available to pre-order (with shipping starting next month), and the company also detailed in a blog post a set of free HoloLens apps and games that will come bundled with the device. The company hopes that developers will use these as a foundation to build even more immersive and innovative holographic experiences.
The first game that will be shipping with HoloLens is Fragments, and it’s a “mixed reality crime drama” where gamers will have to look for clues and solve crimes that take place in their own environment (we first got wind of Fragments late last year). This appears to be a very immersive game, as Microsoft Kudo Tsunoda shares that “the first time one of our Fragments characters comes into your home, sits down on your sofa, and strikes up a conversation with you it is an unforgettable experience”.
Next, Young Conker is a platform game that uses mixed reality to transform your real-world environment to a gameplay level, featuring Conker, the popular animated squirrel. “Even starting the game from a different position in a single room creates an entirely new gameplay dynamic”, promises Tsunoda.
Last, Roboraid (previously codenamed Project X-Ray) has already been previewed by Microsoft and it’s a mixed reality shooter where you have to defend your own home against an alien invasion. Like the previous games, it will use your real world as the environment, but the spatial sound will also be essential to the gameplay as Tsunoda explains that “When you hear walls crumbling behind you it’s impossible to not spin around and defend your turf”.
HoloLens will also come bundled with other holographic apps like HoloStudio, an app which has already been previewed during previous public demos. It’s a complex app that allows users to create 3D objects using gestures, voices and the HoloLens gaze feature.
HoloLens will also run an enhanced version of Skype that will enable communication and remote collaboration with other users (who don’t need to have an Hololens) using holograms.
Holotour is another app that will provide immersive “virtual tour” experience by reproducing panoramic 360-degree views of places like Rome and Machu Picchu. You will be able to walk around the locations and get close to objects while the spatial sound of the device will make you hear the sounds of the city around you.
Last, Microsoft will release a brand new app called Actiongram in the summer: it’s a storytelling app that will let developers use mixed reality capture (MRC) to let developers create mixed reality videos by blending holographic content into real world settings.
Microsoft is hoping all of these apps will inspire developers to imagine new use cases and experiences for its mixed-reality headset, as Tsunoda explained:
“At the forefront of holographic computing, it is clear that as a development platform we are just scratching the surface of what the world can do with holograms. Nothing we can create here at Microsoft is as powerful or creative as the imagination of the worldwide development community.”
We are definitely excited by all these apps and games, and we can’t wait to see how developers will use the device to unlock the potential of holograms. Please tell us in the comments if you believe Microsoft can get developers on board the HoloLens train!