With the majority of us having seen sci-fi at the cinema in some shape or form, the public is mostly aware of Virtual Reality as being, vaguely, the ‘future’. For years, decades, we’ve been told that TVs, computers and the like will pale in comparison to the world-replacing headsets that are so proudly being touted by the likes of Samsung, Sony and Oculus.
Yet, as we found out back in January, Microsoft has a different vision for the future, one that is decidedly more exciting. Instead of replacing the world around the user, information is merely overlaid on top of the existing environment. This is interesting for a number of reasons, the most important of which is that the uses of such a technology are not limited to entertainment. Make no mistake, VR indeed has a place in the future, but firmly in the living room. From the surgery room to the airplane cockpit, the HoloLens is going places.
That isn’t to say that the device itself doesn’t have a place in the hearts of sofa dwellers though, to this point, most development for the HoloLens has been focused almost primarily on its entertainment potential. Indeed, as the LinkedIn profiles of several Microsoft employees reveal, there are a number of exciting projects heading to the HoloLens throughout 2015 and beyond.
FIT, a games development studio, is working on one such project, ‘Holobuilder’. This was displayed back in January, the integration between Minecraft and HoloLens, allowing users to build with a completely new environment, providing an experience unlike anything else previously found on Minecraft. LXP, another development studio, has also found itself at the helm of a digital building project, which allows users to make their own creations using Windows Holographic. Other, secret, projects are being worked on by the likes of Good Science, which hasn’t developed much anything in a number of years. All of these, including the Mars Rover interaction project, are being overseen by Daniel McCulloch, who is the HoloLens Studio Manager.
This isn’t the end of it however, for several big players within the Microsoft ecosystem are also working on their own projects. The first of these is 343 Studios, the developers behind the last few Halo titles. What might emerge from their efforts is difficult to tell, but an educated guess could involve Cortana in some way, shape or form, given the focus that has been attributed to the virtual assistant in recent years. Perhaps a fully animated version, as represented in-game? A guide to lead the player through miles of enemy lines? At this point only three things are sure: they have time, talent and resources, as such expect the results to be at the very least interesting.
Turn 10, another star development studio in the Microsoft pack, also has been working on a project, which would nicely integrate with Forza Motorsport. In addition to this, Team Dakota is reportedly working on inclusion with Project Spark, and an effort from classic developer Rare could be expected.
In all, though the efforts behind HoloLens are now increasingly being made with the notion of real-world use in mind, the Xbox is destined to get very interesting in coming years, very interesting indeed.
What would be your perfect implementation of HoloLens? Let us know in the comments below.Further reading: HoloLens, Microsoft, Xbox, Xbox One