What we thought of Microsoft’s HoloLens demo at E3

One of the most impressive demonstrations at E3 took place during Xbox’s press conference, and centred
on its HoloLens augmented reality tech.

Whereas VR takes players deeper into the games, HoloLens takes games out from the TV and places it in the living room. The AR headset made its surprise appearance on stage alongside a Minecraft demo, which featured an Xbox representative taking an in-game building and placing it on a table, enabling him to explore it in a ‘real’ environment.

Microsoft had a simplified HoloLens demo on the E3 show floor, this time based around Halo. And we gave it a try.

We put on our rather flashy HoloLens headset, and then followed a beacon that appeared in front of our eyes. It led us to a war room, with a table that demonstrated a holographic briefing on what to expect on the Halo battlefield. That was it.

During the briefing, we could move around the holographic image and view it from different angles. But, the field of vision was limited, and the illusion can slip from view simply by moving your head a small amount. It’s a pity because when standing still in front of the hologram, it looked decidedly real.

Of course, HoloLens is not yet a consumer proposition. There’s no confirmed release as of yet, and like with the early VR prototypes, there will be plenty of iteration to take place between now and when it does (or if it does) release. Hopefully Microsoft can significantly improve the view, because HoloLens has unique potential.

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