Ex-HoloLens Dev: Device Can ‘crossover’ with Gaming, May Need Price Cut First

Ever since Microsoft’s HoloLens mixed reality (MR) helmet was revealed at the start of 2015, fans have wondered how the device might support the company’s Xbox One console. A glimpse of that potential was seen at E3 in June when Microsoft revealed a new version of Minecraft that supported the device. But it’s still not entirely clear how the company will integrate the kit with its latest console. According to one ex-HoloLens developer, other possible applications may well surface once the device has been refined.

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Studio Wildcard Co-Founder and Co-Creative Director Jesse Rapczak suggested as much to VRFocus in an interview that will be published in full later this week. Prior to joining the developer, which is now working on the virtual reality (VR) compatible ARK: Survival Evolved, Rapczak spent 2 and a half years as a Technical Art Director on HoloLens. “I think there is area for crossover on HoloLens for gaming,” he explained, suggesting that it would first be aimed at corporations.

“NASA’s really using it for the Rover, we got a lot of people when I was at Microsoft asking for different business-to-business applications, things for customers. So there’s such a huge market there and opportunity for mixed reality in that field and that seems to be the strength of the initial release of the HoloLens.”

But while the device might already be ideal for companies, Rapczak suggests HoloLens might need a price cut and some other improvements before it turns its attention to videogames. “I think once the price has come down for components and they’re able to expand the field of view and do a lot of that stuff, I think we might see a lot more gaming applications in addition to the initial things they put in there which are standalone-type game experiences and things like that. But one of the main things about HoloLens that separates it from everything else is that it’s a self-contained computer and so you can go anywhere with it, it’s untethered, it’s like having a device on you all the time, you don’t have to plug it into anything.

“And so I think there is a lot more gaming applications for that. Maybe in conjunction with PCs or consoles, second screen type stuff will maybe make sense when you’re wearing a headset. Second screen is always weird on a table where it’s like you have to hold it and take your hands off the game but with MR you could have stuff floating all around your monitor and like quickly check stuff and then still be playing your game. So there could be a lot of fun stuff happening there,” Rapczak concluded.

A release date and price for HoloLens are yet to be revealed. VRFocus will continue to follow the kit closely, reporting back with the latest on it.