Microsoft surprised the technology community at the beginning of 2015 by revealing a brand new head-mounted display (HMD) in HoloLens. However, instead of a virtual reality (VR) device, HoloLens is branded as ‘mixed reality’ (MR), taking elements of VR and augmented reality (AR) to create something new. It’s early days for this new territory, then, and HoloLens has already been criticised for its 40 degree field of view (FOV) among other things, but Microsoft itself thinks the device will go through a very familiar pattern of evolution in the years to come.
Head of Xbox Phil Spencer suggested as much in a recent interview with Eurogamer. “I look at it two ways – how long since you and I heard about VR,” Spencer replied when asked about the progression of HoloLens. “I’m not talking back to the 90s – even if you think about Oculus and the time it’s been incubated, it’s been a while. What we know with HoloLens is we need to get it into the hands of developers, that’s where you’re going to get the best feedback early on. I don’t think we’re far away from that – I’m not announcing dates- but we’re not far from that.”
But, while kits will be shipping out to developers next year, HoloLens itself will likely see ‘the same evolution’ as other technology. “In terms of it being too good to be true – the technology will evolve,” Spencer continued. “It’s got multiple years of innovation from hardware and platform to make it even better. I’d say the same thing about VR – I was playing it two years ago and it had issues, I play it now and it has less of those issues. We’ll go through the same evolution that we go through with phones, that we went through with PCs and consoles – HoloLens will go through the same thresholds.”
Indeed, no release details on HoloLens have been revealed yet, suggesting that the technology is still a ways off. It certainly has videogame applications, however, as Microsoft showcased the kit being used with Minecraft at E3 2015 in June. VRFocus will continue to follow HoloLens closely, reporting back with the latest updates on its progress.