When Microsoft introduced HoloLens four years ago, they did so alongside an AR demo of Minecraft, a demo which sparked the imaginations of gamers as they tried to picture how Augmented Reality and Mixed Reality might impact the world of gaming in the years to come. For the most part, the MR glasses were meant to be for healthcare professionals, industry, and even educational use, but of course, they could also mean new forms of entertainment.
Now the very same thing is happening with the lighter, more immersive HoloLens 2 that Microsoft introduced on the eve of Mobile World Congress 2019. Charlie Han told us during our interview, it's being demoed in fields such as the "manufacturing industrial space or architectural engineering design", and while that's all well and good, when we were in Barcelona we simply had to ask the HoloLens project manager what kind of role the new device could play in gaming.
"I'm really excited to see what people end up doing with the product," Han admits. "But it's very clear that from our customer and market signal perspective we're really focused on the first-line and task workers. Look, people are going to dream with this thing, and that's really the most exciting part of it, people are going to tell us what they want to go and do, and I think the future for mixed reality and these type of devices is very promising."
HoloLens 2 provides better comfort and ergonomics, along with greater immersion, partly due to Microsoft's engineers "growing the field of view [...] while still shrinking the size" as Han explains, not to mention the better resolution and the more intuitive user interaction available in this second iteration of the tech. This once again makes us think about gaming, but as the project manager explains when referring to the various demos available at MWC19, "a lot of these experiences are actually really generated from what our customers have asked us for".
With that in mind, the Gamereactor team will get their hands on a couple of those HoloLens 2 demos, to bring you first-hand impressions along with a full interview with Charlie Han.