Written By Matthew Rondina
Recently, I had the opportunity to attend Microsoft Canada’s Windows Fan Event at their headquarters in Mississauga, Ontario. The absolute show stopper for me was the opportunity to go hands-on with Microsoft’s HoloLens, the company’s augmented reality (AR) viewer. The new technology shows incredible potential for the aspiring gamer with it’s “pick up and play” intuitive design that seamlessly beams a holographic gaming experience into your physical space. What does the future of Augmented Reality Gaming hold for the world of eSports? Read more to find out.
Computer In A Headset
The HoloLens is a wearable computer in the form of a headset and visor that when worn overlays holographic imagery within the space around you.
When you first take hold of the device it’s light weight design and ease of use are a welcome surprise. Once the device is fitted to your head, it immediately scans the room and holograms populate your viewing area. The interface appears in the form of Windows live tiles that display each app against the wall you are facing – as a point of reference if you are an Xbox One user the Holo interface looks similar.
Holograms At Your Finger Tips
Interacting with the holograms comes as second nature because simple hand gestures are all that are needed to navigate through experiences. What sets HoloLens apart from other virtual reality hardware is that it requires no hand held devices in order to use it, with a simple midair tap of my finger I was able to launch applications.
The use of such intuitive hand gestures for gaming and other applications really opens up the possibilities for novice users to jump right in and experience holograms with a very small learning curve.
Epic Robot Battles
The first gaming experience I had was mixed reality first-person shooter RoboRaid. The game pits you against a virtual robot invasion that comes blasting through walls and surfaces around you. Using the direction of the headset and a tap of your finger you are able to destroy enemies with laser beams shooting out of your fingers. The game also gets you moving in order to avoid the wave of robot attackers, you have to quickly lean left and right to avoid their fire.
The addition of spatial sound further draws you into the experience, as I could hear enemies coming from all directions even from behind. The multidirectional audio made me turn quite abruptly and the HoloLens was able to track along with my movements.
Future Gaming Prospects
Using a piece of technology of this nature I expected that it might be tethered to one area but I was able to test out the hardware in multiple settings from a small room, to
a large crowded area to a kitchen and in all spaces HoloLens was able to handle the change of scenery.
Being able to move around unimpeded really got me thinking as to how the HoloLens could impact the future of the gaming experience. It would be incredible to map out your entire home with the headset and do battle with foes in Call of Duty or Battlefield turning parts of your own living space into levels, or new worlds. Imagine using your own couch as cover in a firefight or your kitchen as a resupply point for health regeneration.
The future of holographic gaming looks extremely exciting and it will be interesting to see what innovative experiences developers are able to create with the HoloLens hardware.
About the Author: Matthew Rondina
Matthew has been involved in all things gaming since the 8-bit era. He is a veteran of the video game and tech industry who has been in love with teaching, technology and gaming for over 20 years. Follow Matthew’s gaming adventures on twitter
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Hololens, Xbox One