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Tabletop Gaming: HoloLens Meets Minecraft

Microsoft wowed me with an impressive display of their HoloLens augmented virtual reality visor yesterday. Jury’s out on whether it was real magic or just an illusion, but the hardware’s integration with Minecraft looks like the stuff of sci-fi. Minecraft worlds appear on your tabletop with full gesture and voice commands allowing you to navigate and interact in realtime.

In the video below you’ll see how two people can play together – one using the HoloLens and the other playing ‘normally’ on a Microsoft Surface (not that anyone actually plays Minecraft on a Surface). It almost seems entirely designed to satisfy and/or develop anyone’s latent god complex, though there are also some practical benefits. HoloLens users can lift the game world up and scout for cave systems and rare materials, before mapping interesting co-ordinates for normal players to go explore.

A single word can trigger a lightning strike or center the view on a particular player, letting the HoloLens act like a Palantír. There was no demonstration of the create mode, which will be the real selling point, possibly because of the visible latency when it came to gesture control. Whether that will be improved before launch remains to be seen. Even so, it’s an impressive display. But what are the chances it’ll be priced affordably?

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Jem Alexander


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