Market Insight

Microsoft's HoloLens and Gaming

January 22, 2015  | Subscribers Only

Piers Harding-Rolls Piers Harding-Rolls Director – Research and Analysis Director, Games, IHS Markit

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HoloLens is the most graphically rich and immersive augmented reality solution shown publicly by any major technology company; Minecraft-based builder demo shows gaming potential of new platform

Having demoed the newly revealed HoloLens platform across a number of application scenarios, it is clear that this new immersive form of augmented reality could make a powerful and compelling gaming platform as well as an efficient collaborative tool for commercial deployments.

However, I do not believe that a consumer offer for HoloLens is likely to be launched in the very near term and considering the proprietary technology involved, we believe the price point when released will make this a niche consumer proposition in the early cycle.

Currently the major technology companies are split between deeply immersed virtual reality solutions and more open, less immersed, augmented reality solutions, which are generally less physically disorientating. Microsoft’s HoloLens solution appears to be flexible and powerful enough to flip between more subtle augmentation using specific apps such as Skype or playing online video and more immersed implementations for applications such as gaming. This flexibility suggests Microsoft’s new platform will be more broadly welcomed by consumers than existing closed VR headsets, although may not be as attractive to enthusiast gamers, who have shown strong interest in both the upcoming Oculus Rift platform and Sony’s Morpheus headset.

More generally Microsoft has invited other VR and AR companies to start building experiences and hardware based on this new holographic platform. This is the company's attempt to take a major role in establishing what many in the technology industry are betting will play an important role in the landscape of computing platforms in the medium to long term.

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