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Shut Up and Take My Money, HoloLens

Shut Up and Take My Money, HoloLens

I’m one of those nerd people you’ve probably heard about. We usually blend right into society these days, but every now and then an event comes around that gathers us en masse. This past week was one such occasion.

The Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) is my mecca. It is my pilgrimage to enlightenment. It’s where gaming giants come together and show off awesome shit to expect in the coming years. So what did I see? I saw the future … almost.

If you lived under a rock for the duration of the conference, let me be the first to introduce you to one of the coolest things in wearable tech I’ve seen in a long time: HoloLens from Microsoft. If you can’t be bothered to watch, it’s another huge step for augmented reality. Simply put, a player wearing the HoloLens can interact with and navigate a 3D environment using voice commands and hand gestures. This isn’t a full-face-covering, sense-depriving set of headgear. We’re talking about a semi-transparent screen over your eyes that integrates with your real-life environment.

They took it a step further by using it with the playable demo of a new Halo 5 multiplayer variant, Warzone, to create an exclusive E3 experience. This is where the “almost” from earlier comes in. The line to experience this thing was closed two minutes after the doors opened (despite my line cheating and sprinting). FOR THE ENTIRE DAY. Personal regret aside, here’s what happened inside the demo: Players strap on the HoloLens and are transported into the world of Halo 5. As you navigate the corridors of the installation, your HoloLens is projecting checkpoints for you to reach, letting you look out windows along the way and even serving your mission briefing complete with virtual objects and maps on a console in front of you and 5 others. All of this happens before you even touch a controller to play the game.

So much happened at E3. Mobile and VR feel like they’re starting to come together fluidly. The stories being told are beautiful and engaging. The freedom to play how, when, and where you want are quickly becoming essentials for every title and platform. But the one thing I couldn’t experience firsthand is what stole the show for me. Maybe that says something about my millennial FoMO I never knew I had. Whether or not you’re a fan of games, I bet you can imagine the applications of this kind of tech in the future. Is it perfect yet? No. But HOLY SHIT the future is looking cool.

Eric Hammond
Digital Strategist

consumer electronics / media and entertainment