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HoloLens: The industry reacts

Crytek, nDreams and more judge Microsoft's latest innovation

HoloLens is here like a late and unexpected Christmas present from your Uncle Phil and the world is oooing and aaahing over the possibilities. There's a good chance the tech blogs won't write about anything else until March, but what do people in the games industry think of the new technology? We checked in with some influential industry heads, and stole some reactions from Twitter.

“We're always excited to see new technology being unveiled, and it was great to have a closer look at Microsoft's vision for holographic computing," said Crytek CEO and president Cevat Yerli.

"I was impressed with their showcase for HoloLens, and we're looking forward to experiencing it for ourselves and exploring how the power and versatility of CRYENGINE can dovetail with this fresh innovation."

Alexander Bergendahl, CEO of Poppermost, a Swedish developer working on an Oculus-enabled skiing game, was more realistic about the technical challenges posed by such an innovative piece of kit.

"From what I've seen so far, I think HoloLens adds even more levels of complexity to building games than VR already does. With VR you are at least creating a game in a medium that we are already comfortable with - the screen.

"HoloLens adds even more levels of complexity to building games than VR already does"

Alexander Bergendahl, CEO of Poppermost

"With HoloLens you have to consider that each user has different surroundings which will definitely affect how things are displayed in the augmented reality. Not having this control can limit what the designer can imagine and possibly hinder or fragment an experience for different players. That being said - today's game developers are amazing at working within new constraints and I'm sure we'll see some excellent games being created in no time - many that were previously not possible."

Some developers on social media were quick to notice just what Microsoft wasn't showing off in this first unveiling...

Piers Harding-Rolls, director and head of games at IHS Technology gave us the analyst's take:

"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.

"Microsoft's new platform will be more broadly welcomed by consumers than existing closed VR headsets"

"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."

He added that the consumer version of the product could be some way off and its price point was likely to make it a niche product when it did arrive.

One man for whole new innovations hold no fear is Patrick O'Luanaigh, CEO of nDreams. The company made its mark on Sony's virtual world Home, even launching an ARG within the game, and is now busy at work on games for the Oculus Rift.

He praised the wireless nature of the device for the freedom it gave users and said the company is already working on concepts that he hopes can be applied to the HoloLens in the future.

"Imagine a 3D soldier popping out from the cover of your sofa"

Patrick O'Luanaigh, CEO of nDreams

"I think it's a hugely exciting piece of hardware, not least because it appears not far off being consumer ready. I imagine full VR games and experiences will work fine on it, but it will come into its own with software that combines reality and computer generated worlds in unique ways.

"The depth camera allows it to map the environment, and software will be able to use that 3D spatial information to display objects in front and behind real-world things, such as a chair or a table - imagine a 3D soldier popping out from the cover of your sofa," he says.

"I think the HoloLens is another great example of why headset technology is such an exciting area. We're platform agnostic, and keen to be there at launch with all the major headsets - HoloLens definitely falls into that category for me."

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Rachel Weber avatar
Rachel Weber: Rachel Weber has been with GamesIndustry since 2011 and specialises in news-writing and investigative journalism. She has more than five years of consumer experience, having previously worked for Future Publishing in the UK.
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