On my way to playing Halo 5 at E3, I had the opportunity to demo the new Hololens from Microsoft. It was somewhat of a peculiar experience. I really did not have an inkling of an idea of what to prepare for, but upon trying the Hololens, I found it to be quite the interesting and perplexing experience.
The experience began with the Microsoft technicians measuring the distance between my pupils. Apparently, this was in order to ensure “the best possible experience.” This was rather interesting, as I could not imagine any practical way that an average consumer could measure his or her “pupil distance” and re-adjust the Hololens each time a new user tries it out. Moreover, the headset was somewhat heavier and more uncomfortable than I had originally expected, which did not make the experience as easy and ergonomic as I would have liked.
As soon as I put my Hololens on, I had to calibrate the headset in order to ensure that everything was seen as it should be. Then, I stood up and saw something, a pointer on my screen similar to something I would see in Halo. I saw a destination, as well as a reticule showing me how far I was from the location. I walked towards the waypoint while the distance on screen decreased and decreased. Upon arriving at my destination, I saw a map of the Halo map we were about to play. This map appeared in a similar fashion as the Minecraft map during the Microsoft press conference. This was a hologram on a table, and I could look in, out, and around the map to get an idea of the space that I would be playing on. This was an interesting experience, but one that I could not garner any amazement for. To be blunt, I received about as much intel from this hologram as I would have found on a 2D map on the game-screen.
Another issue I had with the hologram experience itself, was that it lacked color. In fact, the demo reminded me of something out of The Magic Kingdom’s Haunted House ride, where holographic ghosts follow you on your adventure. Yes, the whole thing was mind blowing seven years ago, and I am more than happy to experience holograms in a home-setting. However, I will not buy into the practicality of the Hololens until I see a demo that would function in a colorful, home environment.
Overall, I found the Hololens to be quite the interesting experience. In fact, when compared to the Oculus or Morpheus, I found the Hololens to be far more realistic, as the visuals were actually integrated with real-life visuals. Nevertheless, I am still a skeptic of a Hololens future, and would like to see far more in the way of colorful, real-life demos before I fully embrace and buy-into the new Microsoft experience.