It seems the future of gaming is far closer than we had realized, as evidenced at this year's Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) in L.A.
With two more days to go, the annual event has managed to far exceed expectations with announcements of the return/reboot of beloved franchises and games once thought lost (THE LAST GUARDIAN!!!), amongst many other Earth shattering reveals.
But there was one unveiling that blew the minds of all of the people in attendance during Microsoft's great keynote, and all of those battling fatigue to keep up with streams around the world. Who would've thought it would involve ol' familiar face Minecraft!
The Future Is... Soon
Earlier in the year Microsoft announced they were making major in-roads (again) into the gaming peripheral world, this time with their HoloLens headset - a wireless augmented reality (AR) headset that projects 3D holographic images into your world, ready for your frenzied interaction.
Here's the sizzle reel, because "seeing is believing":
Building Bridges to the Future
Now, combining a futuristic headset that allows you to interact with and manipulate holographic images with one of the most renowned and strangely addictive games ever created (which also happens to be owned by Microsoft) in Minecraft, and you literally get a world building experience like no other.
Using voice & hand gestures and the power of the HoloLens, you can literally start creating a world on any surface you so choose. Literally! On your knee whilst lounging on the toilet? Why not! On the bonnet of your car whilst heading to work? Heck ye-wait, no! Bad idea!
The legends over at Eurogamer put together this video showing exactly the sheer eye-wateringly awesome capabilities of HoloLens x Minecraft:
So to surmise, with HoloLens you can manipulate the game with your hands and voice, you can see inside buildings by literally peering through the walls and you can lift up the world to have a peek at what lies beneath. Incredible.
My Bank Details Are...
Hang on, lets not get too hasty. Remember everything you've seen in this video is in a relatively early dev phase, so it may run completely differently when release day comes around. But don't expect to see crazy changes to it, though. Unless, you know, they make some crazy changes.
Games I Want to Play with HoloLens
Now that this ridiculous piece of kit is in the world, the possibilities of gaming have fried my mind somewhat. "IMAGINE THIS GAME! AND THAT GAME" etc. But seriously, imagine these games on HoloLens:
1. Sid Meyer's Civilization V
Imagine reclining in your favorite armchair, bored of interacting with keyboards and controllers for the day, but you still fancy poking around in Civ V. Well in a perfect world you'd be able to slip on your HoloLens and peruse the seminal 4X, strategy game and join the race to Alpha Centauri.
2. Elite: Dangerous
Take to the stars as your coffee table or desk turns into your spacecraft's control and HUD, and traverse space looking for goods to trade and battles to undertake for pay, in this sprawling and jaw-droppingly huge space sim. Over 400 hundred billion star systems to search! That's just ridiculous.
3. Call of Duty: Advance Warfare/Battlefield/Nearly Any FPS with Drones and Satellites and Really Techy Cool Things
Got your friends online but don't fancy the joys and stresses of taking to the battlefield yourself? Why not oversee the carnage from your HoloLens drone display? Turn your living room into a sea of dust and bullets as you observe from high up with satellite and drone views, and give your friends the upper-hand with your beady eye in the sky.
Amiright? Huh? How ridiculous would these additions be?! There are countless other games that HoloLens would fit with perfectly, but only the future and our bank balances will tell if this will turn out to be a monumental step for entertainment, or another surface for dust to gather in basements like Kinect.