Microsoft Demonstrates Minecraft On Hololens

This morning, during Microsoft’s E3 conference, the much-anticipated virtual version of Minecraft was demoed onstage by Lydia Winters of Mojang.

An assistant put on special glasses, stared at a table on the stage and followed Lydia as she moved her Minecraft character through virtual blocky space. We were shown, with a special camera, what the man was seeing: a 3D representation of her Minecraft buildings, being generated in real-time like a hologram, as if they were really on the table.

Lydia then demonstrated how Hololens Minecraft responds to voice commands and touch controls — you can reach for something and manipulate it, turning you into the Master of the Minecraft Universe. You can also use your hands to move the field, pan around and zoom, as you would with a tablet screen.

Perhaps most impressive is the promised ability to manipulate objects by simply LOOKING at them. Lydia tells the man to look at some packs of TNT and command lightning to strike. He does so, and the lightning makes the TNT explode!

Microsoft, of course, has a bad habit of overpromising and underdelivering when it comes to grand tech demos like this — anyone remember the “Milo” kid? But augmented reality has been done before, on machines that are now four to five years old, and when you combine that with something like Hololens, it shouldn’t be as hard to pull off and it DOES have the potential to revolutionize Minecraft. The biggest obstacle is whether Minecraft’s audience will go for those dorky 3D glasses.

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