It was widely predicted that Microsoft would showcase the HoloLens 2, a new Windows Mixed Reality headset, at Mobile World Congress 2019.
The software giant did exactly that during a HoloLens 2 presentation at MWC 2019 where it demoed some of the new headset’s hand presence tech. Microsoft has also confirmed pricing and availability for the HL 2 on its website.
Microsoft released the original HoloLens Windows Mixed Reality headset in 2016. That is a headset which combines VR and AR to give you Windows Mixed Reality.
However, that headset has had relatively little impact as Oculus Rift and HTC Vive continue to dominate the virtual reality market.
Nevertheless, the HoloLens did at least reap one $480 million contract from the Department of Defense despite the protests of some within Microsoft.
Now the software giant has lifted the lid on the HoloLens 2, which is a successor to the original WMR headset.
The HoloLens 2 boasts greater immersion than the original headset thanks to its wider field of view. It is a more lightweight headset that incorporates carbon-fiber material.
The HL 2 also includes a new time-of-flight sensor so that it can track user hands without any controller.
That new sensor enables users to press virtual controls as shown in the launch trailer below.
One thing the first HoloLens 2 trailer makes relatively clear is that the WMR headset is primarily geared toward business users.
The trailer showcases the headset as a productivity tool for various industries. There are no glimpses of any gameplay footage, or anything else, that highlights it could also be a consumer product.
Thus, it is clear enough that the big M primarily sees Windows Mixed Reality as something for industries.
Microsoft Confirms Pricing and Availability for the HoloLens 2
The price tag revealed for the HoloLens 2 further highlights that the new WMR headset is something primarily for enterprise users.
Microsoft has confirmed a $3,500 RRP for the HL 2, which is far too high for a mainstream gaming headset such as Oculus Rift.
Thus, Microsoft is seemingly not interested in taking on the Oculus Rift in the consumer VR market anymore, which is probably why the big M removed Windows Mixed Reality from its affiliate program.
Yet, Epic Games’ Mr. Sweeney still made an appearance at HoloLens 2’s presentation. He did not announce any games for the HL 2. However, Mr. Sweeney confirmed that Epic supported Microsoft’s open platform strategy for the HL 2. He stated, “Epic will fully support Microsoft’s HoloLens strategy, now and for the long-term.”
Microsoft has also confirmed the first 10 countries it will release the HoloLens 2 in. The United States, U.K., Germany, Canada, France, Australia, Ireland, Japan, China, and New Zealand are the countries the software giant has included on its HoloLens 2 launch list, but that is only a starting list. However, Microsoft has not provided a specific release date for the HL 2.
So, those hoping for a new Windows Mixed Reality gaming platform are not really getting it with the HoloLens 2.
Microsoft seemingly does not have big gaming plans for its latest WMR headset. Still, the Department of Defense, at least, will probably love the HoloLens 2!
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