Microsoft's HoloLens AR headset sounds like a potentially impressive piece of equipment, and a developer's kit will be rolling out sometime in the first quarter of this year (which we are currently in the midst of) for a whopping $3000. Don't expect a consumer version to follow anytime soon, though. Microsoft's Alex Kipman said at a recent TED Conference in Vancouver, reported by Recode, that the company is determined to avoid repeating the mistakes it made with Kinect.
Kinect is (or, perhaps, was) a motion control system originally designed for the Xbox 360. It got a big push out of the gate but for various reasons—crappy games foremost among them—fizzled quickly. Kinect for Windows didn't fare any better, and a highly-touted plan to make it an integral part of the Xbox One was ultimately abandoned as well. “It was not a pleasant experience,” Kipman said.
Microsoft is, therefore, taking a different approach with the HoloLens. So even though the hardware might be ready for prime time, there will need to be a substantial base of worthwhile software in place as well. “If a consumer bought it today, they would have 12 things to do with it,” Kipman said. “And they would say ‘Cool, I bought a $3,000 product that I can do 12 things with and now it is collecting dust.'”
“When I feel the world is ready, then we will allow normal people to buy it,” he said. “It could be as soon as we say ‘yes,’ and it could be as long as a ‘very long time.'”
Wait, $3,000? I suspect they're going to need to rethink that: It's almost four times the price of the Vive VR headset, which HTC announced over the weekend will sell for $800 at launch.