Minecraft coming to Microsoft's HoloLens AR headset

HoloLens Minecraft 2

During Microsoft's press conference on Monday, the company trotted out a special camera equipped with its HoloLens hardware to show off a new version of Minecraft running in augmented reality. A pair of demonstrators showed the game running with one player wearing a wireless HoloLens headset, issuing commands with voice and moving the holographic game world around with hand gestures. Another player interacted with the same game by playing on a Microsoft Surface tablet.

In HoloLens, Minecraft looks just like holographic animated Lego. The game world can be rendered on a specific surface (in this case, a table) and moved around on that surface. At one point, the player grabbed the whole world and lifted to reveal the caverns beneath the surface.

It's worth pointing out that HoloLens' projections look more impressive through Microsoft's special camera rig than they do through the headset. As I noted when I first tried on HoloLens, the augmented field of view is fairly small, consisting of only a square in the center of your vision. Still, the limited Minecraft experience I had back in January, which Microsoft was calling HoloBuilder at the time, was genuinely striking. It was a great demonstration of augmented reality, allowing me to blow a virtual hole in a real physical wall and see a Minecraft cavern beyond, or to stare through a real physical coffee table onto the floor below.

Here's a video capturing Microsoft's demonstration of HoloLens Minecraft on stage at E3.

Microsoft promises more on HoloLens at Minecon 2015 in London, which begins on July 4.