My friends, I have gotten up close with the Microsoft HoloLens, Microsoft’s nifty new holographic computer.
And if I came away with one thing, it’s this:
Microsoft’s purchase last year of Mojang, the video game studio that makes the wildly popular Minecraft, might just have been the best $US2.5 billion the company has ever spent.
During a staged demo at Microsoft Build this week, two Microsoft employees showed off how easy it is to take a building designed and built in Minecraft — in this case, a replica of Seattle’s Space Needle — and share it to the HoloLens as a hologram.
The guy using the HoloLens was able to take that Space Needle, scale it up huge, inspect it from every angle (including the Twelfth Man flag on the top), and then scale it back down and place a miniature holographic replica on his very real shelf.
Minecraft is more than a video game. Put aside all of the fighting monsters, collecting treasure, and crafting weapons, and it’s an incredibly powerful tool for building virtual objects that even kids love to use.
That means the HoloLens has a built-in audience of fans, nay, enthusiasts, who already know how to build and share stuff on the platform, while still being accessible to people who just want to make things. Couple it with Skype so people can talk to and work with each other on their virtual structures remotely, and it’s even cooler.
Minecraft is already HoloLens’ killer app.
Plus, Minecraft is a profitable-and-growing business on its own, too. Looks like a win-win from Microsoft’s standpoint.