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Minecraft on Hololens – the best bit from the Xbox E3 event

Augmented reality headset + Minecraft = gaming brilliance, live on stage at E3

You can keep the Master Chief. Forza 6? No thanks. Just give us a Microsoft Hololens headset and a copy of Minecraft please. Microsoft’s incredible augmented reality demo showed what its prototype headset was capable of, live on stage at the company’s E3 Xbox One press conference, and it blew away practically everything else the various presenters had to say.

What started as a fairly innocuous demo – oh hey, Hololens can virtually project your games onto the wall, making it feel like you’re in a cinema – turned into something far more impressive when the presenter stood up and wandered over to a table. With a simple voice command, the game world rendered itself on a table top, rising out of the surface and appearing right in front of the player’s eyes. A specially adapted camera could move in and out of the frame, seeing the game from the player’s point of view, and it did a fantastic job of staying ‘fixed’ to the table. 

The new version of Minecraft was developed specifically for Hololens, and while you can play with a controller if you like, you can also use voice commands and hand gestures to interact with your worlds and creations virtually using the augmented reality headset. You can interact with, help (or hinder) and lock your camera on other players, watching the world wrap around them as they move through it. 

It was a deeply impressive demo, despite the somewhat basic Minecraft visuals, but it’s a clear indicator of what we can expect from Microsoft’s newest AR experiment when it goes on sale.

Microsoft and Mojang were decidedly coy about when to expect Hololens, or the HoloLens-adapted version of Minecraft, but did promise to reveal more details at Minecon in London this July. We’ll be sure to bring you all the details as we get them.

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