Niantic has revealed a Pokemon Go Hololens proof of concept at Microsoft Ignite, but don't get too excited at this peek into a possible future — it's not yet an actual game.
Hololens is Microsoft's flagship head-mounted display that allows you to see 3D computer graphics overlaid in the real world through the glasses. It's largely been an enterprise project, but it does have a lot of potential for gaming — and that was succinctly demonstrated with a cool proof-of-concept from Niantic featuring its popular AR game Pokemon Go.
The Pokemon Go Hololens Concept Paints a Bright Future
The Pokemon Go Hololens proof-of-concept shows us what could very well be the next evolution of the popular augmented-reality game.
As you may know, the mobile version requires you to travel around the real world to locate Pokemon and points-of-interest such as Poke Stops and Pokemon Gyms. You can see these creatures and locations on your phone screen through augmented reality, but it's not quite the same as these creatures and places actually being there.
Hololens steps things up a notch on account of it being a head-mounted display. A Pokemon would actually be on the ground right in front of you — and best of all, it would be a shared experience. This particular demo was meant to highlight the possibilities of Microsoft Mesh, a new product that allows people to collaborate in mixed reality — even if they're not actually in the same location.
The technology to do all of this stuff exists right now! Unfortunately, getting your hands on the hardware (nevermind the software) to actually enjoy something like this is likely many years away.
Next-Gen AR is a Long Way Away for the Average Gamer
The Pokemon Go Hololens demo seems pretty cool, but prepare to be disappointed: it's not an actual game. This was simply a demonstration of what's possible with Microsoft Mesh and Hololens 2 working in tandem.
Sadly, that means that you can't actually play this particular augmented-reality version of Pokemon Go. If it were a real thing, however, you'd still have a pretty serious barrier in your way: the Hololens 2 currently retails for $3,500. That's enough money to buy a brand-new gaming PC and a top-of-the-line VR setup such as the Valve Index.
VR has certainly been getting much cheaper — the standalone Oculus Quest 2, for example, launched its pre-orders late last year for a much more reasonable $299. We may one day get to enjoy a cool AR experience like Niantic's demo, but that day is likely many years away.
Would you want to play an AR game as shown in Niantic's demonstration? What do you think is holding back widespread usage of augmented-reality technology like the Hololens 2? Let us know in the comments below!