Virtual reality, augmented-reality, holograms – whatever you want to call it, it’s getting ready for a big year. Microsoft showed off their vision for it yesterday with HoloLens – a headset that allows you to see holograms around you.

Microsoft has been notorious for being late to the party before (MP3 players, tablets), but they are not letting that happen this time.

Like Kinect, Microsoft really wants you to use your voice and hands to interact with computer programs. The Kinect was initially successful, but failed to produce a killer-app that would turn it into a must-have product. Microsoft tried to brute force adoption with the Xbox One, but would ultimately take the Kinect out in order to better compete with the PS4.

HoloLens is different though. It’s focus won’t be just games. It’s a lot like Oculus Rift in this regard. Facebook didn’t buy Oculus just for what their VR can do in games. Sure, that was part of the reason – but they want to expand on what it can do. Take ‘Experience British Columbia’ for example. That could be huge for people who can’t necessarily visit a place, or who want to get a feel for what it’s like before dropping a ton of money on a vacation.

Microsoft highlighted tons of different uses for HoloLens in the video below.

The possibilities for Oculus Rift, HoloLens and others are endless. It’s up to companies to create the must-have experiences.

Microsoft’s vision shows a lot of promise. I just wonder how affordable this thing is going to be. Minecraft does look awesome, though.

With all the companies getting into this new arena, there is one notable absence. Apple. Usually, they are leading the charge – but their eyes are set on watches right now. Will this come back to haunt the iPhone maker? Maybe. Wearable tech such as watches are probably the safer play, but VR (AR, holograms) could be that ‘next big thing.’

What do you think of HoloLens? Could you see yourself strapping the headset on to watch Netflix on your wall, or play Minecraft? What about Skyping friends and family or using it for work? The biggest obstacle for me, and probably many of you – is price. And, that must-have experience. Microsoft, Oculus and others have to convince us this is something we can’t live without. And, that’s going to be their hardest sell.

When I’m not playing Rocket League (best game ever), you can find me writing about all things games, space and more. You can reach me at alex@newsledge.com

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