Be cautious about trusting Microsoft's on-stage HoloLens demos. While the company has released videos that capture the augmented reality experience reasonably well, its events invariably show off whole rooms full of holograms — which is actually one of the the headset's weaker areas. So it's better to think of Project X-Ray, which Microsoft publicly unveiled today, as a vision of what augmented reality could look like. Robo-scorpions! They will burst from your walls! And you have to shoot them! With a wearable holographic vortex gun!
I played a version of Project X-Ray at E3 earlier this year, and although I have serious doubts about HoloLens' field of view, I love the idea behind the game. I'm sure I'd eventually get tired of shooting things on my own boring walls, and I wouldn't buy an entire headset to play even an expanded version. But it would be an excellent complement to the rest of the catalog, a game that's both casual and intense. I mean, imagine killing time with this in the doctor's office:
It's frustrating to have to set expectations for HoloLens over and over, because the motion tracking, spatial mapping, and image quality is impressive — it just doesn't look nearly as effortlessly futuristic as it does here. Hopefully we'll get a more realistic view when more developers start getting their own sets early next year. But for now, feel free to just sit back, enjoy the robo-scorpions, and imagine how goofy that GIF is going to look in 10 years.