Microsoft's HoloLens Brings 'Minecraft' into Augmented Reality, and It's Amazing

During its E3 keynote this week, Microsoft performed a live demonstration of Minecraft, and the promise is dizzying.

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Jun 15 2015, 7:34pm

It was a moment you could trace back months in the making, but for those still inspired by the future to come, it's something that's been in the works for decades. During a HoloLens promotion earlier this year, Microsoft previewed how video games could work with its augmented reality gizmo—specifically Minecraft, which they happened to purchase for a cool $2.5 billion last year. During its E3 keynote this week, Microsoft performed a live demonstration of Minecraft, and the promise is dizzying.

The demo begins simply enough, with two reps on stage playing Minecraft together, one on a tablet, the other using the HoloLens, which can turn any surface into a screen from the user's perspective. "It's awesome to play from a controller, but can we show them something new, Saxs?" asked Lydia Winters, Minecraft's brand director.

Saxs Persson, from Microsoft, then stands up, double guns the wall with his hands and then points at a small table next to him. He tells the HoloLens to "create world," which is cheesy, but then some real-deal magic begins. In Saxs's view, the signature solid-colour cubes of Minecraft begin to materialize on the surface of the table. A small kingdom rises from where there was previously nothing. Saxs manipulates the game with his hands and voice, and as a second HoloLens wearer we're shown you can even poke your head into the world with your face and see your creations like a cheeky ghost.

It's a bit like Microsoft combined AR that we've previously seen with iPhones and the Nintendo DSi, with the wearable tech we gladly surrendered with the Google Glass. The end result? The complex, creative and custom ant farms of Minecraft are playable in a way unlike any before. Saxs then zaps a cute little pig like Lucifer does in The Adventures of Mark Twain. Weird! Neat! Creepy! Weird, neat and creepy! See more for yourself in the full demonstration.