Microsoft's HoloLens Reaches Deal With One of the Biggest Game Engines

Microsoft reveals partnership with HearthStone game engine Unity for a free HoloLens toolset.

156 Comments

During Microsoft's Build conference today in San Francisco, the company officially announced a partnership with Unity Technologies--maker of the Unity game engine--related to the exciting-looking HoloLens technology. The Unity game engine is one of the biggest in the business, powering popular games like HearthStone: Heroes of Warcraft and Cities: Skylines, among many others.

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As part of the deal, which Unity called an expansion of the two companies' "strategic collaboration," Microsoft and Unity are working together to offer an "optimal authoring solution" for HoloLens. This includes customized tools (anchoring holographic objects to specific places in the real world was one example) and other optimizations that Unity developers can use to create all manner of games and apps.

These new Unity tools for HoloLens will be available as part of the Unity Pro and Unity Personal packages for free, the company said.

"Expanding our relationship with Unity Technologies was a natural next step in bringing content to Microsoft HoloLens," Microsoft Xbox boss Yusuf Mehdi said in a statement. “We are very excited to unveil this partnership and look forward to the possibilities it will open for developers creating experiences for Microsoft HoloLens."

HoloLens was announced in January during a marquee Microsoft event. Outside of a Minecraft tech demo, though, Microsoft hasn't announced any games for HoloLens. However, this is an area the company is definitely looking at. No third-party games for HoloLens have been announced yet either.

For a closer look at HoloLens, check out GameSpot's image gallery.

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Avatar image for Vodoo
Vodoo

Hololens seems like it has more real world use than straight up VR. But it kinda seems almost like Kinect in a set of glasses. We really don't know enough about it yet to pass any judgement, but at this point in time, Augmented Reality seems like a necessary stepping stone to Virtual Reality first.

I still think Microsoft would be better off making that illuma-room thing, where it extends the gaming environment outside of the tv. They said they couldn't make it cheap enough, but I bet there's a huge market that would pay $300-$400 for that thing. I definitely would! Because so far, out of every gaming peripheral I've seen or tried, that device raises the immersion level way past everything else.

Immersion is the holy grail of gaming. The more you get sucked into that alternate universe, the more you get into the game. The illuma-room actually brings the gaming world around you, in YOUR own environment. Best accessory to date, imo, and they give us Kinect instead. What a waste.

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l3U12TGMM312x

From what i read will cost significantly more than a 400 dollar console.

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ProfChrisK

It'll be interesting to see if the W10/Xone cross-compatibility standard holds up when this thing hits the retail market. I am excited for the possibilities this opens up..

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vadagar1

making iron man suit ... that much closer

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Pewbert

The best game that uses Unity you guys could come up with was the 2D game Hearthstone???

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neowarrior793

dont get me wrong AR is cool but its not game oriented, yes it would be nice to turn a wall into a TV, create 3d models in thin air and be able to use social media on the fly. These things I fully support but its really nothing more then a gloried piece of equipment I can use now. watching TV that can be done on your phone, same as checking media (who doesn't get messages sent to there phone or updates) even 3d modeling can be done on a tablet (i use solid works on my nexus). its not like you are planted to a PC like the olden days, yes this is piratical but really its the only thing going for it.


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Darknight765

I remember when the iPhone came out people were saying why do I need the internet on my phone. It's all noise until you get the tech In your hands and you see what it can do. I like that they are making a real effort to make dev paths for game devs.

Avatar image for A8ADD0N
A8ADD0N

Why does anyone even need to say such things? Nah, AR hasn't been used for gaming, but there was a time when VR wasn't either. Hell, there was even a time when consoles and controllers weren't used for gaming either. What the hell people? This is why everyone dislikes gamers right here; because they're sheltered dorks who just hate, hate, hate.

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xsonicchaos

@A8ADD0N:

If we're being honest, it's not our fault for being so cynical, when developers and publishers are making a mockery out of gaming in general. I understand it's all for profit, and of course it is, that's why they're in business, but we kinda need to be skeptical and cynical, at least some of us. It's a must, otherwise they'd have no reason not to take advantage.

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OldKye

If you had said "The engine used by thousands of games on steam" I'd have figured out you were talking about Unity a lot faster lol.

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GH05T-666

I'm looking forward to this, to bad you look like such a dork with it on. The future of this technology will be cool though.

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Gord0nD

I can see this being awesome for bachelors/students. Can afford a big screen TV?? BOOM 80inch HDTV on the wall when you are wearing the holo lense. want some art for the walls in your house....BOOM its there. I am excited about the possibility of these lenses. How much will become true....we will have to see.


Want to read a book, any square object becomes an e reader. Sure you could have the text float accross the screen, but turning everyday objects into full tactile augmented items sounds awesome.

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p_botty

I bet you'll end up able to stream xbox one games to it. They said you'll be able to stream games to win 10 devices, and they stress how this is running win 10.

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SyntaxKT

Interesting because I was imagining a Hearthstone like experience earlier where you see the holograms of the cards on the table performing 3D attacks! I doubt something like this would ever happen for hearthstone specifically but there's so much potential you can have with this. The magic leap guys must be crapping their pants right now because all they had to show was a lame teaser of a guy pretending to get excited what Microsoft is achieving...

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rmiller365

I think RTS and strategy games would be incredible if done right with this. How awesome would it be to play Xcom and control your team from the map played out on your coffee table? You could even see gun fire on your team as they run to cover.

Pipe dreams, but man I would wait in line like an Apple fan to play that.

Avatar image for xantufrog
xantufrog

I have a feeling primary applications will be non-gaming, but I'll definitely be interested to see what comes of game development with this tech.

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Avatar image for hystavito
hystavito

@xantufrog: Since AR doesn't require you to completely commit your attention, I can see it being a lot more applicable to "casual" stuff (games or otherwise) than VR.

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EdwardNygma

Meh not impressed with this tech.

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deathstream

King Eddie the Clickbaiter. All the writers for Gamespot do it, but who else could take an article about one of the top engines being paired with cool new technology and make it about Hearthstone.

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alaannn

i cant see this getting much gaming support,ms mightnt give it over the complaining over kinect vr seems to be the way to go ms should show off what this can do at e3

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Rasdorx

@alaannn: I think hololens could to wonders for other fields like mechanics and medical, but gaming I think will be hit or miss.

Avatar image for deathstream
deathstream

@rasdorx@alaannn:


And gaming is secondary to MS when it comes to Hololens. It isn't like they don't know how valuable it could be to industry.

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Rasdorx

@deathstream@rasdorx@alaannn: Yea I liked how they presented it towards other industries but are trying to implement it into gaming.

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Pelezinho777

Unity? That's like the worst engine ever!

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Vodoo

I was thinking Unreal Engine myself. Definitely not Unity though.

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Pedro

@Pelezinho777: Explain?

Avatar image for A8ADD0N
A8ADD0N

Because he said so!

Avatar image for deathstream
deathstream

@Pelezinho777:


How so?

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eternaldragoonx

Can't wait to see it in action with, this thing has possibilities

Avatar image for xolivierx
xolivierx

do you read Sutter Cane?

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guitarist1980

It would be great if some xbox one games were enhanced by this AR experience. Seeing stuff come at you or on the walls as your playing would be pretty sweet. It will take years I am guessing for this stuff to hit the market.

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guitarist1980

Or PC I am not sure how they could make it work though with everybody having different surroundings. different spaces, environments and what ever it would be monumental. Maybe small incremental things could come sooner. Like tablet games with some stuff floating in air or something like that. We wont be seeing gears of war 4 with bullets and locusts coming at us from all directions. Any time soon that is. But I was looking forward to illumiroom maybe this could be its replacement.

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gregglle

Illumiroom is fisher price compared to VR. and that's coming out next year

Avatar image for PosiTVEMinD355
PosiTVEMinD355

Imagine the Yugioh card game with this!

Avatar image for xolivierx
xolivierx

@PosiTVEMinD355: even better...Tetris.....oh the hours of virtual pleasure one could spend wearing the hololens playing tetris

Avatar image for PosiTVEMinD355
PosiTVEMinD355

@xolivierx@PosiTVEMinD355: Imagine a Sims game where you have a fake virtual wife. It'd be cool, sad and pathetic all at the same time

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xolivierx

@PosiTVEMinD355@xolivierx: with a pizza hut/mountain dew/doritos delivery app included in the Hololens.....it already has your credit card number and the delivery guy will come in your room and put the pizza next to you while you are slaying the sh!T of your opponents with your blue eyes white dragon

Avatar image for PosiTVEMinD355
PosiTVEMinD355

@xolivierx@PosiTVEMinD355: Lmao! You'd never leave the house with a service like that. I can already see the numerous mods to give your fake virtual wife massive boobs and ass that no real woman would be able to have.

Avatar image for xolivierx
xolivierx

@PosiTVEMinD355@xolivierx: yes...the wifes would be sold in various DLC packs.... Asian pack 5.99$ with 5 skins

Avatar image for PosiTVEMinD355
PosiTVEMinD355

@xolivierx@PosiTVEMinD355: I can already see the microtransactions that come with. "Refill your cup with Mountain Dew while you continue playing for $0.99" Lmao