Microsoft at E3: Hololens augmented reality headset to let people play Minecraft in real life

Hardware shown off alongside updated controller at gaming convention

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The Independent Tech

Microsoft has shown off its Hololens headset, which it claims could be the next generation of gaming and will let people play Minecraft in real life.

At its E3 event — where it also showed off new games, and updates to the Xbox operating system including backwards compatibility to let 360 games work on the Xbox One — it showed off the headset, which was first introduced at the Microsoft 10 event at the beginning of the year.

Microsoft Studios executive Saxs Persson played Minecraft with the headset on while staring at a wall. He also played using gestures and voice commands, interacting with the world on an empty coffee table.

A special camera allowed the audience to see what he was seeing - a perfect 3D representation of a pixelated Minecraft world.

He zoomed into the scene by saying "closer" and could look through walls to see inside rooms and underground simply by moving his head inside the hologram. He could navigate by pinching his fingers and moving his arm.

 Beside him, Lydia Winters, brand director for Minecraft maker Mojang AB, played her own character in the same world using Microsoft's Surface tablet.

"Microsoft HoloLens gives the community a different way to play in the worlds they already love," she said.

Microsoft did not announce pricing or availability.

The demo came a week after it was announced that an Xbox One controller will come with every Oculus Rift headset, a virtual reality device that also immerses wearers in fictional environments but blocks out the real world. Upcoming Xbox One games will be playable on that headset as well.

For hardcore gamers, Microsoft also announced the sale of a new $150 (£97) controller called Xbox Elite, with interchangeable thumbsticks, paddles, and buttons whose functions can be swapped around, starting in October.

Additional reporting by Press Association

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