Here's a video showing how HoloLens could augment existing popular Xbox and PC games

Twitter user @Tanfuku showed a concept for how HoloLens could expand the capabilities of existing games by displaying UI elements outside of the game world.

It's something we've theorized as a possibility in the past, but this video gives us a better idea of how it could look in practice.

HoloLens専用ゲームも楽しいけど、既存のゲームをHoloLens対応にしても面白いんじゃないかなーと思ってFF14で雰囲気だけ試してみた。UI系を画面の外に置くことで、よりゲームに没頭しやすくなるんじゃないかな?狭い画面でも広く使えそう。#HoloLens #FF14— たぬ 福 (@tanufuku) February 5, 2017

Tanfuku's video shows how HoloLens could be used by the popular MMO Final Fantasy XIV to display stats, maps, inventory menus, and other panels that are entirely necessarily for gameplay, but heavily clutter up the interface.

Systems like the Nintendo 3DS and Wii-U also make use of extra displays to show menus, maps, and other UI elements to prevent them from interfering with the main game itself.

Microsoft has also dabbled with these sorts of features, with Xbox Smartglass. Using a phone app, some games were able to display second-screen functionality and even gameplay. An early version of Tom Clancy's The Division had a full-blown tablet companion game, allowing users to control an in-game support drone via Windows 8-based touch devices. I saw The Division's drone companion app running on a Surface 2 back at Gamescom 2014, and found it to be very impressive. Sadly, it never made it to the full game due to balancing issues. HoloLens could make these second screen experiences far more compelling.

Getting developers to make use of Smartglass appeared to be an uphill struggle for Xbox, with very few games supporting the feature. A platform like HoloLens could blow it wide open, however, as it offers far more versatility, and frankly, better usability than having to stare down at your phone, then back up at your TV.

How would you use HoloLens to augment games? Do you think this sort of feature could drive adoption in Windows Holographic? Drop us a comment!

See HoloLens at Microsoft (opens in new tab)

Jez Corden
Managing Editor

Jez Corden is the Managing Editor for Windows Central, focusing primarily on all things Xbox and gaming. Jez is known for breaking exclusive news and analysis as relates to the Microsoft ecosystem while being powered by caffeine. Follow on Twitter @JezCorden and listen to his Xbox Two podcast, all about, you guessed it, Xbox!

  • Very very cool!
  • I doubt it would be anymore popular that SmartGlass, sadly. The amount of people that will actually have a HoloLens and want to use this feature will probably not be worth the time for developers. Though being PC based rather than Xbox, the modding community will no doubt have great fun with it.
  • Hopefully consumer versions of Windows Holographic headsets will see more rapid adoption than full VR.
  • Well Windows Holographic headsets aren't out yet. But they will be available starting at $300. That will definitely drive adoption rate up. Especially since the biggest tech companies in the world are on board with it, ASUS,HP, Intel,AMD,Qualcomm,Lenovo, Acer, Dell and Microsoft If these giants together can't make VR/AR mainstream then no one can. Sony, Oculus and HTC certainly couldn't. Even though Oculus has Facebook behind them. I know HTC is going to get behind Windows Holographic. But Oculus/Facebook needs to do the same if they want to stay relevant in the VR space.
  • Seems its upto apple now
  • Nah, Apple has lost its cool license. Microsoft has taken that over if you haven't noticed.
  • Lol no not really
  • Then u must be sleeping for the past 3 years. Apple can not even build a decent laptops now.
  • I get what you're saying, but Apple has been in a slump the past few years and only been slowly refreshing the same line up of devices. The only thing Apple is doing right now is forcing companies to improve their gadgets. Like Bluetooth headsets because of how they took off the audio jack. It's nothing innovative but they are somehow making other companies think differently on certain things. But besides that they are just playing catch-up with companies like Microsoft. Perfect example would be the iPad "Pro" because of how they gave it a keyboard and a stylus.
  • Really because they sold the most iphones last quarter than they have in the history of the company. Doom and Gloom articles about Apple are just click bait wanting to spark discussion and get more click-throughs. There is nothing that shows this to be happening.
  • Sales do not mean that it is good and innovative. It's just proof of how stuck people get about current technologies. Sadly, Apple is stuck too by catering to these people. Microsoft revoked Apple's innovation license with the Surface Pro 3 and their cool license with the Surface Studio and HoloLens.
  • its true apple has and always will have the very successful iphone but they have other products that are languishing like ipad and iwatch.
  • the only thing that did well was the iPhone.
  • This can all be done in Windows Holographic VR headsets that are coming soon. It's basically just an AR UI in a VR headset.  
  • the story of ms has allways been coming soon here's hoping in april when creators update is out that becomes out now at a retailer near you.
  • I loved the dead rising 3 smartglass experience was really handy when looking for items and places in game
  • Imagine if it was a Hologram :D
  • Imagine playing horror games on hololens. Horrolens
  • Horrorens... that's what they call it in japan 🙂
  • Looks like a usability nightmare to me. I can see applications for this type of thing, but I don't think many games would be a good fit.
  • I have to agree. Great for MMO's and possibly RTS. Not for too much else though, but you could see some new genres popping up that would be ideal for this kind of thing.
  • Microsoft hasn't done anything with the hype they first had with HoloLens. It's been what, two or three years since HoloLens was announced, and what has come of it since then? Very little. They've basically let the product lose any of it's cache and I suspect HoloLens won't ever be all that successful, and some other company will take it and make it big. Microsoft really is stupid sometimes.
  • Yeah, when I read that Microsoft won't be making a consumer Hololens but instead let other companies handle commercial holographic HMD's, I thought that had to be one of the dumbest decisions ever made by such a large company. At the time, VR was very promising taking over the headlines and the Hololens was just as cool and fresh. Such a confusing decision.
  • MS was very very clear. It will be a  mass product around 2020 and not before it. Miniaturization of this amazing tech without blowing (SamsunG) or over heating like Google's VR Daydreams is anot easy and takes time. No rush. Smartphones(cell Phones) took almost 20 years to reach the smaller form. PCs - it took 20+years to reach the GOOD usable tablet forms.    
  • That was my understanding as well. Microsoft is trying to draw up interest and TRUE practical and useful experiences for the HoloLens, rather than these flash-in-the-pan VR headsets that have been flooding the market for the last couple Christmases. I remember Android fans being SO hyped about Daydream's addition into Android Nougat and the Pixel but I sincerely forgot about it even existing untill you just refreshed my memory; it's forgettable. The HoloLens seems to be aiming higher.
  • Though it's a shame that Daydream will become fragmented and with devices not getting updates in a year/
  • Really nice
  • Full on hud for any simulator game. Mw online, battlefield, TIE FIGHTER!?!?!? Cm on ms make it happen
  • Game devs arent great when it comes to interfaces. if this was to become a thing ms would need to spoon feed devs easy to use templates. Maybe even just have it work out the box like continium.
  • Let's see MS augment that $3k price tag first.
  • Neat idea, don't see it taking off until Hololens becomes compact and cheap for the everyday consumer...perhaps a holographic attachement for current Smartphones.
  • WOW!!!!
  • Having tried vr its not for me, of at least not yet, could be a winner if the price is right.
  • This is a way I imagined Hololens could be used with games, moving the UI from the screen to the headset would allow more of the world to be seen without being obscured by mini maps, health and ammo status.
  • Tobi eye tracker 4c already provides fading gui, it pops back up when you look where it should be.. Its used really nicely in Dying Light. It's a subtle benefit but playing without it is jarring.. I've got HoloLens, its ok to use along with your laptop &/or desk monitor but not practical for lengthy sessions. Also due to its limited fov, you'd need to sit well back or be constantly moving you head. I actually use it in a similar fashion, i.e. Shows all the webpages of our test systems floating above and around my laptop and desk monitors..
  • Lumia 930