Minecraft becomes a whole new experience with Microsoft HoloLens

More information is promised for the upcoming MineCon, but what we saw was a real working demo with real working code. And honestly, it looked out of this world.

Ever wanted to just play Minecraft looking at your wall? Better yet, how about seeing your creation rise up out of your coffee table? That's reality with HoloLens, and once you're looking at it on the table you can manipulate it with your hands, walk around it, even look inside it, all through the headset.

You can also use the Xbox One controller to play in a more conventional fashion, but you'll probably not want to. There's still much to learn about the future of HoloLens, but this early look at Minecraft has us thirsty for more.

Richard Devine
Managing Editor - Tech, Reviews

Richard Devine is a Managing Editor at Windows Central with over a decade of experience. A former Project Manager and long-term tech addict, he joined Mobile Nations in 2011 and has been found on Android Central and iMore as well as Windows Central. Currently, you'll find him steering the site's coverage of all manner of PC hardware and reviews. Find him on Mastodon at mstdn.social/@richdevine

  • I'm so sick of them showcasing Minecraft at every conference and advert.
  • It's been called this generation's Pokemon. They know it's great for business
  • Further proof the last good generation was the Transformers generation.
  • yet it was one of the best demos of the conference. Amazing stuff. 
  • Look at the fanbase for Minecraft. If even a quarter of those players bought Hololens just for that game, they'd sell a TON.
  • Well one of the main reasons they bought it was for HoloLens, so get used to it!
  • Get used to minecraft or hololens
  • You don't spend 2 billion on a property and not showcase it continually.
  • You know why Microsoft purchased Minecraft? One of the reasons is because of their community to build great buildings and real world scenarios. This is done by enthusiasts all over the world, the value in these creations is much more than $US 2 billion. I would also agree that the integration between HoloLens and Minecraft is going to be huge for the future, and not just on gaming, the tourism industry, the education industry, etc. could benefit from this as well
  • k
  • You're alone, then, because the Minecraft HoloLens stuff easily got the biggest crowd reactions in all of Microsoft's press conference (and rightfully so--it was truly amazing).
  • May next time we will see TERY and PHIL having soccer battle on hololens. Better along with a #realmadrid superstar #ronaldo
  • Does the HoloLens still have the horrid narrow field of vision they enacted at Build?
  • Down voted for asking a reasonable questiong. Nice :).
  • A reasonable question usually doesn't describe something as "horrid" when chances are you have not tried it yourself to know it is horrid. A reasonable question would be worded as: "Some people think the field of vision is too narrow. Did this demo show a narrow field of view?"   And I suggest everyone downvote your comments for whining about being downvoted.
  • This demo showed no field of view... I downvoted your comment for whining that I whined about being downvoted. HA! Lol
  • The demo also didn't show the graphical design use for HoloLense, does that mean that it cannot be done? THis is a games conference, they are going to show a game, MineCraft, being used with HoloLense. Also, since it is a games conference, they are not going to go into technical specs of the device, they are going to show a game. A couple years ago when they showed off the XB1 for the first time at E3, people whined and complained that they talked too much about non-game aspects of the XB1 - TV, Movies, Music, etc. Now when they skip over non-gaming details and show games, people are whining that they are too focused on games. What did you expect, for them to stop the conference and go into a technical discussion of how the human eye percieves a computer generated display that is projected onto the human eye, how that plays a factor on the human brain and distorts the perceived equilibrium in the surrounding environment? No matter what happens, we need to find some reason to whine and complain. Apparently your psychological need for upvotes far outweighs whatever care I may have for how many votes I get. So you can downvote my posts all you want.
  • The only whining and complaining I did was at the internet because I asked a question about the field of view. For the record, I loved the idea of the XB1 before they changed it. I thought that was an awesome idea personally. What we know is this. The first review unit had a bigger field of view. The review units at Build had a very narrow field of view. This is coming from serveral people who actually wore the device. I asked if the HoloLens still had that narrow field of view. Please let me know how that was whining or complaining? If you want, comb through my other comments and please find where I am whining and complaining?
  • which other company is working on holograms, can you tell? no offense but you are an ignorant, this is going to revolutionize technology as we know today. Imagine a future where your living room large TV is an hologram, it's won't be real as in real life but for your eyes it will, possibilities are infinite.
  • I am not ignorant. I am curious to know if this will be good or not good. I have followed HoloLens from the first announcement of it. Imagine a future where your living room large TV is a hologram. It wont be real as in real life but for your eyes it will. Imagine it takes up the whole wall! Now imagine you can only see 1/4 of it because the field of view is so narrow you cant see the whole wall. That is a future I dont want. Also, people keep saying "Have you worn them yet? No! Well wait until you do before bashing on it!" I am not bashing on anything. I am asking a question raised by people who ACTUALLY wore them and raised the question. If you dont want to trust first hand accounts of a narrow FoV then that is your deal. But I trust their view enough to ask if anyone knows if the FoV is narrow or back to wearable...
  • Why don't you change your perspective on the situation, then you won't be so demanding. Microsoft has introduced a revolutionary product (a truly revolutionary product, rather than what other companies consider "revolutionary"). When developing these kinds of products, the first generation is not going to be perfect, and your personal expectations more than likely won't be fully meant. The narrow field of view maybe something that might take some time to fix in the future generations, so for your own sake, be a little more patient. Posted from the Nexus 6, Nexus 5, or Surface Pro 3
  • Can you please tell me where I am being impatient? I havent once knocked the product or the technology. I only want to know how the field of view is. That is my only question. I love the technology and I think its great. But if the field of view is so narrow you cant see much then the product is garbage. Its garbage because it requires you to actually view what the technology behind it is implementing and if you cant see it then it doesnt matter how cool the product might be. Microsoft has been at the forefront of innovation and the revolution curve for many years and many products. They had smarter watches before we decided we didnt need watches and then decided we did need watches again. They had tablet PCs before we thought tablets were a good idea. They had products with pressure touch screens (Zune HD) before we thought we needed another input device with touch interfaces... But you know what. They all fell short. Why? Severaly reasons... But basically because peoples users experience with them wasnt great... If people cant use HoloLens it doesnt matter how awesome it is. Then someone else will snatch it up and make it work well and people will use that. I want Microsoft to actually nail this coming out of the gate. And I want to know if they have or not. tl;dr
    Where am I being impatient? I trust the tech behind the field of view. I dont trust the field of view. I want to know how that is. Its a simple question really. Because thats the only thing reviewers who actually wore the thing have said was broken.
  • That is a terrible idea, it means that only one person can watch tv unless everyone buys a hololens. Also these aren't holograms, not even close. We are so far from that kind of technology it's astounding.
  • OK so basically no change on HoloLens. Just Minecraft again. Still just a smoke and mirrors demonstration, because we all now know they are afraid to admit the poor FoV. Anyone know agree with me that HoloLens isn't coming any time soon. (aka wait until 2016 )
  • You keep repeating these statements.  What exactly are you expecting them to say or show?  According to the article, the demo was showcasing actual working code so how is that smoke and mirrors?  And yes, I'm sure they'll keep showcasing Minecraft because it's a really big deal (they didn't spend 2 billion on it for nothing).
  • OK two things Microsoft needs to do to recover confidence in HoloLens Hype
    A) Provide the audience with the real viewers experience, not that fancy camera rig, exaggerating the Field of View experience
    B) provide some confidence when HoloLens is coming out of labs into consumers hand. This year or next year ? - noting they are teaming up with real VR headsets now, Oculus Rift and Valve VR, so I guess what is realistic and what isn't.
    Sorry I was impressed and excited by HoloLens at first, but the lack of progress and honesty on FoV, and the same old Minecraft demo is getting tiresome now.
  • A)  How do you know they havn't improved the field of view?  Have you tried it for yourself?  Are you there at E3? B)  Are you sure you want them potentially putting it out before it's ready?  It's a unique device and none of us are privy to what goes into it's development.  You are allowing impatience for something you are not directly involved in the development of to override the very real possibility of the device being rushed out in an incomplete manner. As far as honesty goes, what has MS said directly about the field of view that makes it seem as if they lying?  How do you know they aren't making progress unless you are working with them?  And Minecraft is the most appropriate demo for a device you are showing off at a gaming expo.  Every single company shows off their products in the absolute best light, it's best not to treat MS as a special snowflake in this regard. I'm still excited for Hololens but I am avoiding making predictions until I have more info and MS is deliberately playing things close to the chest for good reason.
  • A) While the misperception of the cameras wide field of view is understandably confusing, it is the field of view that an audience member would have while looking at the stage.  In other words, an audience member wearning a HoloLens can see all the walls, table, etc. at one time.  Therefore, the camera rig is accurate for someone sitting in the audience and a distance from the stage.  Also, I am certain that their goal is the same as yours to have more than 200 degrees Left-Right FoV in HoloLens hardware itself.  Please be patient and enjoy what is (v1) rather than what will most likely be (v2). B) There are many Microsoft and partner demos other than Minecraft.  Full blown 3rd party applications and games have not yet been announced.  But common sense tells us that they are in development.  As developers, we have been instructed to learn Unity to be ready and in a position to create applications once the SDK becomes available in the Windows 10 timeframe.
  • The real FoV is 'postage stamp' sized. That is what all the independent reviewers have stated at Build. NOT the wide FoV these demos keep showing with that demo camera rig. That is what I am calling misrepresentation. Please provide some evidence to dispute that fact. And no fixing FoV is not a simple matter, may be lots of serious performance issues to make significantly acceptable for consumer use, compared to the VR competition.
    Oculus Rift headset prototypes have been out for more than a year during their evolution. To many different R&D companies and departments including our own. So don't tell me HoloLens is any where near ready " in development, and being released in W10 timescales any time soon.
    "Windows 10 " timeframe is a meaningless statement. What does that even mean, when Windows 10 continued upgrades, and no declared dates fro the full roll out.
    Get those Jet Propulsion guys back, and report here what they actually used in those Mars demos. That is what got us all excited, not postage sized FoV.
  • A) The camera rig the only way they can show what it will look like. They said at Build that the field of view was not the final view. They would not show off HoloLens with great field of view at first and then diminish it. The field of view was diminished at Build because they wanted to show them the real product rather than a big prototype they had in January.  B) They said in the Windows 10 Time Frame. Teaming up with VR headsets doesn't have to do anything with HoloLens. Getting into the VR Business is not altering their strategy for HoloLens. 
  • I don't know whether to reply seriously or snarkily?! "Lack of Progress, lack of honesty, same old tired Minecraft demo" Really?!! They revealed HoloLens in January. They performed private demo's to a select few with Alpha hardware. Two Months later they demoed it to developers and a whole lot more people on almost complete, self-contained hardware! Given that the FoV changed in both demo's, it's obviously something that can be finetuned. As for "same old demo's", this is the first time they've demoed Minecraft this way live! Not to mention they've demoed the use of HoloLens in multiple fields; from use in NASA-Mars recreation, to Skyping, to Architecture, to Medical education, to IoT, to 3D creation with Holo Studio, to video and app 'pinning', and so much more that they have yet to reveal. And all this within the last 5 months! Now compare that to the three years of Occulus development (with multiple part requirements) or the 1+ of Project Morpheus, which, so far, is linked to Playstation usage only.   Taking the above into account, one must ask truly: are you serious or are you trolling?? You know what, never mind answering.  
  • I don't think they need to improve the FOV for HoloLens, HoloLens is AR not VR, it does not need nor mean to be immersive. This is also why they are partnering with "real" VR headsets for everything else.
  • Except I think you have tha backwards. It needs to have a field of view we are use to seeing in the real world because it is AR, meaning it uses that world to project things, meaining we need to be able to see those objects to walk around and interact with. VR doesnt care because you cant walk with them on. You just sit there and are immersed. HoloLens needs to have a decent FoV otherwise we cant wear them. Really, both need a good field of view...
  • So basically no change in the whiny, need to create some reason to scare people away argument against HoloLense. You claim that they show only Minecraft but nothing else. In fact, this is the first time they showed a Minecraft demo. They have shown it in use in many other applications, such as architecture, graphical design, multimedia, and so on. You are correct, they use an external camera to show what the person wearing a HoloLense sees because it is rather hard to hand out a HoloLense to every single person who was in the E3 conference audience as well as all those watching over the web from home or their office. People have been trying HoloLense, including people who write for this web site, it is no smoke and mirrors. People have stated that the FoV is not the full FoV of the human eye. However, people have also stated that it had made them nautious when using the older version which did span the entire FoV. If they did span the full FoV, and you and others started getting sick, I am sure you would be the first to line up to demand Microsoft pay for your carpet cleaning bill - that is if you really plan on getting one of these, which I doubt. You are demanding an exact date for HoloLense. They have been showing demos and have said that they will be shipping it late this year. We saw demos of Windows 10, and people had it in their hands well before Microsoft announced a ship date for it. Were you demanding then that they cater to you and give you personally an exact ship date? It seems like you have a real bone to pick against HoloLense, creating arguments just to argue. Or maybe just a Sony fanboy trying to create FUD around HoloLense in favor of Morpheus?
  • They didn't say there is change, they didn't say there isn't. Basically you don't know, you are just guessing.
  • I do hope it truly looks like that
  • I love people who have not been able to use a Hololens criticising it it's field of view based solely on the complaints of a handful of crabby bloggers. Microsoft's mistake was letting anyone try the prototype version back in January because if the only thing the bloggers who used Hololens at Build had ever seen was that experience, they wouldn't be complaining about the change in field of view. None of us know yet what the final product will be and what the tradeoffs are. Its damn cool tech. Lets judge it when we can actually use it.
  • It is really cool tech and we havent tried it yet. But if the field of view is as crappy as those "crabby bloggers" have pointed out then HoloLens, no matter how awesome the tech is, will fail. Its totally reasonable for us to ask about it and wonder if its been updated or fixed. I remember watching Build and seeing the demonstrators stumbling around on stage. Then hearing reports how the FoV was so narrow. Thats alarming. The tech is awesome and working and they are refining it and everything. But I want this to be a bar setting technology not something that could have been amazing if it wasnt handcuffed in some way.
  • They need to find some reason to bash a Microsoft product. One writer latched onto a perceived FoV "problem", and like dominos the entire media started blindly following along. These are the same people who think that strapping on a cardboard box to your head with a slot to put your phone into is the greatest thing ever, has a full FoV, and does everything that HoloLense can do and more, so what do you really expect?
  • One of those so called writers was Paul Thurrott, a pretty big Windows Fanboy. He wants to see Microsoft succeed as much as anybody but he isnt blind to it. This is a serious issue if its true (And they, the writers, have worn it for reals). FoV is important if we want to do things like walk around and view different screens in different rooms. If its narrow people wont be able to view a decent sized screen and will stumble around their house or office because they cant see a thing. Something they wont do with Cardboard because they will be sitting down.
  • Sorry but just about everyone who tried HoloLens at Build complained about the poor 'postage stamp' sized Field of View, but also still being impressed by the technology.
    As I am from those supposed Mars experiences, but remain frustrated at same old Minecraft demonstrations. Note this is the third time Minecraft has been used. We get it, try another demonstrations.
    BTW I have not aware of any Microsoft statement on releasing HoloLens by the end of 2016.
  • I don't agree. I think I read every thing out there on the HoloLens after Build and it was really only a handful of bloggers who complained about the field of view and, again, that was only because they had seen something different when they tried the prototypes in January. There were many who noted the field of view without being critical and others who didn't comment on it at all. And none of them, even the crabbiest, claimed the field of view diminished the sample experiences that they were walked through. I get it that people want the field of view to be as big as possible, but this is not VR and as long as the experience I am using the HoloLens for is not impaired by the limits of the field of view, it reallly should not make any difference. My point is that far too many people are cticising something they haven'tr even touched yet, let alone tried, based on just a handful of comments.
  • So Apple gave a Power Point (or Slides or whatever) presentation showing technologies from 2010... And MS shows the future live! And bloggers will complain right?
  • I think most people would rather play with a keyboard/mouse.
  • I suppose you did a poll for that?
  • Why cant we play with a keyboard and mouse on our HoloLens?
  • Minecraft is Hololens "Cortana"  ; )
  • All I had to play with as a kid were pine cones...
  • I'm planning to get Hologram Minecraft for my little daughter, she is 3 years old today, but loves to build on blocks, but just one suggestion, please make a Hologram Minecraft version for younger kids/girls, so it's more like a Disney landscape with pink/purple blocks, my daughter would love this.
  • Well my sons jaw literally dropped when he created that world on the table. It certainly was a very effective demo of Hololens tech and also I think for the first time I realised the Hololens and VR are two different things.
  • Oh goodness gracious. I think this would actually make my girlfriend want to play Minecraft with me. This is incredible.
  • Funny to hear people whine about Minecraft when this demo was so much more than seen until now.
  • Need HOMERUN battle for windows phone