Technology 3 min read

HoloLens 2 Update: A Pricey Distraction? Or a Business Revolution?

Mixed reality is the VR headset technology of the future according to the Microsoft HoloLens 2.0. While it debuted with a price of $3,500 USD, the alliance with Fortnite developer Epic Games sparks more curiosity. Could this partnership prompt Google and Apple to revisit their app store policies?

Image via Gabriel Bouys, AFP, Getty Images

Image via Gabriel Bouys, AFP, Getty Images

Fans of Microsoft’s original HoloLens headset can finally rest easy after the company finally announced a price point and ship date. However, the news also included an interesting addition from Alex Kipman at the Mobile World Congress regarding popular Battle Royale video game Fortnite.

Don’t get too Excited: It Still Costs a Pretty Penny

The next iteration of Microsoft’s VR and AR headset promises many new features and updates. Just a few include enhanced visuals, increased comfort, and better usability. Due to the upgrades, Microsoft rebranded the tech as “mixed reality” rather than just regular VR.

Now, computer image overlays imprint upon your surroundings. This means that you could see IKEA furniture instructions appear as you put together a frustrating bedframe. Or, you could see arrows pointing in the direction you need to go as you walk somewhere.

The first HoloLens cost around $5,000 USD in 2015, but the new HoloLens clocks in at $3,500 USD. One of its chief rivals, the Magic Leap One, can go for as low as $2,295 USD. But both cost much more than a standard VR headset like an HTC Vive (~$499 USD) or Oculus Rift (~$349 USD).

Kipman says that the goal of mixed reality headsets is to “transform humans”. With that in mind, the HoloLens 2 leverages the cloud heavily and is focused primarily on business use as opposed to commercial or consumer applications.

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The pairing of Microsoft and Epic Games could once again prove useful, not only to app developers, but to end users like you and me. | Epic Games via Gfycat

Dynamic Duo Disrupting Market Stagnation

Perhaps most exciting is that Microsoft allows anyone to open an app store using its HoloLens 2 headset. This caught the eye of former naysayer Tim Sweeney, Epic Games CEO. If you recall, Epic Games created the cultural sensation that is Fortnite.

Now, the two join forces to pressure both Google and Apple regarding transaction fees regarding apps.

You see, both companies take around a 30% cut from app transactions. As a result of this, Epic has now pledged long-term loyalty to the HoloLens for its “openness” policy.

Sweeney formerly criticized Microsoft after its launch of the Windows 10 app store. Microsoft did not see as much success with that venture as they’d hoped. So this alliance with Epic will not only benefit Epic Games, but Microsoft and other app developers, as well.

A previous Microsoft and Epic Games alliance prompted Sony to allow cross-platform play. Perhaps this duo can again disrupt the current market for the betterment of developers and end users alike.

Read More: Varjo VR Headset FOV Falls Short of Hardware Promises

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Juliet Childers

Content Specialist and EDGY OG with a (mostly) healthy obsession with video games. She covers Industry buzz including VR/AR, content marketing, cybersecurity, AI, and many more.

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