Microsoft Dreams Of A HoloLens-Enhanced Super Bowl

by Ian Hamilton • February 7th, 2016

A 2-minute video depicts Microsoft’s wildest ambitions for the HoloLens mixed reality headset, where people watching one of the biggest televised events of the year, the Super Bowl, don the headset to enhance the experience. The video imagines extended views of the field beyond the tiny rectangle of the television and holographic inserts into the living room — like a model of the stadium — to provide additional information about the big game.

The video is reminiscent of one Google released early on with its Glass project that imagined all the ways the company hoped its technology would one day be used. Check it out:

Unfortunately, both videos share unrealistic expectations for technology. Are people wearing the jersey of their favorite team really going to think HoloLens is cool enough to put it on in a social setting like that? Will it be integrated well enough with other media sources to provide that kind of an enhanced experience? Providing an extended view of the field, for example, would require the cooperation of the the broadcaster who paid for the rights to show the Super Bowl on TV.

And then there’s the cost. At $3,000 for the development kit, it seems unlikely the consumer version of HoloLens will be inexpensive. What’s the likelihood average consumers would be able buy them in high enough numbers so a bunch of headsets are sitting around the house for a social experience like the one depicted in the video?

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Perhaps most important, Microsoft doesn’t officially acknowledge the limited field of view of the headset. Even with impressive-looking public demonstrations like Minecraft, hands-on demos with the headset take place in highly controlled conditions and don’t show the variety of content imagined in the video. Put another way, it’s unclear whether the things shown in the video are representative of what people will be able to experience with the headset at home anytime in the next few years.

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