Microsoft HoloLens and backwards compatibility

It’s been a while since I’ve had the time to really dedicate to gaming in the way I’d like.  My XBox360 is languishing unloved, my World of Warcraft account dormant since I got the Insane achievement in Cataclysm and the most I can manage now is the odd game of Hearthstone on my Nexus 71.  I still keep an eye on what’s going on as the gaming industry is pushing the development of a lot of technologies that make their way into our lives in one way or another and I always have that hope that maybe something will give me the free time to immerse myself into some of the latest games again.

I was watching the announcements for XBox at E3 as they popped up on twitter this evening and two things really stood out for me.

Firstly, the big song and dance that there would be backwards compatibility with XBox360.  Sorry, This seems like celebrating mediocrity – surely the best user experience is to always have backwards compatibility, not for it to be some sort of special thing.  I am genuinely surprised that so many people are making a big thing out of this and recall derision at previous consoles being released with no backwards compatibility.  Nintendo have been doing this quietly and efficiently allowing their users to invest in games after the newer generations consoles were announced knowing that they did not have to throw away their games when they upgraded.

Secondly the HoloLens demo with Minecraft – this was impressive.  I’ve never played Minecraft2 but this demo made me want to give it a go!

This was very impressive – using any wall as a game screen and then showing an overview on the table3.  I can see a lot of opportunity for cooperative play in gaming but also great applications for engineering and exploration.  Replace the minecraft world with a scanned building and maintenance drones instead of other players and there’s the beginnings of something special.

It’d also be great to hook up to my 3D printer when built to finalise designs before printing.  There are some other options out there for this.  I wonder whether I’ll end up with an Oculus Rift or a HoloLens or one of the indie equivalents…4

  1. If my daughter hasn’t stolen it for watching CBeebies on iPlayer that is…
  2. I’d personally far rather build things with lego than on computer, but can really see its appeal
  3. I assume this was some sort of special set up although they didn’t explicitly mention how this worked
  4. Or maybe one of each… just to avoid getting the betamax device 😉

Published by


Dr Janet is a Molecular Biochemistry graduate from Oxford University with a doctorate in Computational Neuroscience from Sussex. I’m currently studying for a third degree in Mathematics with Open University. During the day, and sometimes out of hours, I work as a Chief Science Officer. You can read all about that on my LinkedIn page.