Microsoft has been inching their way back into the console race after Sony started off with a huge lead. The Hololens could be exactly what Microsoft needs to pull ahead. Today, at Microsoft’s Pre-E3 press conference, they showed off a demo of a new version of Minecraft that integrates with the Hololens. The results were mindblowing and indicative of the way in which augmented reality and holograms could change the face of gaming.

Microsoft started off their demo in an intentional snooze-worthy way by showing the Hololens project a virtual large screen onto the wall to play Minecraft. Definitely cool, but he was still playing Minecraft the way we always do. After they lowered our expectations, they blew our minds with what they showed next.

By using the simple voice command, “build world”, the player built the Minecraft world upon the coffee table sitting on the stage giving you an incredible birds eye view into his creation. He was then able to use hand gestures to move and manipulate the world and voice commands to do things such as call down lightning. Using voice command, the player was also able to see what resources were available below the surface; a nice perk for anyone playing on expert survival.

In the demo, the player was playing co-op with another woman who was playing via her Surface Pro 3. The player could zoom in on the world to see what his co-op partner was doing, zoom out of the world and create a map for his partner, and then help his partner go underground by calling lightning down to blow up some TNT on the ground. The whole demonstration was incredible and any Minecraft fan is going to be clamoring to get their hands on this new iteration of Minecraft. You can watch the full demo below:

A Future of Possibilities

Perhaps what is even more mind-blowing is exploring the other possibilities of what the Hololens will bring to the future gaming world. Imagine playing Call of Duty on your screen and having a hologram of the map on your table with a UAV to show you the positions of all your competitors. That’s just one simple way in which the Hololens could change the face of gaming. Another huge opportunity for the Hololens is in teaching players how to play the game. Using the Hololens, you could look down at your controller to learn new gestures and controls without the need of going through lengthy tutorials. (I could do away with tutorials forever!)

A third example, imagine the possibility of combining the Hololens with the Xbox Kinect in the multiplayer realm. The Kinect could scan your friend and project them into your room in a hologram like manner to enable better trash talking, dirty looks, and even punches to the face; the virtual face that is. Playing games against your friends across the country will never be the same. Could this be the killer feature that finally makes the Xbox Kinect worth it’s weight in gold? I’d buy it! (This is just brainstorming and are not announced features.)

Regardless, holograms are going to change our lives in a number of ways, and there are huge implications in the gaming realm. The question is, “which developer is going to tackle some of these features first?” Do you have an idea for the Hololens? Sound off in the comments below!