clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Mindful of Kinect's fate, Microsoft won't launch its VR until 'the world is ready'

Meanwhile, astronauts seem to be really enjoying them

Charlie Hall is Polygon’s tabletop editor. In 10-plus years as a journalist & photographer, he has covered simulation, strategy, and spacefaring games, as well as public policy.

The designer of Microsoft's Hololens augmented reality system, Alex Kipman, revealed that he's pumping the brakes on launching a consumer version of the product. The main reason, he told reporters at a TED conference in Vancouver, was because Microsoft has been badly burned by the failure of the Kinect, Recode reports.

The early success of Kinect, followed by its virtual demise this past year when it was removed from the base model of the Xbox One console, has clearly made Microsoft wary of launching the Hololens too soon.

"It was not a pleasant experience," Kipman said. The Kinect "was just not ready to sell 10 million units in 60 days, which is what it did."

Meanwhile, astronauts at the International Space Station finally unboxed their Hololens sets, which were late in reaching them due to a disastrous explosion of a Falcon 9 rocket last summer.

Astronauts Scott Kelly and Tim Peake donned the devices and promptly began playing a version of Space Invaders while floating in zero gravity.

While a $3,000 version of the Hololens is available for pre-order by businesses and developers, Kipman says they're holding back on a consumer version for the foreseeable future.

"When I feel the world is ready, then we will allow normal people to buy it," Kipman said. "It could be as soon as we say 'yes,' and it could be as long as a 'very long time.'"

Meanwhile, virtual reality systems like the Oculus Rift are ramping up for their debut. Just this past weekend the HTC Vive's price point leaked. The device will retail for $799 and come with a headset and two controllers — one for each hand.