While Sony, Oculus, and HTC are going the virtual reality route with their upcoming headsets, due to launch this year, Microsoft is forging its own path. It’s working on a head-mounted device called HoloLens that is an augmented reality headset rather than a virtual reality one. That means you’ll be able to see the world around you through the headset, but with digital images superimposed on what you see.
The problem? Microsoft doesn’t know when it will be ready for consumers. According to Forbes, that’s because of how unpopular Microsoft’s last high-tech venture was: the Kinect.
Speaking at a TED conference in Vancouver (via Re/code), Microsoft’s Alex Kipman explained that while they could slap a pricey tag on the HoloLens and ship it, that probably isn’t the right course to take.
“If a consumer bought it today, they would have 12 things to do with it,” Kipman said. “And they would say ‘Cool, I bought a $3,000 product that I can do 12 things with and now it is collecting dust.’”
This was of course the problem with Kinect, a problem that was never actually resolved over the lifecycle of the peripheral. It is not something that Microsoft remembers fondly:
“It was not a pleasant experience,” Kipman said. “It was just not ready to go sell 10 million units in 60 days, which is what it did.”