Back in 2016, Microsoft announced the HoloLens as one of the world’s first augmented reality (AR) headsets. They were aimed towards the corporate world, but the company also released the device for consumers.
The first HoloLens showed so much promise that Microsoft released a second-generation, retailing at $3500. But recent reports from company insiders to Business Insider have said Microsoft has scrapped the third generation. It looks like this might be the end of HoloLens.
Employees working in Microsoft’s HoloLens department revealed that Microsoft plans to abandon the HoloLens 3, signalling the end of the product “as we know it”.
It seemed like everything was lined up for HoloLens 3. Talk about the metaverse was becoming mainstream, and Microsoft had partnered with Samsung for the new device. What could go wrong? Lots of things, apparently.
Ex-employees revealed that the department was split over the future of HoloLens. Some even went as far as to describe the plans as “uncertain”, and also used some fruitier language.
You’ll also notice that these are ex-employees. The staff numbers on Microsoft’s HoloLens department have been dropping like flies. Over 100 people left the team in 2021 alone, which isn’t a good sign.
Alas, there’s some good news amongst this doom and gloom. Microsoft’s CEO previously said that “mixed reality is one of the defining technologies of our time”, and a spokesperson for the company clarified the company “remains committed” to mixed reality.
Bear in mind, the ex-employees said the scrapped plans signal the end of HoloLens “as we know it”. Could this suggest Microsoft has another trick up its sleeve?
It’s currently unclear exactly what the future holds for Microsoft’s mixed reality. Pessimists will claim this puts the nail in the coffin, while optimists will cling on to the hope of another product. As the metaverse, VR, and AR all become more mainstream, perhaps Microsoft will jump back in.