The AR challenges of a limiting field of view
When Microsoft first showed the world HoloLens, it wowed the world with all the things it could do (display). As time passed, Microsoft has wisely kept expectations real and it has said that the device will be focused first on industrial applications (as to work with like Autocad and related) and later for gaming. Microsoft is disclosing this not because they like to go against their marketing message, it’s because if they don’t do this today, later the market will punish them. Specifically, the limitation lies around the field of view, on which is much smaller in real life than what the user might expect for wearing a head mounted display. Take a look at it for yourself:
If you didn’t catch it, lets elaborate, some people think this is how they’ll see the AR world with their HoloLens on their heads:
However, this is what they’ll see:
That square, is what the HoloLens will display on people’s eyes (see the heart not being displayed completely/cut?). Certainly not the 180º field of view one would want, in all its glory.
It appears the main reason is cost. HoloLens will initially cost more than one thousand dollars (ballpark estimate), making it able to display a full 180º field of view (average human capacity) will raise the cost of the device to a level, maybe not even corporate players would want to join the party. That’s is why they’re pitching it first to be a working device. For work, field of view is not as necessary to have a complete 180º, the user just needs an aid to enhance his/her work. Games on the other hand, it’s all about the experience, on which 180º is critical.
Later -hopefully?- HoloLens will get traction enough to lower the price and then improve it for the next version. On this potential next version, games can then take full advantage of an expanded field of view.
The challenge for the next version will be balancing technicalities with cost -as it happens frequently-. You can lower the price with the same filed of view limitation or you can keep the same -high- price with an improved filed of view. Doing both? Maybe.
But wait, there’s more
Meta is one of the main competitors of HoloLens, with the advantage that their product is cheaper -albeit not as capable- and closer to market release (as of this writing). Well, the Meta Glasses have the same field of view limitation. When the user puts the Meta Glasses, its view is also confined to a tiny window within the glasses.
Therefore, the filed of view limitation, it’s not only Microsoft’s, it’s industry wide … for the moment. As always, we’ll have to wait and see.