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Microsoft demonstrates HoloLens with Project X-Ray

At this morning’s Windows 10 devices event, Microsoft once again demonstrated the massive potential of its HoloLens project. Previously, we’ve seen how the tech will change familiar experiences like Minecraft, but today we saw an all-new game developed specifically for the capabilities of the headset.

Project X-Ray sees players tasked with defending the real-world space around them from a horde of mechanical enemies. As the game began, the walls set up on stage began to crack, giving way to an ominous machine that began spewing small flying robots that quickly opened fire.

Fortunately, the player is equipped with a handheld device which the HoloLens uses to map a holographic blaster upon. We saw this weapon fire accurately at enemies, as well as using “vortex mode” to Hoover them up, then repel them away as another form of offense — not to mention a demonstration of holograms interacting with one another.

Related: Microsoft will send HoloLens to space again, hopes the rocket won’t blow up this time

While the gameplay itself may have been rather simplistic, the overall experience looks like a wholly engaging use of VR. Seeing the way that the game interweaved with a real-world environment was very impressive, perhaps giving HoloLens a certain edge over technologies like Sony’s PlayStation VR.

After what seems like years of research and development, 2016 looks set to be the year that virtual reality makes its play at mainstream acceptance. Microsoft’s HoloLens project may be a relative newcomer compared to the likes of the Oculus Rift, but it seems that the two devices might both be on track to launch next year.

Microsoft has announced that applications for a HoloLens development kit will begin today. The kit itself will cost $3,000, and is expected to begin shipping in 2016, but there’s still no official word on when a consumer version is likely to see release.