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Unreal Engine 4 support for developers coming to Microsoft’s HoloLens 2 in May

Julia Schwarz, Microsoft corporate vice president for Azure marketing, demonstrates the HoloLens 2 headset at MWC 2019. Jeremy Kaplan / Digital Trends

In an effort to get developers on board to create new and exciting content for its mixed reality HoloLens 2 headset, Microsoft announced the HoloLens 2 Development Edition package. Though the initial version of HoloLens will be sold to businesses and corporate customers for $5,000, developers can pick up HoloLens 2 as part of the Development Edition pricing for just $3,500. In addition to the glasses, Microsoft announced that the package will also include $500 of Azure credits along with a three-month trial of Unity Pro and Unity PiXYZ Plugin for CAD data.

Developer pricing for HoloLens 2 comes ahead of Microsoft’s annual Build conference, which is slated to kick off on May 6 in Seattle, Washington. With this early announcement, it’s likely that HoloLens 2 will be a big topic for developers at the conference. Though Microsoft claimed that it had already attracted the interest of some 20,000 developers for mixed reality, the company expects that number to triple within the next twelve months.

“The addition of Unity Pro and PiXYZ Plugin to HoloLens 2 Development Edition gives businesses the immediate ability to create real-time 2D, 3D, VR, and AR interactive experiences while allowing for the importing and preparation of design data to create real-time experiences,” Tim McDonough, general manager of industrial at Unity said in a prepared statement. Microsoft states that the Development Edition allows developers to create professional mixed reality experiences using their own industrial design data, including the use of CAD or Building Information Management (BIM) information.

To support realistic, high quality graphics, Microsoft also announced that Unreal Engine 4 will also be coming to HoloLens 2 by the end of this month through a software update that brings streaming and native platform integration. The update will allow developers to create photo-realistic renders to deliver an even more immersive mixed-reality experience. Given that HoloLens 2 is targeted at corporate use, rather than consumers and gamers, this means that the headset could be used to show detailed architectural renderings, product designs and mockups, and other industrial use cases.

To drum up greater interest among developers, Microsoft also announced that it will be hosting more hackathons, developer events, and meetups, including the Mixed Reality Dev Days that’s happening right now.

At this time, Microsoft still has not announced a release date for HoloLens 2.

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