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Speaking to Geekwire, Microsoft’s chief marketing officer Chris Capossela revealed that CEO Satya Nadella was instrumental in pivoting the HoloLens from a gaming device to a productivity machine.
He recounts Nadella saying:
‘Hey I love this thing, but I think you’re going to find that the scenarios are more interesting on the commercial side early on.’
Chris notes that the team originally envisioned the device as a gaming accessory.
“We totally underestimated the commercial interest in this thing,” Capossela said. “The team who built it, a lot of them had their roots in Xbox. Alex Kipman and Kudo [Tsunoda]. And so they originally envisioned it as something more along those lines, but as we started to show it to people, we were blown away by the commercial interest.”
Microsoft shipped the $3000 HoloLens Development Edition last week and has already signed up some big names including Lowe’s, Case Western Reserve University, NASA, Saab, Volvo and others. Real estate company Skanska and digital production agency Studio 216 just announced plans for the “world’s first holographic real estate leasing center,” for a high-rise office project in downtown Seattle.
Capossela did expect the tech to eventually make it to the consumer market once prices go down.
“It’s a journey we’re going to go on, where over time the hardware will get better, things will get cheaper,” Capossela said. “But for it to be something really broadly available, where you can go to Best Buy and buy it for a Christmas gift, we’re not there, and instead I think the real V1 scenarios are about these business scenarios that people are really excited about.”
He noted however that consumers interested in entertainment applications would soon have a wealth of VR-related options, all happening on Windows.
“We’re very excited that all the VR work is happening on Windows,” he said. “We love that. We love that Oculus requires a big gaming rig. Those are very positive things for the Windows ecosystem, and we want Windows to be the place that VR happens.”
With Microsoft hewing ever further into becoming a productivity-first company, do our readers worry that they are leaving consumers behind? Let us know below.