After announcing the second generation of its standalone holographic PC at Mobile World Congress this year, Microsoft today announced the HoloLens 2 Development Edition. The Development Edition is a bundle that includes the headset, $500 in Azure credits, and three-month trials of Unity Pro and Unity PiXYZ.
Moreover, Unreal Engine 4 support will be available for the HoloLens 2 before the end of the month. Also announced at MWC, Epic Games founder Tim Sweeney actually took the stage to talk about it. Unreal Engine 4 will allow developers to "create high-quality, photo-realistic renders and immersive, mixed-reality experiences for solutions spanning architecture, product design, manufacturing and more."
“Pairing HoloLens 2 with Unity’s real-time 3D development platform enables businesses to accelerate innovation, create immersive experiences, and engage with industrial customers in more interactive ways. The addition of Unity Pro and PiXYZ Plugin to HoloLens 2 Development Edition gives businesses the immediate ability to create realtime 2D, 3D, VR, and AR interactive experiences while allowing for the importing and preparation of design data to create real-time experiences.” - Tim McDonough, GM of Industrial, Unity.
Microsoft's partnership with Epic Games is part of its broader strategy for a more open mixed reality ecosystem. When the firm announced HoloLens 2 at MWC, it promised third-party browsers like Firefox and third-party app stores would be treated like first-class citizens.
The HoloLens 2 Development Edition bundle will cost $3,500, and there will be plans to get it for $99 per month. It will be available for pre-order soon, and it's coming later this year.