New Star Wars AR Headset Will Bring Holochess and Huge Battles to Life

Jul 16, 2017

Disney announced its D23 fan event in Anaheim, Calif. this weekend that it would be developing an augmented reality headset in collaboration with its LucasFilm subsidiary and Lenovo. The smartphone-based setup will feature Star Wars experiences including large scale battles, lightsaber fights, and the franchise’s signature Holochess tabletop game—all layered into the real world.

At D23, Disney’s VP of Advanced Development Mike Goslin revealed the project, and rolled footage of several of the games. The brief glimpses looked pretty great, showing tiny Rebel Alliance forces advancing across a carpeted bedroom, a life-size Stormtrooper squaring off against the viewer, and a circular Holochess board in action.

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The hardware shown in this brief teaser trailer looks sleek, and includes a pretty spectacular lightsaber peripheral.

There’s still plenty of mystery around the device. It still has no release date, and at least at this writing, the game portal at Jedichallenges.com is offline. It’s also unclear whether the headset will be compatible with other AR or VR experiences.

The decision by Disney and Lenovo to focus on an augmented reality suite that runs on a phone highlights the challenge facing makers of more-expensive immersive virtual reality devices. Facebook, for instance, recently offered steep discounts on its Oculus VR headset, and said it will introduce a cheaper VR headset in 2018.

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