Microsoft could be grabbing developers for Google Cardboard rival at hackathon

Microsoft's HoloLens is perhaps the most impressive demonstration of what VR could become in the not-so-distant future, but it's sure to arrive with a cost out-of-reach for most ordinary folk. Google Cardboard, on the other hand, is an incredible example of how to create a VR experience yourself or for just a small amount of your local currency. 

The uphill battle the entire VR industry faces is proving that virtual reality is worth it and not just a gimmick as it has been in the past. Few people will take a risk spending their hard-earned cash on a device like HoloLens - until it's proven - but most will give a cheap piece of cardboard a go. 

So although it should be simple to get a cardboard VR solution onto users' faces, a great experience has to also be delivered within its technical constraints if there is going to be a chance of convincing the general consumer to invest their cash into a more expensive device like HoloLens or Oculus.

The kit could be used to begin creating simple versions of applications for use with HoloLens when it arrives

Microsoft seems to recognise this and looks set to launch a competitor to Google Cardboard. An image on a webpage promoting a hackathon in Moscow showed a female wearing a cardboard box over her eyes – similar to Google's – but with Microsoft branding and containing a phone which resembles the Microsoft Lumia 930. 

That page has since been taken down after the image caused speculation and excitement. The website had a lot of effort put into it, and even featured code which changed an image showing wearers of a virtual reality headset being put into different environments whenever it was clicked. Although the site was primarily in Russian, one English word stood-out... "Cardboard". 

What makes this interesting in particular is that Microsoft doesn't appear to be covering-up that its new kit is a Cardboard rip-off, or the world itself would at least be in Russian. In some ways this is respectable as it's at least a clear homage to Google's invention, but whether the company sees it that way is another question! 

Although it seems as if Microsoft will be handing out Cardboard-like kits at the hackathon, the invite requested developers to enter the competition to create educational and corporate apps and games using something called VR-Kit. The kit could be used to begin creating simple versions of applications for use with HoloLens when it arrives; allowing the device to launch with a good app library for use in classrooms and the workplace. 

We'll find out all the answers for certain when the hackathon begins in Moscow Oct 17th – 18th 

Why do you think Microsoft would launch a Cardboard rival? Let us know in the comments.

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