Disney's Star Wars AR headset now does two-player lightsaber duels
May the augmented reality be with your timed moves.
Scott SteinEditor at Large
I started with CNET reviewing laptops in 2009. Now I explore wearable tech, VR/AR, tablets, gaming and future/emerging trends in our changing world. Other obsessions include magic, immersive theater, puzzles, board games, cooking, improv and the New York Jets. My background includes an MFA in theater which I apply to thinking about immersive experiences of the future.
ExpertiseVR and AR, gaming, metaverse technologies, wearable tech, tabletsCredentials
Nearly 20 years writing about tech, and over a decade reviewing wearable tech, VR, and AR products and apps
I faced off with a fellow CNET editor, lightsaber ready. His was ready, too. We stared at each other in our mirror-lensed headsets, and started swinging away. Multiplayer AR, kinda-sorta, has arrived.
Disney and Lenovo teamed up last year to make a Star Wars-themed AR headset toy, Star Wars Jedi Challenges, that uses a phone to project holograms to do battle with in augmented reality. The little Hololens-for-kids kit has had some software updates over the last few months, but it was a single-player experience until today's newest multiplayer update.
Watch this: Two-player AR lightsaber battles come to Star Wars: Jedi Challenges
The two-player mode is more like a rhythm dance-off than a true lightsaber battle: Heads-up commands to swipe, block, or duck are randomly generated. Follow along and match the patterns, and you win. I played a couple of rounds, and it's pretty much chaos, but fun. (I lost both matches.)
But you'd need two of these not-so-perfect and limited-use AR headsets to play. Lenovo and Disney hint that two-pack bundles might be on their way. At $150 a headset, it better get a discount.
What would really be cool is if these headsets worked together with phones and tablets, so a friend could play next to you on their device while the other counterattacks in AR. The Jedi Challenges phone app already has ARKit support for a free version of Holochess. But right now, phone-to-headset multiplayer isn't happening ... yet.