Microsoft Botched Its First HoloLens Demo of Build 2019

Oh Andy Chaikin. You tried.
Oh Andy Chaikin. You tried.
Screenshot: Andrew Liszewski (Gizmodo)

Anything can happen during a live event. Or not happen. As it just so happens, Microsoft Build 2019 opened up with a whole lot of nothing thanks to a botched HoloLens 2 demo.

To kick things off, John Knoll, the chief creative officer at Industrial Light and Magic, and Andy Chaikin, a space historian and author, took the stage wearing HoloLens 2 headsets. They rattled off some prepared lines about showing us the power of the Unreal Engine and HoloLens 2 to recreate the Apollo 11 moon landing. What followed was a fancy galactic background, some cosmic space whale music, some camera panning, and a sheepish admission from Chaikan that “doing a live demo is harder than landing on the moon.”

Cue some awkward laughs from the audience, followed by Knoll and Chaikan engaging in some “whoopsie daisy that didn’t work!” banter before both promptly exited stage right.

Knoll and Chaikin noped out of there ASAP.
Knoll and Chaikin noped out of there ASAP.
Screenshot: Andrew Liszewski (Gizmodo)

The goof had some strong Michael Bay energy from that one time he failed to read the teleprompter during a Samsung CES event. It’s also not the first time a live demo has backfired for Microsoft. Back in the day, a demo of Windows 98 crashed on live TV as a silently mortified Bill Gates did his best impression of the thinking face emoji.

All in all, it was a bizarre start to Build 2019. Let’s just hope it’s not the most memorable thing.

Update, 05/06/2019, 3:53 pm:

As it turns out, not all was lost. You can check out this YouTube dress rehearsal video of how the very-cool HoloLens 2 demo should have gone down.

Consumer tech reporter by day, danger noodle by night. No, I'm not the K-Pop star.

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These guys handled it the nicest way possible, shrugging shoulders and moving on. The Bay clip is funny because he always tries to come off as cool but he freaked immediately and decided to “Run away, run away!” at the first sign of trouble—I’ve seen 13 year olds with more poise. I would feel a teensy bit sorry for that Fauxteur but I have also seen clips of him screaming at people on set and his only talents seem to be blowing things up, slow motion group shots, and giant frickin’ robots.