If this year’s CES is any indicator, 2013 is going to be a very exciting year for the video entertainment industry. While Nvidia and Valve have entered the fray of the next-gen console market, existing contenders have been working to expand on their products and deliver something new and fresh to consumers. Breaking their silence on a bit of technology that was previously only ever hypothesized, Microsoft Research has unveiled its next ambitious project since Kinect.
IllumiRoom may just be the next big name Microsoft touts in conjunction with its to-be-announced next-generation console, as well as the anticipated Kinect 2. Since patent images describing the technology were released several months ago, players and tech enthusiasts have wondered how it would come together. After much rumor and debate, we can finally see how the idea has come together.
Utilizing both the Kinect camera and a projector, IllumiRoom naturally augments the area around a player’s television set, allowing for screen space expansion and fuller immersion in video entertainment. Detecting the area around the television, IllumiRoom can accurately project special effects, wider fields of view for FPS titles, and more. Already tested and demoed with specific software, the device definitely looks cool.. but is it what gaming enthusiasts need right now?
However useful Microsoft’s technological advancements may be, peripherals like Kinect already seem gimmicky as it is to some players. Despite the forethought and research put into IllumiRoom, unless it’s pre-packaged with the upcoming Xbox 720 system and/or correctly marketed towards the niche consumer who can benefit from using it, the device may see the same criticism that Kinect has met with from hardcore gamers.
Microsoft’s forward-thinking device is certainly a step in the right direction in terms of interactivity, and it will be interesting to see how IllumiRoom is perfected and marketed in the coming months. No doubt we will see a more refined live prototype at this year’s E3, but for now, Microsoft has successfully made the technology known to the world, and only time will tell if it makes the cut for Xbox 720 features. What are your thoughts, Ranters? Would expanding the viewable gaming area be a blessing or a curse — a tool for immersion or distraction?
The IllumiRoom technology made its debut at CES 2013 through Microsoft Research, and could end up in the upcoming Xbox 720 console, though we will only know for sure when E3 rolls around. More information on the technology can be found at the official site.
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