Microsoft gave a demonstration of a very interesting new gaming technology at CES. IllumiRoom extends the gaming experience beyond the physical borders of the TV screen, and transforms the living room into a firestorm, a snow-covered landscape, or whatever fits the game. Is IllumiRoom a hint to the future of Microsoft’s Xbox?
IllumiRoom takes over your living room
The PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 consoles are getting long in the tooth and the next-generation consoles are coming soon – possibly even in 2013. Microsoft has not shared any official details but did share a vision; IllumiRoom was demonstrated at a press conference together with Samsung. However, Samsung’s role in all this is still unknown.
Microsoft demonstrates IllumiRoom for Xbox that expands the gaming experience to the living room
"The footage shown here is exactly what appeared in our lab without any special effects being added,"
Illumiroom extends the gaming experience to the living room, and aims to create more immersive games for gamers.
In the demonstration video below you can see how the room goes up in flames, how bullets fly in all directions, how snow gently falls onto the floor, and how the room is just generally included into the game worlds from shooting, racing, and other games.
What you see in the video is real and recorded in the labs at Microsoft Research without special effects.
Microsoft says that they use a Kinect camera to scan the environment prior to the gaming experience and uses a projector to create the IllumiRoom experience.
A hint to the next Xbox?
IllumiRoom is certainly an interesting project but no people at CES had a chance to experience it. It is still a research project but Microsoft promises to share more details in April 2013 – possibly even a real-life demonstration.
Microsoft undoubtedly has a range of projects going on but with IllumiRoom Microsoft has actually chosen to do a CES presentation, possibly signaling that we can expect something along these lines for the next Xbox. Microsoft has already shown interest in virtual and augmented reality in an effort to immerse gamers. A leaked documents that reportedly described Microsoft’s wish list for the Xbox 720 revealed a Kinect 2.0 motion sensor as well as the "Project Fortaleza"; a virtual reality glasses project for gaming.
If you ask Microsoft’s engineers the next-generation game consoles will be all about virtual / augmented reality. Make no mistake; IllumiRoom could be one of the first official hints to a feature of Microsoft’s next big game console. We cannot wait.