A newly surfaced Microsoft patent application provides a new glimpse of the company’s vision for the future of video games — an immersive system that combines a sensor like the Xbox Kinect with a projection system that extends the boundaries of the environment beyond the television monitor to the surrounding walls.
The patent filing is for an “immersive display experience.” Here’s an excerpt from the description of the diagram above, to give you a sense for how the technology could work in the context of games.
“In the example shown in FIG. 1, user 102 is focused on the wall displayed on primary display 104 but may be aware of an approaching video game enemy from the user’s perception of the peripheral image displayed on environmental surface 112. In some embodiments, the peripheral image is configured so that, to a user, the peripheral image appears to surround the user when projected by the environmental display. Thus, in the context of the gaming scenario shown in FIG. 1, user 102 may turn around and observe an enemy sneaking up from behind.”
We don’t know if this will ever ship as a product, but it makes sense in a lot of ways.
The company has been demonstrating a system similar to this for years in its Home of the Future, the space on the Redmond campus where Microsoft uses prototypes and tech demos to show visitors where things could be headed. One of the demos is a teenager’s room where the walls use a projection system to change dynamically and show different interactive scenes.
Microsoft researchers speak frequently about turning more and more surfaces into interactive displays. If this is where they’re headed, video games could someday be a lot more engrossing than they are today.
We’ll leave you to judge for yourself if that’s a good thing or not.