We have learned very little about Microsoft’s IllumiRoom since first hearing about the crazy technology back in January.
Now, though, we know a little bit more about the Xbox projector meant to turn your living room into a video game and it appears it won’t be arriving in your home any time soon.
Albert Penello, who leads the Xbox One product planning team, told Ausgamers that the idea is simply to expensive for today’s consumers.
“It’s very, very cool tech but it’s, like, for a consumer, it requires projectors and things,” he told Ausgamers. “It’s really super-neat if you’re in the lab and you’ve got Microsoft money and you could totally set up this awesome lab, but… we looked at it, but for an average customer it’s, like, thousands of dollars [for the set up].”
In April, the Redmond software giant released a five-minute video explaining more about IllumiRoom, a proof-of-concept prototype that uses a projector and Kinect for Windows to extend gameplay beyond the television set to the entire room.
With IllumiRoom, games can suddenly come out of your television screen and take up your living room. That means grenades and other markers can show up outside of the TV and your walls can turn different colors or rattle.
The company also released a 10-page research report in April titled “IllumiRoom: Peripheral Projected Illusions for Interactive Experiences,” which includes feedback from 10 gamers and 15 game designers.
From the report:
“Peripheral projected illusions can change the appearance of the room, induce apparent motion, extend the field of view, and enable entirely new physical gaming experiences.”
The report also hints at possibilities beyond gaming, which opens up a whole new can of worms:
“Another promising direction is to further explore illusions specifically for video content (e.g. TV shows or full length feature films). Authoring such content is a challenge, but it could enable unique viewing experiences. Can a grenade from the latest Bond film explode in your living room? How would such content be authored? It would be important to investigate how the movie director should deal with the fixed nature of a film and the randomness imbued by the system adapting to the user’s living room.”
One tough hurdle for this technology is making it work for anyone’s living room. Microsoft wrote about this challenge and its plans to make IllumiRoom self-calibrating and adapt for any size of room here.
Once you watch the video, you’ll understand how cool this. Unfortunately it seems Xbox fans will need to wait a while before this idea is affordable.