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glasses1It’s easy to brush off patent applications from big companies as pie-in-the-sky ideas that will never see the light of day, but a newly surfaced filing from Microsoft contains at least one big clue that the company has seriously explored the idea of augmented-reality glasses for video games and potentially more.

glasses2Here’s the clue: The inventors listed on the filing are not Microsoft researchers but rather engineers and managers from Microsoft’s game group. In other words, they’re actual members of an actual product team who are far less likely to spend time on something unless it actually has a chance of making it to market.

But here’s the caveat: Even though it wasn’t made public until this week, the patent application was originally filed more than 18 months ago, in early 2012. Given the fact that we didn’t see anything like this with the Xbox One unveiling, it’s always possible that this concept has been scrapped entirely.

The filing itself is very specific, and no doubt just a small piece of the broader vision — outlining a method for matching up players wearing the glasses for multi-player games.

Apart from the buzz around Google Glass, augmented reality glasses are a hot topic in gaming right now, thanks in large part to the Oculus Rift glasses.

The idea of augmented reality glasses for Xbox may sound familiar because a similar concept was detailed in “the Mother of all Xbox leaks,” a 56-page document that emerged a year ago purporting to detail future plans for Microsoft’s Xbox.

Microsoft’s patent filing was originally spotted by a user on the NeoGAF forums, and we picked up on it via Robert McLaws, TechCrunch and Ars Technica.

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