We first saw Microsoft’s vision of the future of gaming last year when a patent filing revealed a potential Xbox 720 feature that projects images from a video game all over a room, extending the gaming experience beyond the TV screen. Our interest was piqued again when a video demo of “IllumiRoom” made the rounds earlier this week alongside rumors that the exciting new feature might be available on Microsoft’s next-generation Xbox. The feature would undoubtedly give the next Xbox an edge over rivals but unfortunately, Microsoft has confirmed that IllumiRoom won’t be included in its next-generation video game console at launch.
Microsoft Research’s Hrvoje Benko and Brett Jones told Engadget in a recent interview that Microsoft is actively developing IllumiRoom technology and they say they have it “working well” right now. That’s the good news. The bad news, however, is that the next Xbox won’t include the exciting feature when it debuts next month.
IllumiRoom works by using Microsoft’s Kinect sensor to scan its surroundings and save a digital map of the area surrounding the user’s television. It then uses a widescreen projector to display illusions on walls and objects around the TV, matching colors as closely as possible using radiometric compensation. It can then manipulate objects, extend gameplay beyond the TV display or project other images and colors around the room. The result is a gaming experience that leaps off the television screen and immerses the user in the virtual world created by the video game.
The Microsoft researchers told Engadget that IllumiRoom will be demoed as a concept in July at the earliest and they gave no indication of when it might actually launch to the public. Microsoft’s next Xbox is set to debut on May 21st, so IllumiRoom clearly won’t be part of the show.
A video demo of IllumiRoom follows below.