Microsoft Envisions Where Gaming is going, and it's Wild!
While we've all read about Microsoft's next generation Xbox 720 gaming console coming to market in 2013, a recent Microsoft patent application reveals what Microsoft envisions for gaming beyond that point. On the drawing board is Microsoft's next generation immersive gaming environment – which is simply wild! This could really be a hit with die-hard gamers and with a little imagination you quickly realize just how cool this could be. First there was the Xbox, and then came Kinect and now the next great thing in gaming from Microsoft is on its way and we detail it all in our report.
Microsoft's Patent Background
User enjoyment of video games and related media experiences can be increased by making the gaming experience more realistic. Previous attempts to make the experience more realistic have included switching from two-dimensional to three-dimensional animation techniques, increasing the resolution of game graphics, producing improved sound effects, and creating more natural game controllers.
So where will Microsoft take gaming in the future? According to a recent patent application filing, Microsoft envisions a totally immersive experience: Specifically, the patent states that "An immersive display environment is provided to a human user by projecting a peripheral image onto environmental surfaces around the user. The peripheral images serve as an extension to a primary image displayed on a primary display."
Microsoft's Future Immersive Gaming System
Microsoft's patent FIG. 1 shown below schematically shows an embodiment of a display environment (100). The display environment is depicted as a room configured for leisure and social activities in a user's home. In the example shown in FIG. 1, the display environment includes furniture and walls, though it will be understood that various decorative elements and architectural fixtures not shown in FIG. 1 may also be present.
As shown in Microsoft's patent FIG. 1, a user (102) is playing a video game using an interactive computing system (110) (such as the Xbox gaming console) that outputs a primary image to the user's HDTV (104) and projects a peripheral image on environmental surfaces (e.g., walls, furniture, etc.) within the display environment via environmental display 116.
In the gaming scenario shown in FIG. 1, the user is playing a first person shooter video game and is focused on the primary images of the game that are shown on their TV. Connected to a future version of Microsoft's Xbox is the environmental display which is shown to be sitting on top of the television. It will be configured to display a peripheral image on environmental surfaces.
The peripheral image appearing on the user's wall will be configured to appear to be as an extension of the primary image that is shown on their TV. As a user perceives the peripheral image with the user's peripheral vision, the user may be situationally aware of images and objects in the peripheral vision while being focused on the primary image.
In the example shown in patent FIG. 1, we see that the user is focused on the gameplay on his TV but may be aware of an approaching video game enemy from the user's perception of the peripheral image displayed on his back wall. 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, the user may turn around and observe an enemy sneaking up from behind.
In the embodiment shown in FIG. 1, the environmental display is a wide-angle RGB projection display device configured to project a peripheral image in a 360-degree field around the environmental display.
Immersive 3D Environments
Microsoft states that while the example primary display and environmental display shown in FIG. 1 includes 2-D display devices, "it will be appreciated that suitable 3-D displays may be used without departing from the scope of the invention." Furthermore, Microsoft states that in some embodiments, "the user may enjoy an immersive 3-D experience using suitable headgear, such as active shutter glasses configured to operate in synchronization with suitable alternate-frame image sequencing at primary display and environmental display."
The patent filing goes on to state that in some embodiments, immersive 3-D experiences may be provided with suitable complementary color glasses used to view suitable stereographic images displayed by the primary and environmental displays.
In some embodiments, the user may enjoy an immersive 3-D display experience without using headgear. For example, the primary TV display may be equipped with suitable parallax barriers or lenticular lenses to provide an autostereoscopic display while the environmental display renders parallax views of the peripheral image in suitably quick succession to accomplish a 3-D display of the peripheral image via "wiggle" stereoscopy.
The System's Depth Camera
Microsoft notes that a future version of their Xbox will be able to connect the environmental display which incorporates a depth camera (114) as we note below in our closeup graphic. The depth camera is configured to generate three-dimensional depth information for the total display environment such as the user's four walls.
According to Microsoft, the depth camera may be configured as a time-of-flight camera configured to determine spatial distance information by calculating the difference between launch and capture times for emitted and reflected light pulses. Alternatively, in some embodiments, Microsoft states that thedepth camera may include a three-dimensional scanner configured to collect reflected structured light, such as light patterns emitted by a MEMS laser or infrared light patterns projected by an LCD, LCOS, or DLP projector.
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Microsoft Envisions Where Gaming is going, and it's Wild! ( Patent )
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