Microsoft has patent ambitions for immersive gaming

Sep 12, 2012 by Nancy Owano weblog

(Phys.org)—Microsoft knows how to play games. They have proven themselves worthy of growing a customer base of gaming enthusiasts with their Xbox and Kinect. Now Microsoft watchers are talking about the company's recent filing of a patent that takes the Microsoft vision of gaming to the all-pervasive level. Patently Apple has posted details about a Microsoft patent recently published by the US Trademark and Patent Office. The patent shows Microsoft has ambitions to transform entire rooms into game environments. The patent shows plans for game-playing in immersive display settings where users get to work with images projected onto realtime surfaces of their room.

The patent suggests that the immersive environmental display will project 360-degree game worlds across all walls of a room using advanced . Peripheral images will serve as an extension to a primary image displayed on a primary display.

The system components responsible for this all-round would include the game console, the primary screen (HDTV), the environmental display, and system-depth camera. That way, the environment of the game being played is on the walls of the room. According to Patently Apple, the filing demonstrates one scenario where a user plays a game using an system such as the console that outputs a primary image to the user's TV and projects a peripheral image on walls or furniture via environmental display.

Microsoft notes that a future version of their Xbox will be able to connect the environmental display which incorporates a depth camera. The depth camera is configured to generate three-dimensional depth information for the total display environment. The patent filing says some embodiments may go 3-D, to be experienced along with complementary color glasses, to view stereographic images from the primary and environmental displays.

All this talk is making observers more curious and anxious about what is in store in the upcoming Xbox 720, which may carry an environment projection system. The product may be introduced next year. In March news of Microsoft's 'Projector Eyewear' revealed a patent filed by Microsoft describing a headset that would project game audio and visuals directly into the user's eyes and ears.

Patently Apple is enthusiastic, noting that the gaming environment taking over all four walls around us could be a real breakthrough in the gaming experience. Its report noted that previous attempts to inject realism into gaming have included switching from two-dimensional to three-dimensional animation techniques, raising the resolution of graphics, improving on sound effects, and creating more natural game controllers.

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User comments : 10

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Deathclock
2.3 / 5 (3) Sep 12, 2012
Hmm... I remember arguing with a bunch of people just the other day in another article here that Microsoft focused on games... according to those guys, who shall remain nameless, Microsoft doesn't do anything to make their OS "gamer friendly" and Linux is just as focused on games as Windows.

Of course, that is bullshit, and I said the same in that discussion. Microsoft developed DirectX primarily for gaming, they developed XNA for cross-development between windows and their XBox consoles. Microsoft, both with Windows and their XBox brands, are THE gaming OS company.
axemaster
not rated yet Sep 12, 2012
Microsoft would be better served by releasing a new version of the XBox, given that the current console is laughably obsolete.
AWaB
not rated yet Sep 12, 2012
I've been waiting for this type of gaming system to come out for a very long time! I can't wait to buy one!
TrinityComplex
5 / 5 (1) Sep 12, 2012
Axe, it says in the article that this technology is likely to be implemented with the Xbox 720, their next generation console, expected to come out some time next year.

This type of thing could also be used for virtual meetings, more than just video calling. A walk through a park with a friend three-thousand miles away, perhaps?
RadiantThoughts
1 / 5 (1) Sep 12, 2012
we already know they are there was a news article about a leaked white doc a few months back that said all about the augmented reality and how there was a stealth launch of the next gen console 2013. they also said other stuff like the puny spec of the console and that even future consoles may be just little internet video streaming boxes with all calculations done on microsofts server much like how onlive streams games now and this renders all future console upgrades unnecessary/substantially reduced. the final plan is a total entertainment system including sky tv service and gaming on any system be it phone or pc or console.
Deathclock
1 / 5 (1) Sep 12, 2012
future consoles may be just little internet video streaming boxes with all calculations done on microsofts server much like how onlive streams games now and this renders all future console upgrades unnecessary/substantially reduced.


I had this idea decades ago... but back then it wasn't feasible, and it still isn't today...

1920x1080 pixels @ 32 bits per = 8.29MB x 60 frames/second = 497MB/s = 3.9gb/s.

You would need an internet connection rated at over 4 gigabits per second to get full speed HD games streamed to your PC. I pay out the ass for a 30mb/s connection right now... it would need to be 126 times faster.
extinct
1 / 5 (1) Sep 12, 2012
"Microsoft has patent ambitions for immersive gaming"
keep your ambitions on the low; increasing numbers of people have the ambition to never use Microsoft products again ;)
alfie_null
not rated yet Sep 13, 2012
To paint images in any reasonable detail, that's got to involve an unreasonably large number of pixels. Probably intended mostly to provide ambience as opposed to serious bits of game related activity. A headset with fast, accurate orientation makes more sense.

My cynical side wonders to what extent patents like this exist to prevent competition. Does Microsoft ever license their patented technology to e.g. Apple or Google? Or vice versa?
Deathclock
not rated yet Sep 13, 2012
To paint images in any reasonable detail, that's got to involve an unreasonably large number of pixels.


Projectors don't work that way... the source image is of course pixel based but the projection is not. A projector acts a little like a digital to analog converter, taking a set of discrete data (pixels) and turning it into a continuous signal via the projection of the light itself. This means you will never see the pixels when looking at the projected image, they blend together as a side effect of the projection. This is why you can use the same projector to display a 50" image or a >100" image without a noticeable loss in quality (if you have a good projector).

My cynical side wonders to what extent patents like this exist to prevent competition. Does Microsoft ever license their patented technology to e.g. Apple or Google? Or vice versa?


All patents exist to prevent competition, that's the entire point of the system.
Jimbaloid
not rated yet Sep 25, 2012
First they need to come up with something that doesn't assume we all live in big houses with large amounts of empty space in front of the TV. That pretty much blew out Kinect for me after climbing all over the sofa calibrating and then head butting the lamp shade when I jump. Now they want me to paint the patterned wallpaper white or am I going to be tripping over the cat in a headset? Clearly I'm just not a dedicated gamer!