Xbox 720 Patent Puts the Game All Around You
“The XBox 720 Patent Could Revolutionize Gaming”
I suppose every gamer has, at some point, thought it would be pretty neat to be surrounded by the video game he or she is playing. Just imagine the ability to actually look to the left with your own head and see the guy with the gun moments before he fills you with lead–instead of moving a stick to turn your character’s point of view on the television. Essentially, what we’ve all wanted at some point or another is to find ourselves in the twenty-fourth century, rent a holosuite from Quark, and see if Final Fantasy XLVI or Halo: Holosuite Edition is any good. While we’re quite a long way away from that, it looks like Microsoft has issued a new patent that might just be a step in that direction.
So we start with the Kinect, which we’re all pretty much used to at this point, despite the fact that only two years ago it was blowing minds and granting sight to the blind. The 720 will use a similar device, enhanced with the greater RAM and processing power, to calculate the player’s position, posture, and movements, along with the player’s relative distance from the console and television. This will be coupled with a brand-new projection technology that will put part of the action onto the room itself. No longer confined to just looking at the television, the player will be able to physically look behind them to catch the enemy sneaking up on them, or look to the left to see the bandit behind a rock, or even look straight up to see the Messerschmitts coming in to wipe out your infantry pals.
“I think what I’m trying to say here is: while this all sounds really neat, I’ll believe it when I see it.”
This technology will likely be tied-in with the long-rumored Kinect 3D Glasses, assuming such a thing exists or will exist. By that token, the images on the walls and ceiling may not be confined to simply 2-dimensional shapes, but full 3d entities in an entirely AR environment, causing you to lose all awareness of your actual living room, kick the cat, knock over your soda, and stub your toe on the couch in full 3D.
While my thoughts immediately began to apply this technology to the shooter-type games the Xbox has always loved, I can see a few more genres that can benefit from the full living room experience. Imagine:
- Madden: You personally made the interception and scored the touchdown and won the Super Bowl using Kinect controls, while all around you your fans hold up signs with your gamer tag (XxIMSOHIGH98xX).
- Rock Band: You don’t even need to buy the instruments anymore, so you can just air guitar all day long surrounded by your adoring fans and a reasonable facsimile of CBGB.
- Doctor Who Tie-Ins: Your living room is bigger on the inside! With actual oh-no-Daleks-jump-behind-the-couch action!
I think what I’m trying to say here is: while this all sounds really neat, I’ll believe it when I see it. The Kinect was a great idea, and was really fun for about an hour, but for sheer functionality, nothing beats sitting in front of the TV with an actual controller. Feel free to tell me I’m wrong in the comments.
For more on the Xbox 720 patent, check out IGN News’ report: