Microsoft patents full-room 'immersive experience' gaming

Microsoft has filed a patent application hinting of its designs for the future of gaming. It uses a sensor like the Xbox Kinect combined with a projection system that projects gameplay beyond your television to the surrounding room.

With all the uses for the Microsoft Kinect — everything from detecting emotions of TV viewers to Microsoft's interactive Holodesk experiment that allows users to manipulate a 3D environment, it's not too surprising of an evolution to a patent for immersive gaming hasn't been too far behind.

What does the patent really mean? As well as including a projection system, a 3D depth camera emits infrared light to determine where the player and objects are. It sounds like the Kinect on steroids — and in fact could likely interact with a Kinect to further enhance the gaming.

If you think that sounds pretty intense, here's exactly how the patent describes the gameplay:

"In the example shown in FIG. 1, user 102 is focused on the wall displayed on primary display 104 but may be aware of an approaching video game enemy from the user's perception of the peripheral image displayed on environmental surface 112. 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, user 102 may turn around and observe an enemy sneaking up from behind."

Surrounded? Enemies sneaking up from behind? In addition to gaming in my living room, I could easily see this being used to train commandos. I'm both excited and terrified by the prospect of how intense that gaming experience could be.

Still, it is only a patent, but immersive environments are experiences Microsoft has talked about and experimented with for a long time. Plus, given the wide range of uses being developed for the existing Kinect, it doesn't seem like much of a leap to think an immersive experience product couldn't be similarly customized

It's probably safe to say a lot of people will be watching to see where this patent is heading.

Microsoft Patent Filing, via Geekwire, via Geek.com

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