Microsoft has been approved for a patent that could take gaming to a whole new dimension, allowing images from the TV to be projected around the room to create a 360-degree virtual display.
The company, which filed for the patent in March 2011, details a technology that would project a peripheral image onto environmental surfaces such as furniture and walls around a user. The focus would be on one primary image — for example, what’s highlighted in a game displayed on a TV — but projections around the room would serve as an extension.
This means a gamer would be able to “turn around and observe an enemy sneaking up from behind.”
“User enjoyment of video games and related media experiences can be increased by making the gaming experience more realistic,” Microsoft said in the patent filing. “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. Such features are typically out of context with respect to the displayed image, muting the entertainment potential of the media experience.”
Microsoft argues that turning a room into a virtual display could enhance the gaming experience. To do so, it would incorporate a depth-sensing camera to help it detect room layout, colors and player position. The projected images could also be used with 3D glasses to make the experience even more interactive.
Although it’s unknown if Microsoft will make use of the patent, the potential for this type of gaming innovation could be huge. It would likely be an expansion of the company’s motion-controlled Kinect gaming system.
This isn’t the first time a company has considered blending gaming with augmented reality. Sony recently created a video with a holodeck-like experience.
Would you want to play video games in a 360-degree virtual environment? Do you think this could be the future of gaming consoles? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.
Images via U.S. Patent and Trademark Office