"RoomAlive," a new proof-of-concept prototype built by Microsoft, aims to create more immersive gaming experiences by introducing augmented reality to the Xbox.
The new concept video, which was just posted to blog Projection Mapping Central by one of Microsoft's researchers (via The Verge), teases what it would be like if your Xbox stretched beyond your TV to cover your entire living room.
For "RoomAlive," Microsoft combined a wide field-of-view projector, a Kinect motion-sensing camera, and a computer to create a device known as a "procam." The company uses six of these procam units to power its "RoomAlive" technology.
The projector is used to project images around your living room, while the Kinect tracks your movement. It's similar to "IllumiRoom," which the company officially unveiled at the Consumer Electronics Showcase in 2013, but it's also actually quite different. "IllumiRoom" merely extends the video game beyond your screen to nearby walls and furniture to create a deeper perspective. You can't interact with these images, however.
"RoomAlive" projects the video game's environment all around your room, and requires that you interact with these elements.
For example, if there's an enemy lurking in the corner next to your couch, you'll be able to run over to that section of the room and shoot it.
Here's what "IllumiRoom" looks like for comparison. As you can see, it's more of a visual extension of your TV and isn't made for interaction.
It's unclear when we'll see this type of technology actually come to the Xbox, especially since "Room Alive" requires six console-size devices to recreate the experience shown above. The technology shown in this video is likely an early version of how the final product will eventually work. Regardless, it's interesting to see the direction Microsoft is headed when it comes to augmented reality in video games. Check out the full video below.