It wasn't just barely announced and in fact when the information was first released Microsoft not only denied the information they actually got their lawyers involved and had it pulled from the site that published it. That however did not stop the document from spreading around however. I do find it amusing however that the concept seems to have been forgotten despite one key seemingly unrelated announcement. What am I talking about? None other than a document supposedly detailing what could be Microsoft's technology based plan for world domination! OK, so I'm not talking about Hitler or anything here but if it proves true then it would place the company as the perfect must have collection of devices for every home.
Now before I post my sensationalist global domination theory, please read the links in each section and see the reality start to hit home. Xbox 720 is being set up to bring us virtual reality / holograms / augmented reality in every home and to everyday life even when not playing games and even when we aren't at home! While there are a few different techs involved in this, keep in mind that some of it in the supposed document plan have already come to pass.
How will they do it? First let me preface by reminding everyone that Microsoft has already confirmed it will be shipping Xbox 720 with a new and better version of Kinect. With that in mind read what Jacob Pederson had to say on his idea for the tech before Microsoft filed the patent for an Augmented Reality tech.
While his blog does not directly apply to Microsoft's patent, but it does explain how it could be done with the Kinect 2 and do 3D gaming, web, TV and movies ON ANY SCREEN (regardless of that display's 3D capabilities) including projectors AND CRT! Now his blog was posted near the end of 2010, keep note of the timeline of these various postings of news as well as the years in the "Microsoft document" time line.
Next I post the link for the announcement of Microsoft SmartGlass in 2012, the same year Windows 8 was released which allowed SmartGlass technology to integrate PCs, laptops, tablets and phones to all share content including games and other multimedia seamlessly.
Ok, now for the article (from Gamasutra) that overviews the major points of the "document". As you read think of what the document said would happen and note that the year of the first two steps have already come to pass at the times they said they would as well as the fact that Microsoft said the 720 would be out this year.
Alleged 'Xbox 720' document sparks internet speculation
Considering the date of the document was from 2010 but wasn't leaked till 2012 AND the fact that Microsoft actually got their lawyers involved to pull it from the net rather than just laugh it off and deny it adds a lot of credence to the plan... at least in my mind. So how about the outlandish concept of the project "Fortaleza"? look at the patent that Microsoft filed in late 2012
We already know that Google has its dorky looking (ok that's subjective) AR glasses and that its going to the early adopters for over $1500! because you know... Google knows we all have that kind of cash as pocket change. But then again when the CD, DVD and Bluray players first entered the market their first prices were actually that high as well and look how well they stuck around. If the Microsoft AR glasses design in their patent is any indication they shouldn't be as noticeable to the general public and be easier to accept into daily life than being banned from some places like Google Glass already is. And since Microsoft's version isn't slated to hit the market until 2014 there is plenty of time to reduce production costs through design refinements as well as components getting cheaper. Given that one of the already existing 3D viewing technologies include active shutter glasses, the precedent for a liquid crystal display glasses with built in electronics is already out there and the adaption to include color crystal rather than the current black ones that we use in active shutter glasses should be fairly simple to incorporate to existing mass manufacturing processes. For more on how active shutter glasses work click here...
Current 3D tech causes headaches in some as well as a weak 3D perception in others. using a parallax based tracking system you can actually do this all without the aid of glasses but at the same time since Microsoft is already planning to use these glasses for AR why would they stop there when they can use it to overlay user interfaces in the glasses rather than on the game, freeing up game immersion breaking clutter. Well wouldn't having them in the glasses not do that anyway? Not if your used to seeing lyrics at concerts, product reviews while at the store, vital car information while you're driving such as MPH or how much gas you have left in the tank/how far you can go before you run out or even a view from your rear view digital camera (yeah those have been getting more and more popular in cars over the last few years).
STILL not convinced of Microsoft's plan to take over the world? I humbly submit this link showcasing a patent Microsoft made in 2012 and officially announced in 2013 for yet another Augmented Reality technology.
Add all this up and they are setting themselves up to be the most desirable company to the general populace and to fundamentally change how we interact with computers, gaming and... life.
Please take a few minutes to ponder the possibilities of such a technology collection base all under one companies roof that has the powerhouse clout to already buy their way into just about any industry should they so chose. While I leave you with that notion, check out these youtube videos showcasing some already existing AR tech (before Kinect 1 was launched) and what could be possible...
could this utterly crush the PS4?
What would you do with this tech?