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Microsoft's Phil Spencer is startled by enthusiasm for Xbox IllumiRoom, may return to it

Holodeck tech is "actually not that difficult" to implement, but expensive

Remember Xbox IllumiRoom, the Kinect-assisted projection technology that allows game graphics to spill beyond the boundaries of your television screen? Microsoft Studios boss Phil Spencer is rather baffled that you're all so keen on it, given that a single specimen would cost the consumer "thousands of dollars".

Revealed in January, IllumiRoom is a Microsoft Research project that can "change the appearance of the room, induce apparent motion, extend the field of view, and enable entirely new game experiences". According to Microsoft researchers Brett Jones and Hrvoje Benko, the below video represents a "five to ten year look into the future".

"I actually get asked this a lot, more than I would expect," Spencer observed, when pushed by NZ Gamer as to whether IllumiRoom might launch later in the Xbox One's life (i.e. once the associated costs have come down).

"It's actually not that difficult on the platform side to enable what IllumiRoom does, but it's harder to get game designers to want to make good use of it. I'm surprised I get asked about this so much; it seems to me like a lot of effort to set up a projector for something like that.

"I love our relationship with Microsoft Research," he continued, "but I don't know if IllumiRoom is a feasible thing in the home. There are a lot of things going on at MSR that we're plugged into, and that's just one of them. But I get asked about this so much, I wonder if it would be worth setting up a demo at a show like this and seeing what people think."

Sounds like a good idea to me. Game creation sim Project Spark is another spin-out from a Microsoft Research project, incidentally, and unlike IllumiRoom, it's very much on the cards for release. Intrigued? Check out my thoughts from earlier in the year on how IllumiRoom might have won the next gen war for Xbox One.

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