I’ve done it. This is beyond genius type shit. Like, A Beautiful Mind meets Numb3rs type brilliance. Actually, I’m completely pulling random things together and saying, “SEE!”, so it should be noted that nothing here is confirmed *** it’s completely all speculation on my part*** but, I’m Calling It:
The next Xbox will use Augmented Reality via a HMD (Head Mounted Display) with the power of Kinect to frame out the depth information. Here’s the idea in a crudely drawn MSPaint job:
So that is the idea that popped in my head awhile back. Everything started to come together around Feb 22nd 2012 when John Carmack tweeted this: https://twitter.com/#!/ID_AA_Carmack/status/172391595637870594
Like it says in the caption, I initially believed that Carmack may have been working with Google and the rumored HMD that they had: http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/technology/2012/02/google-glasses-coming-to-an-eyewear-stand-near-you/ As you can see on the timestamp of that article, it’s basically the same time. While it was curious that John Carmack would be working with Google gear, I didn’t have any other evidence immediately available to suggest otherwise. But a few moments pass and another well known game developer chimes in: https://twitter.com/#!/therealcliffyb/status/172392686727348224
So right about this time my mind goes into over drive. What in the world could these two be up to? John Carmack alone wouldn’t be enough to guess at anything, that dude builds rockets and solves game physics-engines during his spare time on the weekends. It’s not completely out of the norm for him to have mad scientist gear. But the inclusion of Cliffy B changes things a bunch. Epic games isn’t going to be doing anything with Google, are they? I mean, if they were, chances are we would have seen Infinity Blade show up on at least one Android device, right? Nah, my money is that Epic games is backing MS for the console and Apple for mobile. Google isn’t even in the picture. So that left only one choice for me. This head mounted display is probably coming to Xbox. But how can I be sure?
Exactly one week goes by and John Carmack sends out another tweet on Feb 29, 2012 reading: “HMD mounted in ski goggles for better immersion” https://twitter.com/#!/ID_AA_Carmack/status/174967759216709634/photo/1
Obviously this is a hack job and you can’t really gather too much out of it other than they smashed these HMD displays inside a pair of ski goggles. Whatever gets the job done, right? So, I store this in my massive storage bank I call a brain and go about my day. Again, Some time passes and we are at March 12, 2012 when I see John Carmack retweets a pic from @id_hooper: https://twitter.com/#!/id_Hooper/status/175268956565807104
What’s going on with the 360 controller there guy? I assume he is using the controller how we all would use a controller in an interactive medium. But, again, this doesn’t confirm anything. The 360 controller is a fantastic PC controller, so they could just be using it for testing purposes and it might as well be a generic controller. RIGHT!? We shouldn’t read too far into this, so I try to not let my unrealistic fantasies cross into reality. What better way, I thought to myself, than to directly ask CliffyB what the deal was? Obviously, I’m just fishing here:
Naturally, I was met with zero response so I resorted to dispensing my wild guesses to close friends and colleagues who could all collectively nod their head in unison praying I would stop talking eventually. And eventually I did. That is, until tonight, March 19th, 2012 when I stumbled across one random RSS feed on Engadget detailing a patent filed by Microsoft here: http://www.engadget.com/2012/03/19/microsoft-application-head-mounted-display/
Well, well, well. Wellesy, wellesy, wellesy. What have we here? This seems AWFULLY similar to a few images I’ve seen a month prior. Are you ready to have your mind blown? This is the image from the Microsoft Patent:
And here is the hack-job HMD fitted inside Ski Goggles:
Now here is an image of them merged together:
Eh? EH? Come on, that’s a pretty sweet narrative right there. But, so what, this still doesn’t call the Augmented Reality part. True. It doesn’t. But Microsoft is ALL IN on Kinect. And while Kinect could help construct a virtual reality on top of your existing furniture, realistically most people don’t have room to pull this off. At least from my point of view, the #1 complaint with the Kinect is amount of room needed to fully use the Kinect. So, how I envision it’s use is that the HMDs are transparent and you could have the in-game HUD show up in the Head mounted display. Or what would be really cool, is because Kinect knows your surroundings via the depth camera, you could have in game characters come out of the TV and stand on your coffee table. Again, this is complete speculation but it was fun putting a bit of a story behind the patent discovered on Engadget. And for all we know, it could just all be a coincidence.