If you can think back to three years ago, you may remember Microsoft's IllumiRoom project. The concept promised to project games beyond your TV but was eventually scrapped due to its high costs.
Thankfully, it looks like the idea isn't completely dead. At CES yesterday, Razer Zone unveiled a new gaming experience it calls “Project Ariana”. The concept is an extension of Razer Chroma and will project games outside of the TV screen.
How does It Work?
Project Ariana's setup seems a lot more feasible than Microsoft's. A high-quality projector has two 3D cameras, which scan the room for objects. After determining the environment, Ariana projects the image through a fish-eye lens onto your wall.
As a result, the field of view of the player is extended, giving them better peripheral vision and a more immersive experience. According to Razer, the experience is “modeled exactly after how the human eye sees the world”. The highest resolution image sits in the center of your vision, while everything outside of your focus naturally blurs.
This brings the impression that the experience is more detailed than it actually is, and creates the illusion of full immersion.
On the surface, IllumiRoom looks very similar. It uses projection, room scanning and extends the game outside of the screen. While Microsoft's concept most showed outlines, Razer's appears to be more detailed and less effect focused.
Despite this, it's hard to see such a product making it to market. Shelling out for an expensive projector won't be an option for most users, and most gamers are using a monitor setup rather sitting away from a TV. It will also cost more in computing power, as significantly more is being rendered.
As a result, those looking for a truly immersive experience are more likely to turn to VR or AR, which will only get more cost-effective as time goes on. Still, it's difficult to tell how good it is without testing it, and no doubt this would be popular in some niches.