Many developers descending on the Game Developers Conference (GDC) are expected to come toting prototype videogames, movies and virtual-reality goggles—updates of offerings that ignited a short-lived technology craze in the early 1990s. Three-dimensional simulations enabled by special eyewear are expected to be a key in the this week in San Francisco.
While Microsoft is expected to unveil DirectX 12 a new report suggests the Redmond software giant may have something to unveil in the ’3-D’ space as well. The Wall Street Journal reports:
Microsoft has also developed 3-D virtual-reality devices, people familiar with the project say, and it has filed at least one patent for it so far.
The software company has been developing the technology concurrently with a project known as “Fortaleza,” or “fortress” in Portuguese. The effort has been discussed as an attempt at creating a suite of experiences unique to Microsoft’s Xbox products, people who have been privy to discussions say.
At least one iteration of Microsoft’s technology was based on a concept known as “augmented reality,” which often superimposes animation on a display along with images of the real world, people familiar with the project have said. Devices like the Oculus goggles, by contrast, show only computer-generated images.
We have known for quite some time now that Microsoft has revamped its wearable technology unit. It is rumored to be headed by Alex Kipman and in October of last year we reported that Microsoft was already testing prototypes of a Google glass like wearable device.
Nevertheless, competition for Microsoft will be quite stiff in an increasingly crowded space. Sony already sells Personal 3-D Viewer” headset, which it styles as a way to enjoy movies and games without a TV screen. It currently retails at a $1000. Sony recently unveiled “Project Morpheus,” a virtual reality system it says will pair with the PS4 to immerse players in the virtual worlds in which they’re playing. Of course there is also Oculus Rift, a similar concept that is designed to work PCs.
It is difficult to say whether 3D and/or virtual reality will see long term success with gamers. It may come and go as fad just like it did for flat-panel TVs. However, it is something Microsoft must clearly attempt to compete in.
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