Microsoft Launches ‘IllumiRoom’ Gaming Innovation

Here’s some news that ought to elate gaming devotees, especially those owing allegiance to Microsoft. The global software behemoth has just announced “IllumiRoom,” a breakthrough and new-age gaming concept to significantly revolutionize home game play.

The ensuing roundup sheds more “light” on this latest gaming invention:

What is IllumiRoom?

IllumiRoom, which was launched a few days back at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2013 in Las Vegas, essentially expands the gaming display beyond users’ monitors and onto the walls of the gaming room. Since IllumiRoom actually does “illuminate rooms,” it really does live up to its portmanteau name.

IllumiRoom harnesses Kinect, Microsoft’s motion-detecting input contrivance for the Xbox 360 gaming console, and combines it with a projector to render projected graphics in a room. Through IllumiRoom, the software major intends to furnish users with an exceedingly immersive playing experience seamlessly harmonizing both corporal and virtual domains.

Formulation and Development Team

IllumiRoom is the result of Microsoft’s continuing efforts following the invention of their proprietary immersive portrayal knowhow that was formulated in 2012. The ultimate aim, as hinted at earlier, is to provide users with highly lifelike game play eradicating occasionally unfocussed visuals emanating from conventional TVs and monitors.

IllumiRoom was designed and developed by a highly proficient in-house team composed of Andy Wilson, Research Manager of the project; Eyal Ofek, senior researcher; Hrvoje Benko, assistant researcher; and Brett Jones, intern.

IllumiRoom Functionalities

As indicated earlier, IllumiRoom takes Kinect’s web camera facilities to identify the structure of the user’s room and relay embedded visuals onto areas surrounding the gaming screen. According to Microsoft, IllumiRoom has the quality to:

a) Dramatically modify the room’s look

b) Bring about “apparent motion”

c) Increase the scope of view

In addition, IllumiRoom relays the graphics in real-time thus obviating the necessity to previously tweak the visual dynamics.

To highlight the features of IllumiRoom, the software major brought out a short video at CES 2013 bereft of factitious special effects and professed as a live recording. The video clip depicts graphics such as bullets, fire, establishments, cosmic formations, and weather elements displayed by IllumiRoom in a particular room. Moreover, the graphics appear to quiver underlying the “apparent motion” aspect.

Initial Impressions

IllumiRoom certainly has the potential to become extremely popular with homes and family users given the novel facets entrenched in the system. The displayed images, the enveloping sound, the advanced technology – they all can play a significant role in heightening the overall user experience. Further, the concept could greatly complement the well-known gaming functionalities of Xbox 360 and Kinect systems; if at all the latter systems are tweaked to work with IllumiRoom.

However some observers are more skeptical. They point out that intense game play would surely induce fatigue. In addition, newer competing technologies are on the anvil and these could soon make IllumiRoom redundant. Further, doubts have been raised regarding the quality of images with analysts stating that room furniture could render considerable display impediments. Finally, observers look upon the projector accompaniment with suspicion citing inevitable operational issues and the exorbitant price of high-quality projectors as deterrents. The observers opine that Microsoft would do well to address these concerns before IllumiRoom’s official retail release.


There can be no denying IllumiRoom’s revolutionary potential. Microsoft seems to assert that the CES introduction was solely to whet the appetite of gaming aficionados and more information would be forthcoming at the ACM SIGCHI symposium in Paris during April 2013. If IllumiRoom’s declared specifications are indeed borne out and if the price is right, the same aficionados will be more than game!

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