Mircosoft's Illumiroom augmented reality program is a "research project" that is not explicitly linked to the next-generation Xbox, according to Microsoft Research's Brett Jones.
A demo for the program, released yesterday, states Illumiroom "envisions a next-generation gaming console." Speaking with The Verge, Microsoft researcher Hrvoje Benko stated the program is "purely a research project" at this time, and that use of the phrase "next-generation gaming console" is not a direct reference to the next Xbox, set to be unveiled next month. According to Benko, the phrase rather points to hardware "five or ten years" in the future.
Both Benko and Microsoft Research's Brett Jones acknowledged the team working on Illumiroom have had a "dialogue going on continuously" with the product teams for Xbox and Kinect. Illumiroom will again be shown in a public demo in July at the Siggraph computer graphics conference.
Jones said he does not see Illumiroom as one of the Rift's direct competitors, stating it creates a very different experience. For example Illumiroom, unlike the Oculus Rift, allows him to "have a beer while [he plays] Halo."
"We believe IllumiRoom has a number of advantages," he said. "It enables augmented reality gaming, not just virtual reality, and it enables a shared experience, so you can see and interact with the player sitting next to you."