Lifelike explosions in the comfort of your home

Philips have announced they are one step closer to their new Ambx gaming system, a system that they foresee as a revolution, poised to be embraced by gamers everywhere. The system is a series of integrated environmental devices designed to interact with the home entertainment system and PC to further simulate the world of the game being played.

Philips Ambx
Philips Ambx

Imagine a game where you are trudging through the thick undergrowth of the Amazon rainforest as the lighting in your lounge room turns green or playing an underwater level in the latest Mario game as the room turns blue. Not only will lighting be dictated by the game environment but the other senses will also be stimulated, with fans simulating wind and heaters helping you really feel that explosion go off next to you.

Philips are planning to roll out its first units around May 2006 but are relying heavily on game manufacturers embracing the new technology and putting it in their games. Whether the system can extrapolate what environmental settings to simulate without the developers co-operation remains to be seen however, if it ends up working with any AV source, the applications for the technology in the realm of movie playback could be staggering.

Gamers are a weary bunch, stung many times by peripheral gimmicks, so it will be interesting to see if this system takes off. If it does, it could be a whole new level of emersion, which, when combined with the coming HD gaming era, could spell disaster for gamers who already don't get to see enough sunlight.

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Dave Jansen

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