Microsoft already has one of the best gaming systems around with Xbox 360 gaming console. With Xbox Live it also has one of the best online gaming services. Zune is great music player so far, but Microsoft has plans to transform it into a mobile gaming platform.
And the recent Microsoft patent filing called “Multi-component gaming system” shows how it will bring it all together into an ultimate networked gaming nirvana. Here’s how this system will work:
Any device that has CPU, memory, appropriate connection interface and necessary software, will be able connect to the system. The device can be your portable Zune player, PDA Phone running Windows Mobile x.0, Xbox 360 Elite, your Vista Laptop or Desktop PC, or a Windows XP server running in your basement. It can even be your friends pocket PC connected via 4G network.
The devices can be connected via any wired or wireless interface, e.g. Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, LAN, UWB, USB, Firewire docking station.
When connected, all of these devices become a component of a single system and are able to share all of their resources and features with each other. Thus you and your friend can use your Windows Mobile Smartphones to control XBox 360 game that is streamed to your big plasma TV through the Media Center in the living room, while the special sound effects are delivered to the surround sound system from your docked Zune media player.
The key here is the software that allows for the seamless connection and sharing of processing, memory , storage, connectivity and other resources among all the components (devices) connected to the system.
Microsoft gives a number of very interesting examples how this system can be used:
- console gaming device can be processing a game application provided by a handheld gaming device
- handheld gaming device can use the console gaming device’s spare memory to store results of previous games
- handheld device can comprise at least one flash memory compatible port and the console gaming device 44 can comprise at least one Universal Serial Bus (USB) compatible port.When combined, the flash memory compatible port(s) are available to the console gaming device 44 via its USB compatible port(s) thus increasing game console memory capacity
- one of the input/output ports of the console gaming device 42 can be coupled to a large screen display and another of the console gaming device’s 42 input/output ports can be coupled to a home theater audio system. Accordingly, the video and audio of a game being played on the handheld gaming device 40 can be rendered on the large screen display and the home theater system, respectively, via the console gaming device 42
- handheld gaming device 40 can comprise sound effects for displayed objects, but not-include Doppler for objects in motion. Another handheld gaming device 38 can comprise a library of Doppler sound effects for object in motion. When combined, one handheld gaming device 40 can download other handheld gaming device’s 38 Doppler sound effect library to enhance it’s sound effects.
- if console gaming device does not have enough power to process 3 pictures for Picture in Picture functionality, it can offload the processing for two pictures to the handheld gaming devices, therein utilizing the them as adjunct processors
- gaming components can provide updates and/or modifications to other gaming components in combination.
- non-gaming applications on a gaming component can be controlled by another gaming component in combination. For example, the handheld gaming device can be used to control music playback on the console gaming device.
There are a lot more possible combinations and functions for the integrated gaming system described in the patent application.
And if it is really implemented in the future, you might find yourself playing Halo on your fridge screen in the kitchen, while having breakfast at the same time.
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