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Microsoft rumored to have put Project Fortaleza augmented reality glasses on hold

If you were expecting Microsoft to unveil something more substantial than just games on E3 2014, especially when Sony was showing off new tech demos for its Project Morpheus virtual reality visor, well, you must have been disappointed. Brace yourself then, for this rumor is going to disappoint more.

From last year's leaked patent, we learned that Microsoft has been brewing a new peripheral for Xbox One: an augmented reality spectacle codenamed "Project Fortaleza." However, things have been eerily quiet on that front ever since that initial leak. Microsoft has neither confirmed nor denied the existence of such technology, and there is no update even from rumor mills. Now citing insider sources, Chinese site WPDang is reporting that Microsoft has "temporarily canceled" the device.

We assume that means Project Fortaleza is put on hold, instead of gone for good. The reason, according to the source, has entirely nothing to do with technology implementation. Microsoft "has no problem at all in the development of the device," however, a fair portion of the patented technologies involved do not belong to Microsoft itself. It's the necessary licensing reportedly that's keeping Fortaleza from consumers. Apparently, Microsoft has licensed some of the for the second generation of the Kinect sensor, and is not allowed to use them on anything else.

While Oculus and Sony are going after virtual reality as the next breakthrough in gaming experience, from leaked information about Project Fortaleza, Microsoft seems to be pushing innovation. Instead of intercepting players' real vision and substituting with a virtual representation, apparently Fortaleza glasses enhances players' perception of the real word with make-believe visual elements, or in other words, augmenting the reality. That sounds like a better idea when the product in question is supposed to be for millions of gamers, because current virtual reality products tend to induce motion sickness on some users.

If the rumor is accurate, we certainly hope Microsoft navigates through the murky water of patent licensing sooner rather than later. If IllumiRoom is not happening, at least let us have Fortaleza, please?

Source: WPDang

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Reader comments

Microsoft rumored to have put Project Fortaleza augmented reality glasses on hold

42 Comments

I hope they re-evaluate the implementation. If they could get it to work across all of their ecosystem as a standard interface option, it could see greater adoption. Using it across the entire ecosystem makes more sense than having it just useful in one scenario like Google's or Sony's implementations. If Microsoft can get it working where it automatically pairs with workstations I'm logged into, it would have that much more use.  I hate having to wait, but hopefully they have a much broader implementation. Also by delaying they may be creating useful apps for Fortazella, which Kinect is lacking other than Skype Use and some voice navigation.

Honest question, what killer non-gaming use do you envision?

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imo, may be leave the messaging apps on them or allow apps to have "floating" copies of text on the peripheral that you can overlay to another document to find differences between them or may be lyrics to songs when your listening to the music while hacking away at the keyboard...

No they just should have bought prime sense instead of listening Kinect and letting apple buy them. Fortalezza would have been the bd3d solution. It could have been san hud in your face with no in game hud. Etc. Loss

this whole article is all about how they dont want to go a step beyond... they're halting development...

My reply was for causing a brain fart ;) Its a bad rumor. I don't think its a licensing problem at all. Microsoft knowing, they are pretty quik in acting on problems. And for now, there is no reason to reveal anything to the public. With that said. No doubt it will use Kinect. And that's a step beyond what the rest is doing. I don't expect it this and the next year besides prototypes. Since Cloud azure gaming is the big thing right now.

Maybe one day we'll get an Illumiroom and Fortaleza glasses combo. Something right out of Spike Jonze's movie "Her." I'd much rather be immersed in my own surroundings than put on a sweaty helmet and wave around two big glow sticks.

I can't see them releasing anything like this in the near future. Do people really want a collection of expensive accessories that don't do that much. The kinect is a great example of some really good hardware that doesn't actually translate into a lot of games. At the end of the day sitting on your bum with a controller and bog tv is the best position for playing.

Now if the want to make their own version of the vita with remote play then id buy that immediately.

Its not just Sony with Remote Play... Steam and Wii U have similar streaming to a 2ndary device feature. Lets think about that for a moment. EVERY competitor to the Xbox One have this feature. If halting VR means MS focusing on having features their peers do, then I got no problem with it. I'm giving MS until 2015 to show something...

I'm not expecting to see anything about this next year besides prototype's. Or maybe just nothing at all. On the gaming side. Focus is more on making cloud Gen games big. Like crackdown 3

I dont know, i find it hard to believe that we will be playing any games with a helmet on our heads anytime soon.  Also, the pricing will be high as well, i dont see this being mainstream anytime soon.  Great innovation, but not sure if it will pan out.  Same with 3d everything, i just dont see people wanting to play games with glasses on and essentially they dont not since Sony's investment in 3d hasn't panned out at all. 

Just my opinion

augmented reality would probably only be better for casual gamers... the kind of gamers who wouldn't spend a lot of money on a head-worn peripheral.
how many non-casual games are going to encorperate significant parts of the real world into their games? they're going to want to have full control of your world.

I love augmented reality, but for AAA titles it would suck.

really, it was the ONE THING I thought they were ahead of everybody else backw when the leaks started. I guess MSFT still affraid to lead.

I'm not surprised.  Augmented reality has a very very long way to go.  That concept art that makes you think 'darth vader vision' is nowhere near possible with current see through displays.  If you want to see what is possible with augmented reality, look no further than google glass.  The google glass display i better than what we had 4 years ago but it has a long way before it is practical or fun.

I think MS is realized this and is doing a 180 to jump on the VR bandwagon- and rightly so.  VR is reaching a breaking point right now.

 

I think its good that they canceled this. Satya is reading the market correctly. Augmented reality is irrelevant to 99% of gamers who game at home. Who walks around town looking for strangers to play with through their gaming goggles? This would be especially sad considering how few people will buy it. Who would you play with? The next thing is VR. Why Microsoft didn't buy Oculus is beyond me, Nadella came to late.

I read a game informer article in which oculus rift mentioned having several companies that contacted them in an attempt to buy them. But all of these companies wanted to change oculus rift into something for themselves. Supposedly facebook was the only one willing to let them keep doing what they have been doing. Keep their people, with more money to develop better tech. How true this is, dunno. But its what I read. Perhaps Microsoft was one of those companies.

VR as it stands now is NOT the next big thing. Very few people will want to put that bulky thing on their head and I guarantee motion sickness will be a big blocking factor. Microsoft knows this and they will release Kinect Glass at right time.

 

Ooops, I violated my NDA!

I'm patiently waiting for castAR. It projects images onto retro reflective material allowing for many gaming experiences in addition to expanded desktop implementations. In addition it has a clip on that gives you augmented reality without the need for the special material with the added bulk. Then you can flip down visors and turn them into vr goggles like the oculus rift. So in reality its a 3-in-1 product. Its also being designed to get powered from your smartphone as well as computers and possibly consoles. Plus I have a crush on Jeri Ellsworth, because she's awesome. Check em out. http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=GpmKq_qg3Tk