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?