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In an attempt to bring virtual world’s out of games and into user’s room, Philips has designed amBX technology that can use light, colour, sound, heat and even airflow in the real world during gameplay.

Graphics in computer games as well as rendering quality in the latest movies impress pretty much, but the boundaries of the virtual worlds are often limited to the size of computer or TV screen. In a bid to offer users even higher realism, Philips has developed its amBX technology that brings games or movies directly into the room by using advanced lights, heaters, fans and even furniture. On the one hand, this may force consumers to stick to Philips’ products, but on the other hand will require tremendous efforts from Philips to push the amBX technology so that game developers and movie makers would utilize it.

“For video game creators this is a fantastic opportunity as amBX expands the immersive experience by bringing gameplay into the real world environment. The creative possibilities, using this technology, for the games industry and beyond are immense,” said Jo Cooke, chief marketing officer, Philips amBX.

The result of extensive research and development, amBX delivers an all-new player experience through enabled devices – such as LED color-controlled lights, active furniture, fans, heaters, audio and video – strategically placed in the user’s room. By utilizing this technology, the treacherous journey through the Amazon will turn a room jungle green, swimming with dolphins will splash it deep blue, 'Halo' jumps will turn fans on full, lightning storms will trigger strobe effects of white light and pirate ships on fire off the coast of treasure island will blast on the heaters, Philips indicated.

The amBX experience comes alive through the incorporation of a scripting language, software engine and hardware architecture. Philips amBX provides the support framework for peripheral manufacturers to develop these enabled products and empowers game developers to amBX-enable and enhance their games.

Through amBX, Philips has forged a common language for the creation, distribution and sharing of totally new experiences within an “Ambient Intelligent Environment”. It is unclear whether it is going to take game developers a lot of time to optimize their games for the amBX environments. Given that amBX will hardly become a widespread technology shortly, fewer game developers will be interested in adopting it for titles.

Philips said it was “in the advanced stages of talks” with several game developers and peripheral manufacturers regarding amBX-enabling leading games and devices. The amBX technology will be launched in May 2006, while amBX-enabled games and peripherals will arrive in Q4 of next year.

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