Electronics giant Philips has made its first significant move back into the video games market since its markedly unsuccessful CD-i multimedia player of the early ‘90s, announcing the distinctly unconventional amBX “sensory surround experience” range of peripherals, which will provide gamer developers with the ability to use light, colour, sound, heat and even airflow in the real world during gameplay.
Incorporating a scripting language, software engine and architecture, amBX has been designed to work through enabled devices such as LED color-controlled lights, active furniture, fans, heaters, audio and video, which are all placed in the user's room. amBX aims to provide the support framework for peripheral manufacturers to develop enabled products, with users also able to author and share their own personal amBX set-ups online.
amBX is intended to be compatible with both Wi-Fi and BlueTooth technology, with devices within a location acting as parts of a “browser” for the user to manipulate manually or for a game to operate automatically. Philips intends to expand the technology for use with home cinema and music, but appears to be concentrating on video games as a first step. As such the company is currently in talks with a number of developers and peripheral manufacturers, and will be officially launching the technology in May 2006, presumably at the E3 Expo in Los Angeles.
"For games creators this is a fantastic opportunity: amBX expands the immersive experience by bringing the real world environment into the gameplay," said, Jo Cooke, chief marketing officer, Philips amBX. "The creative possibilities, using this technology, for the games industry and beyond are immense."