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“Project Fortaleza” – Microsoft’s Oculus Rift?

by William Schwartz

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A couple of months ago, a supposed leaked document outlined a number of facts and features about Microsoft’s next generation console. Quite a few aspects of the document have since been proved to be false, such as the name and price of the machine, mentioned as ‘Xbox 720’ and ‘$299’.

However, the article included a mention of ‘Project Fortaleza’, which was supposedly Microsoft’s gaming version of Google Glass, and a patent submitted by Microsoft in January 2013 for a device similar to the Oculus Rift has recently been revealed. The patent application details a head-mounted gaming display for a multiplayer gaming system in the form of a pair of glasses.

Possible features of the glasses include cameras that can detect depth, that include facial recognition and  that can track someone’s eyes as well as a microphone, all of which has been shown to be on the Kinect 2.0.

The news that the patented glasses won’t be tied to the Xbox One is both interesting and worrying. Though it opens the door for hands-free actions, voice commands and sending game invites as the application suggests, the downside is that that could well be the primary use of the device. Fortaleza may not see any decent gaming applications, and become another gimmick-y peripheral that hardcore gamers don’t even look at. It is noted however, that Microsoft plans to do delve deeper into its possibilities.

It’s worth noting that the document refers to Microsoft’s next-gen console as the ‘Xbox 720’, and the Kinect was initially called ‘Project Natal’ back in 2009 when it was revealed at E3, so don’t be surprised if the name ‘Fortaleza’ isn’t one that sticks.

‘Project Fortaleza’ is supposed to have a 2014 release.

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