It’s rumored that Microsoft’s next gaming system will release in time for Christmas 2013. The unofficially named Xbox 720 would be the first of the next generation consoles and could push gaming even further into the future.
Especially if new patents for which Microsoft applied come to fruition.
According to reports on PatentlyApple.com and GammaSquad.com, Microsoft has applied for patents that will turn any room into an immersive, 3D gaming experience. One of the patents pertains to an environmental display: a device that projects peripheral images on walls, couches and other objects in a room. So instead of just blasting some Covenant on the television screen, you could potentially see a Grunt or Jackal sneaking up on you from behind your La-Z-Boy.
Basically, as GammaSquad.com said, Microsoft has invented the Holodeck.
The Holodeck was a way for the writers on Star Trek: The Next Generation to create episodes set in 1940s San Francisco and Robin Hood’s Sherwood Forest without the need for even more episodes about time travel. I generally enjoyed the TNG episodes set on the Holodeck; the episodes with Professor Moriarty were particularly compelling. But I don’t know if I would really want the opportunity to completely escape this world and enter into another, immersive reality.
Even without the Holodeck people struggle to maintain connected to reality. Many nerdy exploits like video games, tabletop roleplaying games and LARPing offer nerds the opportunity to escape their own reality and immerse themselves in another. If the Xbox 720 offers an experience like the Holodeck people may find themselves even more disconnected from reality.
Since our real lives can be so difficult, the thought of escaping them in a virtual reality can be tremendously appealing. If I’m having a hard week at work and things just aren’t going my way, why not fire up my Xbox 720, throw on some virtual reality glasses and get lost in a world that I control?
God doesn’t want us run to our virtual realities when experiencing difficulties; he wants us to run to him. God allows trials in our lives because, as James says, they produce perseverance and maturity. If we simply abandon reality, though, and run to our Holodecks, we won’t grow and mature. We’ll end up wasting the opportunities we’ve been given to grow and become stunted individuals who only know success in a virtual reality.
That really is the worst-case scenario. For most people the Xbox 720’s Holodeck will be a fun diversion and not a growth-stunting escape. If the promise of these patents is fully realized, I will be the first in line to buy the components and set up my own personal Holodeck.
And I will dress like this.
How can we ensure that our fun diversions don’t become growth-stunting escapes?