First reported as a rumor, Microsoft now stands to acquire 3DV Systems for the relatively small sum of $35 million.
3DV Systems has raised over $38 million from investors like Rafael Development Corporation and The IDB Group since its inception in 1997. Obviously this will result in a significant loss for the investors.
With the acquisition of 3DV Systems, Microsoft is looking to gain a stronger foothold in the video game console market. The company's Xbox 360 is currently in a distant second place in this generation of video game consoles behind Nintendo's Wii; a system that relies heavily on motion-based control, often considered easier for "non-gamers" to play.
Though the Xbox 360 and its nearest competitor the PlayStation 3 from Sony already have camera peripherals that can be used as control devices, the software for these has been less than stellar. The titles are always played on a 2D plane, leaving little room for innovative game design and the devices themselves are often imprecise or require excessive lighting to function.
The ZCam, which will undoubtedly be renamed by the time it is released to the public, was first announced back in 2007. It differentiates itself from the current Xbox Vision Cam, Wii Remote and PlayStation Eye by allowing users to make gesture inputs in a fully 3D space without the need to hold or wear an external input device.
The Zcam is also capable of rendering a user's own 3D image within software in real-time. This feature could provide an unparalleled amount of realism for just about every video game genre.
Microsoft has not yet officially announced their takeover of 3DV systems, so it is unclear if they will incorporate the technology into the Xbox 360 or wait until it's next-generation console debuts in a couple of years.
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