Today I was invited by Philips to check out their upcoming amBX technology for PC gamers -- they are also in talks to bring this to consoles in the future -- and see what the fuss was all about concerning this light and feel system they have set up. Due out in January 2007, Philips' amBX speaker and light system could be the next real step in game immersion.
The basics are this: You have glowing lights corresponding to what is happening on your screen, both next to you and behind your monitor; there are also fans that will blow air and varying speeds depending on the situation; and, there will also be a rumble pad that can be placed right in front of your keyboard, where you'd put one of those carpel tunnel pads.
Right now, the technology is more of a middleware solution and Philips is actually offering it up for free to publishers and developers to use. While the system is being utilized for only a few games at the moment, the whole thing (besides the fans) will work with current titles. One of those that I got to test out was Far Cry. I must say, even though the game wasn't designed with amBX in mind, the experience was still rather intense. In fact, when they turned off the lights, I had already felt as if I was missing something.
Bottomline, if you're an intense PC gamer, you may want to look into this amBX thing once it drops next year. What's more enticing is the fact that this technology could come to next-gen consoles as well and after experiencing this first hand, I'm actually hoping it does.
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