In 2012, Microsoft Research lifted the wraps on its experimental “Illumiroom” project, which promised to extend game and computer visuals far beyond the confines of a TV screen. The 2013 demo video is definitely worth checking out, but just in case you forget, entire walls can be covered in lights or graphics that match a video game – and all users needed was, you know, an expensive , all-encompassing projector.
As a result, the project has yet to surface at the consumer level, but its simpler, more immersive promise has already been fulfilled by gaming modders who have found an alternative path to game-synchronized lighting: Philips Hue. That Wi-Fi-enhanced lighting system allows games and apps to control the intensity and color of your lights, whether it’s a smart home style, “turn them on when I get home” capability or, in the case of unofficial Minecraft mods, change a house’s bulb colors to reflect the current game world.
That Minecraft mods have only offered general color-sweep bulb updates, meaning Wednesday’s announcement of official Hue integration in a video game makes a little more sense. The indie co-op puzzle game wagon now includes a Philips Hue setting in the Xbox One version, meaning the game can take control of how many Hue-enabled lights there are in the house and adjust their colors and intensity on the fly. In addition to general color changes for new zones, the game also sends explosive effects across your lamp network when needed.
As the video above shows, the effects are timed and seem more immersive as a result, although no one at Ars owns a Hue lighting rig to test the game. wagon developer Frima confirmed on Twitter that “at this time” Hue integration is exclusive to the Xbox One version of the game, while neither Philips nor Microsoft have announced any plans to integrate Hue with other games.
This news follows last year’s announcement that Hue is teaming up with the deliberately terrible Sharknado movies, in which the companies asked viewers to connect their television and lights to the SyFy Sync app for an in-movie light show.