Philips is bringing a whole new level of immersion to video gaming by rigging up fans, speakers and lights to your PC. The design could change slightly before launch, but this compact system includes a rumble-pad, lights, fans and a multichannel speaker set-up.
The idea is that whatever is happening in-game is replicated by the hardware: if you’re walking through a lush jungle, lights will bathe your walls with a deep green tinge; if you’re flying a biplane, you’ll feel the engine rumbling and a fan will blow in your face to simulate the wind rushing by.
Ludicrous as it sounds, it works – tests have shown users are left suitably impressed by the newly unveiled peripherals, which hook straight up to your PC. It’s surprisingly uncluttered: you rest your arms on a vibrating “rumble-pad” while the lights are incorporated into speakers and the fans are mercifully compact.
This hardware will go on sale before the end of year, with a basic package costing around £100 (you’ll be able to add extra speakers, lights and fans later on). By this time there will be several PC games with full amBX support on sale, including a major racing title. Philips has deals with two big name games publishers in the offing, and will also be licensing out the technology to other hardware manufacturers.
And with the technology also coming to the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 next year, it looks like there are big things in store for amBX. Watch this space for more info.