In addition to unveiling its three-monitor Frankenstein laptop, Razer this week also introduced Project Ariana, a projection system the company says is designed for total immersion gaming. I got to see a live demo of the concept here at CES, and it’s as cool as it sounds.
Project Ariana is meant to complement your existing Razer setup, taking advantage of the company’s Chroma platform to completely cover your room in your favorite games. Razer showed off a demo of Shadow Warrior 2, which looks incredible on its own. But when used in conjunction with Ariana, the experience is elevated to the next level.
The whole goal is to tap into Chroma and provide ambience for the experience in front of you. In the Ariana demo room, the main focus was on the TV mounted on the wall. Once Ariana was turned on, the projector’s 155-degree fisheye lens bathed the entire wall with Shadow Warrior 2.
Seeing Ariana in action gave off the impression that the game had escaped from beyond the TV’s borders. Playing a game like Shadow Warrior 2, which is fast paced and action-oriented, worked perfectly with Ariana, providing an immersive experience you can’t get with a normal setup.
Although Ariana projects at 4K, seeing images stretched across a wall looked about as good as you’d expect. Which is to say, not amazing but not bad. The whole point of Ariana is to immerse gamers in the game in front of them, and it certainly succeeds at doing that.
You’ll need the right setup
How much a person gets out of Ariana will really depend on what their setup is like at home. In the demo, Razer set up a desk with a PC about ten feet in front of a TV, with Ariana mounted directly above the desk. There were also lights set up around the room that used Razer’s Chroma technology, adding to the overall experience.
“This is the future of Razer Chroma as we see it,” said Razer co-founder and CEO Min-Liang Tan. “We are working toward new video projection technology designed to place users in their games for total gaming immersion. Having a game literally surround a gamer completes the entire ecosystem of gaming, bridging the sensor gap between player and game.”
If you’re not quiet sold on the whole VR thing, Ariana might be a worthwhile alternative. You get a similar level of immersion without strapping a bulky headset to your face. But that’s assuming Razer turns Ariana into a product consumers can buy.
Right now, the company wants to gauge how much interest there is in the concept. If consumers demand it, we might see it released at some point in the future. Based on what I saw, I wouldn’t mind having one of these in my living room the next time I play Outlast. Oh god, that sounds terrifying.