The acquisition of Israel’s 3DV Systems by Microsoft has been rumoured for a few weeks, but confirmation was given today at the annual press conference of Microsoft’s R&D Center in Israel, one of Microsoft’s four strategic regional development centers. The announcement comes just a few days after the Antitrust Authority approved the deal.
As reported by Globes, Moshe Lichtman, Microsoft corporate vice president and head of Israel R&D said:
“Fourteen development projects are taking place at the center today, twelve of them completely new and destined to become Microsoft products in new markets… the R&D center helped Microsoft in buying the intellectual property of 3DV Systems, and in the wake of that dozens of the company’s employees were recruited to work at the development center.”
The announcement is linked to Project Natal, a new Microsoft gaming system that lets the user control games through body movement and words. It’s like a Nitendo Wii on steroids, eliminating the need for a joystick and adding voice recognition. Sounds familiar? That’s because it is believed that Microsoft is using 3DV Systems’ patented technology as well as technology developed by Israel’s Prime Sense, a sensor that tracks and reacst to user movements outside the computer. 3DV Natal was revealed two weeks ago at the E3 games exhibition.
Watch the video (it’s awesome):
The new system will be compatible with every Xbox, but its cost remains a mystery.
In January, Microsoft – Israel R&D Center has laid off 50 of its 600 employees, after experiencing rapid growth since it was created three years ago. Today, the center is regarded as Microsoft’s third largest in the world. It currently has 14 R&D projects under development primarily in security and telecommunications. 12 of the projects are new potential products for the software giant.
In the press conference, Mr Lichtman mentioned a few of the developments, including a new area of focus: online. Microsoft plans to leverage the acquisition of Israeli advertising company Yadata made 18 months ago, in order to help contribute to the agressive revenue goals from online advertising, a quarter of the company’s total revenue.