Have you ever started up Call of Duty on your PC and thought “I really wish this game could be somehow projected over every surface in front of me, while I was still playing it on a monitor, being watched by an unblinking mechanical eye”? If so, gaming company Razer is here to fulfill your oddly specific desires. Project Ariana is a prototype video projector meant to provide ambience through Razer’s Chroma system, which also powers those color-shifting lights in Razer’s keyboards and mice. It’s a concept with no price or release date, but we’ll be able to check it out at this year’s CES.
Razer confirmed to us that Project Ariana can be used as an ordinary 4K projector, but that’s not its primary purpose. Instead, it’s supposed to give the impression of extending your monitor across an entire room. It uses a 155-degree fisheye lens and two depth-sensing cameras, which let Ariana detect things like furniture and tweak the image to avoid distortion. If you don’t want to see Overwatch on your wall, there’s also an ambient mode that projects colors instead.
Leaving aside any questions about the image quality — which we’ll hopefully be able to gauge this week — Project Ariana’s usefulness would seem to depend a lot on your living situation. I’m not sure where the average person sets up their gaming PC, but I’m guessing that despite Razer’s press shot above, it’s not “on a chairless low table in the middle of their living room.” Would a projected image still look cool if your desk is stuffed in the corner of a cluttered bedroom? In a shared space, would entirely taking over its lighting test the patience of even a tolerant partner or roommate?
To some extent, these questions are irrelevant. Project Ariana is a showcase for Razer Chroma, which it’s attempting to expand beyond traditional gaming peripherals. Alongside the projector, Razer has announced that it’s letting third-party hardware makers integrate Chroma into products, with partners including Lenovo, Antec, and lighting panel company Nanoleaf. In the end, people might end up preferring something like Chroma-linked smart lighting to detailed images. But if you’re in the market for a projector, maybe we’ll see Ariana show up as a finished product at next year’s CES.