Project Natal


Dabba Dooba
Political Access
29 Jul 2002
Pretty cool stuff

After a bunch of (mostly) expected games, Microsoft's E3 press conference finally revealed something of greater interest and scope: Project Natal, the code name for the company's well-rumored motion-sensing bar.
Taking a direct shot at Wii users who "sit on the sofa using some kind of preset waggle commands," Natal is controller-free, using what looks like a TV-mounted camera/microphone bar to sense motion, sound, and even 3D movement, suggesting that the technology involved is far beyond that of products like Sony's PlayStation Eye.

Project Natal is going to work with all current, past, and future versions of the Xbox 360, according to the press event. While the wide-open excitement of the initiative was refreshing, the fact that Natal has no official name, price or release date was disappointing. In fact, it was called a concept for the future.
As if the legitimacy of Microsoft's move had not been validated yet, on came Steven Spielberg to rave about this future direction for game technology, claiming that "people are too intimidated to pick up game controllers." This makes sense, but it's already been proven with the Nintendo Wii and the iPhone. Microsoft is a latecomer to this party, but Spielberg did announce that he's currently working on games for this platform, although no more details were given.
Demoed at the press event were a Breakout-like game called Ricochet, which involved hitting a ball across a room to destroy bricks, and a paint program called Paint Party. Paint Party's gestural vocabulary seemed to be stuck in Jackson Pollack-land, but the simple splash-to-paint commands seemed to be relatively responsive.
Accuracy, however, remains a big question mark. Cheap shots at the Wii notwithstanding, Nintendo was smart enough to include old-fashioned buttons for quick interaction. The iPhone, too, has a quick-response tapping system. Will punches or swipes substitute for button-pressing in future Xbox-land?
The most captivating moment of the demo was Lionhead Studios and Fable designer Peter Molyneux's creation of Milo, an avatar in a game world who interacted with the player by looking in their direction, responding to live conversation, and even accepting hand-drawn messages, scanned into the game and "transferred" in real-time across the virtual looking glass.

It's compelling stuff, but every part of Natal still seems to be geared to people standing up to play. At some point, sitting on a couch should also be in Microsoft's equation.
Does this mean that E3 2010 will feature a redesigned Xbox 360 packed in with Project Natal? It seems likely enough to bet on. Until then, we'll just have to wait for more detail trickle-down.
Source: CNET
Sounds like a flop, poor MS and Sony trying to catch up with the Wii that was going to do so bad (and is now outselling them). :p
I think it looks pretty cool as a technology if it can do all the recognition. Its the type of thing I am a bit "meh" about for games but think of all the other things you could use that with in your house.
Seems kinda cool, if they go in a good direction with it and not just trying to compete with Nintendo.
Some cool snaps.


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That demo seems awful "kid like" which I thought was like saying the name of he we should not name in the Xbox/PS3 console segment; I mean since their suppose to "hardcore" and all. Funny to see a 180 when they aren't winning the self made "console war". :)
Just like the product OnLive, I think Project Natal should be used for non gaming things. Both these products would change the gaming industry in the wrong way, OnLive would destroy tech sales and and game sales, Natal is too early for our generation, but could be used for some things that aren't gaming.

For frack sakes, both those put together could be one hell of a internet browsing experience.

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