Project Natal – Xbox 360 Motion ControllerWritten by Simon Barker on June 2, 2009 · Filed under Games
Microsoft has announced their Xbox Project Natal system, a full body motion control system which we were speculating about in the run-up to E3, so it’s nice to see that not only did they announce their answer to the Nintendo Wii motion control system, but one that would certainly appear from the demonstration/concept videos to go well beyond it!
It’s been around 2 years or more since I first started thinking “why don’t Microsoft just come up with a Wii remote-style controller? – surely it’s not that hard to do?” Well it would appear that they had larger plans for their Xbox 360 console than simply copying the Wii!
Assuming this all works as it appeared to in the concept videos below when it’s finally released (which they hope it will and are apparently not far off from now), not only have they removed the need to hold a controller altogether, opened up and made the movement sensors much more accurate and precise, but will also be providing a system which can interpret what it sees, recognise and respond appropriately!
Since there is no controller required for this system, so how does it work? Well Microsoft are using some custom technology including a 3D depth camera that also uses facial and voice recognition all integrated into a single small box which is placed above or below your TV.
A system such as the Xbox Project Natal full body motion controller could not only provide true competition to the Nintendo Wii in the casual/party gaming market (with vastly better graphics thanks to the Xbox 360 superior hardware), but also offer developers the chance to really innovate in terms of the types of games we might see in the coming years – just take a look at what Peter Molyneux’s Lionhead studios have done in just a few months with their Project Natal – “Milo” Artificial Intelligence – does anyone else think that Fable 3 or 4 will be using this technology given half the chance?
No word on when we can expect to see this in our living rooms just yet, so it’ll be 2010 at very earliest, however perhaps this will help to extend the life of the current Xbox 360 console as interestingly Microsoft have said:
“Natal will work with every Xbox 360 we’ve sold and every Xbox in the future. We can leap into the future of interactive entertainment without launching a new console.”
Anyway, enough of me trying to put this into words, just take a look at the following videos about the Xbox Project Natal full motion controller, see what you think to this and then leave a comment below, do you think this could be an important step for the future of gaming, especially for the casual gaming market that Nintendo seem to have sewn up right now, should this have Nintendo worried about their successful Wii drying up? Can Microsoft beat them at their own game?
UPDATE: The Project Natal release date and price have been announced, we were somewhat surprised by them, take a look and see what you think!
Xbox Project Natal Video
Peter Molyneux Talks Project Natal (E3 2009)
Via – Eurogamer