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MS brings Project Natal to gamers' senses in Xmas 2010

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Project Natal, Microsoft motion sensing technology for the Xbox 360, will ship in the "holiday season" in 2010, the company said yesterday. Non-Americans, that translates into a probable late November launch date.

Natal is a 20cm-or-so long sensor bar that attaches to the XBox 360, probably by USB, that enables you to play games without using a handheld controller, It senses the physical movements of the game and translates this into in-game actions. Stand in front of Natal and lean left, for example, and you could steer a snowboard left onscreen.

"The aim is to create technology that works exactly how you expect it to work", Robbie Bach, president of Microsoft's entertainment and devices division, said in a CES keynote yesterday. "It’s about removing the last barrier to gaming – the controller".

Key launch information, such which countries Natal will appear in first how much it will cost, and what games it will work with, remain under wraps.

Tune into Microsoft's Project Natal website for more details on how it works.

XBox 360 gaming

In his CES keynote, Bach ran through the Xbox 360 release lineup for 2010. This includes Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell; Conviction; Crackdown 2; Mass Effect 2; Alan Wake; Fable 3; and "what will likely be the biggest game of the year", Halo Reach.

This year Microsoft also launches an Xbox Live-based downloadable retro gaming catalogue called Game Room, a “place to relive the glory days of arcade games”.

Titles - including Millipede and Space Armada - will cost between $3 and $5 (£3.10/€3.50) to download and keep. Cheaper ‘pay-per-play’ options will also be available. ®

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