MS brings Project Natal to gamers' senses in Xmas 2010
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. ®
Site needs you to download silverlight first.
Which might the major objective of this after all.
The concept actually looks *very* impressive. A system allowing motion capture, motion tracking, facial (and expression) recognition, voice (and tone) recognition and gesture recognition seems too good to be true.
This being Microsoft I guarentee it *is* too good to be true. The Xbox add on which runs it will need some serious processing power to handle those.
@ Stef 4
Yes that was a rather odd couple. Not sure she'd pass an eCRB check.
No doubt this will suggest a range of deeply inappropriate games, but remember that even *cartoon* depictions of underage persons will be a criminal offense in the UK.
Think it's time to dump silverlight. I don't think anything else I look at uses it.
Thumbs up for the concept. Thumbs down for the likely implementation and WTF is it with the MS code name selector? Does anyone doubt the headline of disappointed gamers being "Post natal depression" ?
I seem to be one of the few people who doesn't want Natal added to retrofitted games. So far I have seen the video of the Burnout demo. So I need to stand in my living room with my hands held out in front of me holding an invisible steering wheel. That will be fun for all of 3 minutes, and I have good upper body strength. It could detect brakes and gas pedal, but where is my nitro?
How do I trigger the time rewind in other racing games?
Natal will only work for games and apps that were designed form the start to use Natal and its capabilities/limitations. I can't see Crackdown 2 using it, as I run and jump around my living room scaling imaginary buildings.
There will allegedly be some gesture control for Fable 3. That could work out very nicely. But why haven't more people questioned the bloody awful video where a 30 year old woman grooms a 12 year old boy? So Natal can tell that she is looking apprehensive can it? And what would have happened if she'd put a copy of Heat magazine on top of the screen instead of the piece of paper? I'm guessing the video would have carried on regardless, pretending to be interactive.
No Forcefeedback is so last-gen apparently.. Thats what the Xbots told me...
Personally, I think Natal will suck badly. The Sony controller (whatever it is called these days) has so much more potential.
.... M$ are hoping to convert all the wii users then with old games and and intuitive control system?
The last barrier to gaming is... the controller? Is this a barrier in the same way a steering wheel is a barrier to driving? Controllers are a means to interact with a game, they are not 'barriers'. Natal will just be another form of controller, requiring hardware and no doubt calibration, and its likely many people will prefer the old 'barrier' method of control after trying to play a game via motion sensing :)