Saturday, June 19, 2010

Project Natal: Kinetic Motion Sensing System Unveiled!

Turns out the whole industry could ripple with Microsoft's new motion-sensing technology.  I presume it was created to compete with the Wii, as it was initially developed to attach to the Xbox.

The author of the article didn't once compare it to the Wii though, which I find odd.  Perhaps the technology is different than I'd thought?

Turns out the first article wasn't very informative, because it didn't say anything about why Microsoft's technology is leaps ahead of the Wii:  it requires NOTHING to operate!  That's right, absolutely no hand held electronic controller of any kind.

According to this article, Project Natal has facial and voice recognition, can react to audio commands, and, most importantly, various kinds of movement recognition.  For example, players can grip an imaginary steering wheel for racing games.

Even better for consumers, this is an addon for the current 360 system, so they don't have to go out and buy anything totally new.  This makes me speculate about PC games as well... with the right adapter, could people one day mount this device on their laptop and play this way anywhere?  (Granted, using such large movements for such a small screen might be awkward, but who knows?)

I think it might be safe to say that console-based game companies who develop for the Xbox platform may enjoy a boost over PC games (like Shanda and to some extent Activision Blizzard).

HOWEVER, I dug to find out that Shanda is dissatisfied with its current "EZ" platform and is looking to mirror the Xbox.   (This is supposedly due to China's restrictions on the Xbox, and rampant piracy.)  I find it just as likely then that they will also seek to develop their own version of Project Natal.  (Reference here.)

I wish I knew the timeframe this would happen.  The Fox article called it a potential homerun of the decade, which makes me guess it will be out before the end of 2010!

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