bit-gamer.net

Microsoft unveils new controller, Project Natal

Microsoft unveils new controller, Project Natal

Project Natal is set to offer a new kind of gaming experience, harnessing various types of sensors and cameras.

Perhaps the biggest announcement that Microsoft made at E3 2009 yesterday was the unveiling of a new control system for the Xbox 360 - a new sensor setup called Project Natal.

Project Natal appears to be a bit far from release at the moment, but is set to combine the power of new visual and motion sensors to track player movements, voice commands and object recognition. In short, it could pave the way for an entirely form of gaming.

According to Microsoft the finished product will be able to track a number of different objects and people at once, even being able to distinguish between different voices and colours. The system is already drawing comparisons to the interfaces seen in films like Minority Report.

Development kits are said to have already been shipped to developers so, while no release date for the system has been given, a release surely can't be too far off.

The most complete demonstration given of what Natal can do came from Peter Molyneux, who unveiled a new game that Lionhead has been working on called Milo. Hailed as a breakthrough in artificial intelligence and player interactions, this is likely the project that Molyneux was claiming would change the face of gaming not to long ago. There's little way to describe it other than to say that it's a virtual boy, in a virtual world, that players can fully interact with. Expect more details on both products soon.

Is Microsoft on to something good here, or did Nintendo get there first? Let us know what you think in the forums.

20 Comments

Discuss in the forums Reply
Mentai 2nd June 2009, 12:56 Quote
Based on the demonstration video I can't see this technology as being anything other than disapointing, but that's based on how awesome Nintendo made the Wii look. If it does work as advertised, it would be better than anything Nintendo offers, as you don't need any controllers and it has more functionality.
Wonder if it will take off without being bundled in at launch though.
Jenny_Y8S 2nd June 2009, 12:58 Quote
So it's a high res eye toy with newer software? Erm... am I missing something big?

May well be cool, and will be interesting to see what people do with it, but I can't see it assisting much for the type of games people currently play.
proxess 2nd June 2009, 13:07 Quote
It's an eyetoy with a wiimote and slightly better hardware and software.
lp1988 2nd June 2009, 13:10 Quote
Quote:
it could pave the way for an entirely form of gaming.

aren't you missing a word here? entierly new form of gaming.
pimlicosound 2nd June 2009, 13:15 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jenny_Y8S
So it's a high res eye toy with newer software? Erm... am I missing something big?

Yes. It has multiple sensors, so it can detect and map your movements in full 3D. This means potential 1:1 between what you do and what your character does. It can also allow a player to reach out and "grab" elements of a user interface.

This is much more powerful than an Eye Toy, which can barely separate a human form from a static background.
Sir Digby 2nd June 2009, 13:33 Quote
Hmmm, well if Mr. Molyneux promised it then it must be true :) he's never made over-the-top promises before...

Watching the demonstration video it looks like it would be very impressive if it works though.
DXR_13KE 2nd June 2009, 14:10 Quote
project christmas? that's a nice name.....
benjamyn 2nd June 2009, 14:22 Quote
Peter Monolyuex (sp?) was showing this thing off.... so take all the claims and promises with a truckload of salt :p

Admittingly it looks interesting, i liked the idea of eyetoy but it was too simple/gimmicky. i may get this just for minority report style dashboard browsing and to play some mini games with the family :p
Skiddywinks 2nd June 2009, 14:23 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by proxess
It's an eyetoy with a wiimote and slightly better hardware and software.

What on Earth are you talking about? A wiimote? What wiimote?! And slightly better hardware?

It is a much higher definition camera, that can identify, differentiate and track multiple items or people, and looks like it will offer the 1:1 movement that pimlicosound mentioned. Imagine the Red Steel trailers, where they made it look like everything you did happened in the game, rather than the reality where all Nintendo did was replace buttons with arm waggling.

Not only that, but I think the 360 hardware is significantly more than "slightly better" than the Wii's.
mclean007 2nd June 2009, 14:32 Quote
mclean007 2nd June 2009, 14:37 Quote
...and it is all kinds of awesome.
benjamyn 2nd June 2009, 14:49 Quote
I'm interested to see how well/accurate this thing works in reality and not pre-scripted trailers/videos :P

Trailers sure made the Wii look alot more accurate than it ended up being. So I'm a little skeptical
Drexial 2nd June 2009, 14:51 Quote
Quote:
it could pave the way for an entirely form of gaming.

You the whole word, the whole thing.

I'll have to watch the video for this later tonight.
Skiddywinks 2nd June 2009, 15:14 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by benjamyn
I'm interested to see how well/accurate this thing works in reality and not pre-scripted trailers/videos :P

Trailers sure made the Wii look alot more accurate than it ended up being. So I'm a little skeptical

Exactly why I both sceptical and enthusiastic. This industry is known for failed promises, but on the flip side, I am sure MS noticed this, and will make sure they deliver everything they promise and more. In all fairness, I don't think there are any details officially released by MS about Project Natal at the moment, so it is hard to know exactly what to expect or hope for.
BioSniper 2nd June 2009, 18:05 Quote
Having watched the actual usage of it on the live stream last night it actually looks like it can do most of what it says. Best part was the demo was not without glitches so we can believe its reality rather than a "perfect" scenario.
Sure its a bit of a gimmick aimed at reclaiming some of that casual market and sure its a refinement of the eye toy but none the less, it IS interesting, specifically the usage of it in the dashboard.
zimbloggy 3rd June 2009, 00:45 Quote
I am still a bit skeptical of the voice-interaction part.
Icy EyeG 3rd June 2009, 01:14 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by DXR_13KE
project christmas? that's a nice name.....

No kidding... First Microsoft Sight (Vista) and now this?
Jamie 3rd June 2009, 11:09 Quote
I hope this works out for Microsoft. If done right with the right software support I think this could open a whole new market for the console. Currently the games and features offered by the console appeal to a very narrow market and this is where the Wii has capitalised.
Blademrk 3rd June 2009, 11:26 Quote
seems everyone is jumping on the motion controller bandwagon, did anyone see Sonys Tech conference last night? the wand/eye toy controller looked interesting (although a bit gimicky) too.
themax 3rd June 2009, 18:35 Quote
Don't see myself buying this (or the PS3 Eye for that matter). I barely play my Wii as is. Nothing against it, but what Microsoft and Sony have showed off should have been what the Wii had from the get go if it was going revolutionize the way we play games as proclaimed. Natal looks like a true advancement over what the Wii had and Sony simply perfected what people raved about the Wii having, but honestly didn't until Motion Plus (1:1 motion control)
Log in

You are not logged in, please login with your forum account below. If you don't already have an account please register to start contributing.



Discuss in the forums