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Sony didn't want Natal tech

Sony didn't want Natal tech

Sony has said that it's happy with the PlayStation Eye camera and isn't interested in using Natal-like technology.

Sony's R&D spokesperson Dr Richard Marks has commented that the console maker investigated 3D motion-sensing cameras similar to Microsoft's Natal, but ultimately rejected them.

According to Dr Marks, Sony felt the camera technology was far too unreliable to be worth rolling out, not to mention expensive too.

Going further, Dr Marks said that, while he was personally a fan of the underlying technology, 3D cameras didn't really enable enough unique gameplay to distinguish them from the existing PlayStation Eye camera.

"We tried a lot of different 3D cameras. I love the 3D camera technology; personally, I like the technology part of it," Dr Marks said on The Engadget Show.

"We worked closely with our game teams at what it would enable, and it enabled making the things we already did with EyeToy more robust, but it didn't really enable as many new experiences as what we were hoping it would enable, so it made the things we were already able to do a little bit more robust - which is good - but it adds a lot of cost and it didn't enable some of the other experiences we wanted to achieve."

Instead, Sony elected to develop the PS Move motion controllers instead, the glowing bulbs of which can be easily picked up by the PlayStation Eye to allow similar functionality with greater reliability, especially in low-light conditions.

Does he have a point? Let us know your thoughts in the forums.

16 Comments

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mi1ez 30th March 2010, 11:01 Quote
Does he have a point? That remains to be seen IMO.
Xir 30th March 2010, 11:11 Quote
Let's see if any of this...well works.
Who'd have thought a few years ago WII owners would stand in front of their screens and wave their arms about?
Bauul 30th March 2010, 12:11 Quote
All this is hot air until the products have been launched - it'll transpire very quickly which was the correct method when the public get their hands on them.
sandys 30th March 2010, 13:06 Quote
Yes he has a point, Sony has had the method of interacting with the machine without controllers working since PS2 days with the eyetoy games, its limiting factor was the low res camera and response in low light, the wand with a big light and all the sensors will solve that issue, so I'd expect there not too be many issues.

The Wii appears to have a low light issue as well, I run energy savers at home and the Wii doesn't seem to work well at all from 3ft which makes it a bit rubbish for some games where you might actually want to sit down and play rather than stand up against the TV.
mclean007 30th March 2010, 14:39 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by sandys
Yes he has a point, Sony has had the method of interacting with the machine without controllers working since PS2 days with the eyetoy games, its limiting factor was the low res camera and response in low light, the wand with a big light and all the sensors will solve that issue, so I'd expect there not too be many issues.

The Wii appears to have a low light issue as well, I run energy savers at home and the Wii doesn't seem to work well at all from 3ft which makes it a bit rubbish for some games where you might actually want to sit down and play rather than stand up against the TV.

I'd suggest this is nothing to do with the feeble light output of your energy saving lightbulbs. The Wii controllers do use optical tracking as well as motion sensing via accelerometers - the Wiimote has a camera in its nose which detects infra-red light points on the sensor bar, and can work out its position and orientation to an extent from there - but this is not in any way reliant on ambient light. The Wiimote will work perfectly in total darkness, as the infra-red light it needs is produced by the sensor bar itself. If you're having problems with range of the Wiimotes, I'd suggest one of the following is the reason:

(1) obstruction of line of sight to the sensor bar when you sit down
(2) faulty Wiimote or low battery
(3) faulty sensor bar
(4) bad connection between sensor bar and Wii console
(5) interference with Bluetooth communication between Wiimote and Wii console (e.g. from a nearby wireless router, microwave, wireless video sender, etc., possibly even your horrible fluorescent lighting...)

Bluetooth is designed to be resistant to interference, and Bluetooth devices shouldn't interfere with one another, but it is possible that another Wii, PS3 (which also uses Bluetooth), mobile phone etc. nearby may be causing problems with range.
sandys 30th March 2010, 16:35 Quote
pretty sure i have better range in the day time than at night, could be coincidence based upon me moving out the way of the sun, never really thought about it too much just put it down to lighting.

5 could be a good reason as everything resides in the same area but BT controls for PS3 have no issue, nor what ever a 360 pad uses.
Woodspoon 30th March 2010, 17:16 Quote
It's all a bit of a waste of time really.
Motion capture games are great for party play and mucking about with a group of people, but thats about it.
How many Wii's are now gathering dust under a TV or in a cupboard because it only get's played when there's a group of people? because of the need for motion capture.
Most regular game players I know prefer game pads over motion capture.
Sloth 30th March 2010, 20:14 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Woodspoon
It's all a bit of a waste of time really.
Motion capture games are great for party play and mucking about with a group of people, but thats about it.
How many Wii's are now gathering dust under a TV or in a cupboard because it only get's played when there's a group of people? because of the need for motion capture.
Most regular game players I know prefer game pads over motion capture.
As some friends said very well while playing Super Smash Brothers Brawl with our Gamecube controllers: You can tell it's a gimmick when no one wants it for serious competition! :D All motion capture things are just like touch screens to me, in terms of gaming. Just a bunch of hassle that's really only used for a small percentage of games, all of which are clones of each other. Natal especially seems to be pretty limited, I can't hardly blame Sony for shrugging it off. What can you really do with it? Make a bunch of sport games that are all essentially the same as each other and all essentially Wii Sports minus Wiimote. Make a few mini-games for other real games. Make workout 'games'. Maybe even a simple platformer. But take a 'real' game, Fallout 3 for example, and tell me how you're going to play that with a camera. Maybe you can aim with your arm, but how do you make it shoot? How do you interact with an NPC? A predetermined gesture? What about a serious racing game, would you trust a camera watching your hands to accurately record where you're steering? Better have rock steady hands. How do the pedals work, putting your feet in certain areas? Better hope no one walks by and steps on your brakes. A game's design ends up being completely focused on answering these questions rather than on making a decent game. Imo, the Wiimote took motion based games as far as they need to go.
RichCreedy 30th March 2010, 21:59 Quote
i'm still waiting for a holodeck
knuck 30th March 2010, 22:17 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sloth
As some friends said very well while playing Super Smash Brothers Brawl with our Gamecube controllers: You can tell it's a gimmick when no one wants it for serious competition! :D All motion capture things are just like touch screens to me, in terms of gaming. Just a bunch of hassle that's really only used for a small percentage of games, all of which are clones of each other. Natal especially seems to be pretty limited, I can't hardly blame Sony for shrugging it off. What can you really do with it? Make a bunch of sport games that are all essentially the same as each other and all essentially Wii Sports minus Wiimote. Make a few mini-games for other real games. Make workout 'games'. Maybe even a simple platformer. But take a 'real' game, Fallout 3 for example, and tell me how you're going to play that with a camera. Maybe you can aim with your arm, but how do you make it shoot? How do you interact with an NPC? A predetermined gesture? What about a serious racing game, would you trust a camera watching your hands to accurately record where you're steering? Better have rock steady hands. How do the pedals work, putting your feet in certain areas? Better hope no one walks by and steps on your brakes. A game's design ends up being completely focused on answering these questions rather than on making a decent game. Imo, the Wiimote took motion based games as far as they need to go.
I could not have said it better myself
metarinka 30th March 2010, 22:34 Quote
Yah I stlil haven't bought motion control as a legit input for hardcore gaming. Fun to wave around like a nutter in wii tennis, but you don't see swathes of the hardcore type jumping on the band wagon. I suppose the numbers are skewed more towards the general gamer, but we'll see what the future holds.
javaman 31st March 2010, 00:24 Quote
In other words "we're not inventive enough to actually get camera tech to work so we'll rip off the wii to steal their already gullible fan base"
talladega 31st March 2010, 01:55 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by javaman
In other words "we're not inventive enough to actually get camera tech to work so we'll rip off the wii to steal their already gullible fan base"
more like "we'll use the technology we already have developed and make it better"
Joeymac 31st March 2010, 02:24 Quote
None of the Natal "motion" stuff is remotely interesting to me. If Molyneux hadn't shown off his demo then I'd say it would be a 100% flop. But there might be something to it's speech/face recognition, the chance to get rid of those silly 'menu options' conversations is a positive thing.

The problem with it that I've heard is that it needs about 15 feet between the TV and player to capture movement accuracy. That's ridiculous if true.. and it will die on it's arse.
DbD 31st March 2010, 09:40 Quote
I bet that marketing guy would have much preferred to have been working for Microsoft when he was asked that question. Natal is obviously light years ahead but he can't say that, he has to back the glowing dildo.
azrael- 31st March 2010, 15:35 Quote
Dr Marks sure likes using the word "enable". Could he be an enabler?
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