So you may have heard of this device called the Wii it got super popular and outstripped Microsoft and Sony’s big time consoles relatively quickly even though it lacked the raw power of either. How? Nintendo created a whole new way to interact with your console: Motion sensitive controllers. This gave it a leg up on the interactivity scale and also brought something different to the table instead of competing in the traditional market.
Then Microsoft announced Natal.*
Natal is basically a motion detector coupled with a microphone it is a hardware add-on for the Xbox 360. Natal is interesting because unlike the Wii’s motion sensitive peripherals Natal only needs you to interact with. Sony quickly announced its own motion sensing hardware to counter but from what I heard it is nothing near Natal. Natal’s depth sensor has an infrared projector combined with a CMOS sensor, and allows Natal to see in 3D under any ambient light conditions. Any. Natal’s sensor is quite impressive but the software is even more so it can be used for gesture recognition, facial recognition, and voice recognition. The software shown at E3 was capable of simultaneously tracking up to four users. FOUR. and if a user is close enough even recognizing individual fingers. In my opinion this thing has the Wii beat granted its a tad late.
Now for the bad news: originally the hardware add-on was supposed to handle all the motion recognition but in order to keep the price down developers instead put it through the Xbox. This worries me as I have occasionally felt my Xbox become just a tad strained over some really intense high detail games. Natal will apparently take 10-15% of the Xbox’s resources to process the data quite a bit of horsepower being used and with Microsoft saying that with Natal the Xbox 360 could last through 2015 we might not see a hardware update for a while. This is a dangerous move for Microsoft as Sony already has the Xbox 360 outgunned. Microsoft also said that players would need about 13 feet of clear space in front of their gaming television 13 feet! that is almost my whole rec room! Luckily that statement was clarified later “Misinterpreted” was the exact word used and Natal is able to adjust to your room size
Milo. Milo is a game in development by Lionhead Studios and is basically seems to be a fully interactive character that uses Natal to very realistically respond to the user. That’s about all I know.
Unfortunately for Nintendo they were purportedly shown Natal a year before Microsoft snapped it up and they turned it down!
“Iwata was reportedly impressed, but turned it down, only for Microsoft to snag it the following year.”
Whoops. Nintendo either has serious innovation up it’s sleeve or they have a really good reason to not want it. I’m sure at this point they are hoping that this isn’t the same thing that happened with radio “who would listen to a message broadcast to no one in particular”
“Project Natal will reportedly also serve as the basis for a "new" Xbox 360. Though it is rumoured that the launch of it will be accompanied with the release of a new Xbox 360 console (as either a new retail configuration, a significant design revision,] and/or a modest hardware upgrade), Microsoft has dismissed the reports in public, and has repeatedly emphasized that it will be fully compatible with all Xbox 360 consoles. Microsoft indicates that it considers it to be a significant initiative, as fundamental to the Xbox brand as Xbox Live, and with a launch akin to that of a new Xbox console platform.” –Wikipedia
*Try to ignore that rather annoying intro video XD