Why Xbox Project Natal is NOT a game-changer

If you like me have read the articles and blogs about the E3-convention you have most likely heard of the Xbox Project Natal which will “change the way games are played”. In short there have been a piece of hardware developed which can look at the player and let the movement to be used as a controller in games. If you have seen those tv-shows where people run around in front of a green-screen looking at a monitor bolted on the side – this is more or less it.

The reactions from people seem to be pure amazement on how the intuity and uniqueness flashed around Microsoft in this solution. There have been thoughts on that this will kill of the Wii and that all gamers will start standing in front of their screens throwing stuff at other people on the screen which are throwing stuff at you. People who like to do these things are the “Nintendo-generation” which bought the Wii and will also buy the Wii 2. I don’t think that these people own an Xbox and probably wont do so either.

I must say that this is an idea which have been tested before with very poor results. All the movies shown this far have been with a poor response for the avatars on screen where delays of a second or two have been seen. At the same time there is nothing in these movies on the resolution for the “people scanner” which reads what the player actually do. For this to work they have to create something which in fact can compete with the Wii in response and simplicity. I don’t think this is it to be honest. Time may show me to be wrong in this but my gut-feeling is that this is another one of Microsofts attempts to do something good out of something great. Together with Bing the Natal will slowly fade away like a MMO with elfs and in a couple of years, be discontinued.

These are not the next big things in my book.

2 comments for “Why Xbox Project Natal is NOT a game-changer

  1. aL
    September 7, 2009 at 11:18 pm

    dude you’re way off.. those greren screen aps doesnt work anything like natal.
    greenscreen apps doesnt recognize you in 3d, they only do 2d blobtracking and also rely on you watching yourself

    natal does 3d tracking and skeltal mapping meaning that its basically a motion capture stage on your tv. ever see those headtracking demos by johnny lee? thats what you can do with natal but 47 more joints in your body. its like wii motion plus except you have 48 wiimotes strapped to various bones in your body 😛

    with natal you can augment exsisting controlers and incorporate leaning and aiming (by holding your arms like you hold a rifle and then pulling the trigger on the controller) those will be the killer apps for natal

    taking it to the pc will be even more awsome.. you could build an entire room with projectors on the walls and, because natal knows where you are in 3d, you could have you entire room be like a surface computer.. now thats cool 😉

    oh and did i mention that johnny lee is now working on project natal at microsoft? check out his blog..

  2. Martin Karlsson
    September 8, 2009 at 12:10 am

    So I stand corrected on my perhaps too big generalization about the colored screens then 🙂 I’d love to see a good solution beeing put out there to take the Wii-generation to the next step but from the movies I saw about Natal I got the feeling that they actually were aiming for the same things as Wii did some years ago.

    To be able to wear the crown of a “gamer-changing-event” I think they must aim higher and actually amaze more people instead of mimick solutions already out there.

    Thanks for the headsup on that blog, will check it out to see if it can change my opinion further!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *