June 3 2009

Project Natal For Xbox 360

project natal logoWho needs some silly remote controls you wave around to control a game when you can turn your entire body into that silly remote?

Microsoft has announced at the annual E3 gaming conference that they are working on a new addition to the Xbox 360 gaming system called "Project Natal".  While small details like pricing or a arelease date are missing at this time, what is known is that this could completely change how we play video games and interact with technology.

Imagine a camera system bar under your TV, and when you walk in to the room, it recognizes your face and automatically logs you into Xbox Live.  From there you can control your Xbox dashboard with flicks of your hand like the computers in the movie Minority Report.  Don’t feel like waving your hands around?  Talk to it.

Check out the video below for more of what this this will supposedly do.

I have a real hard time believing it will be able to do true full body motion capture, but if it does, then things will change in electronics forever.  Why would anyone ever need ot buy something like a Wii Fit again?  Why buy any seperate controller again when you can simply do the motions?

One of the demoed pieces of software at the show is Peter Molyneux’s “Milo”.  From the description, it is a virtual friend that will interact with you and other members of yoru family.  He, or his female counterpart named Millie, will know each member of your family by facial recognition and will react to each person differently.  He will also hold conversations with you by relating things he or she discussed with you earlier.  (… anyone else think that could be hugely embarrassing?)  The other thing intriguing about this is the mini-review mentions Milo throws you a pair of goggles, which you catch with a motion, and then the system instructed the reviewer as to what motions to make to put the goggles on.

In short, this is about as close as we are going to get to virtual reality for a while, but there is doubt that lingers in the back of my head.  I have seen numerous game peripherals over the years that fall short of their promises, and this one is promising a heck of a lot.  I am hopeful that it will deliver on everything they are listing, heck, I really want it if it does deliver, but until I see it in person, I am going to have to remain somewhat doubtful that they can really pull off such huge leaps in technology.  If they do… Sony who?  Nintendo who?

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