On that day in the future when Microsoft launches its E3-darling Project Natal no-touch control system, it will feel like a console launch, a company exec told Kotaku.
Forget the launch of previous gaming cameras and mics like the PlayStation Eye or the Xbox Live Vision Camera when you try to imagine the impact Microsoft's Project Natal will have on billboards, TV channels and other places where ads run.
The birth of Natal will feel grander than that.
"Conceptually, the launch of Natal will be like the launch of Xbox 360," Microsoft's head of long-term Xbox 360 strategy, Shane Kim, told Kotaku during an interview at E3. "It's going to be that big. We're not just going to ship it when the hardware and software are ready. We have to make sure that there are enough content experiences that are really good. That's similar to how you would think of the launch of a new console. It's got to have a great launch line-up. That's the same thing here."
In a note to investors earlier this week, Wedbush Morgan Securities analyst Michael Pachter predicted that the Natal launch would require the support of approximately 30 third-party games.
As for who Microsoft hopes to catch with the Natal net, Kim said, "We're not focused on this generation's casual gamers or even PS2 people who haven't upgraded. This is about the 60% of households were a video game console doesn't exist… the problem is that the controller is a barrier for some people and now with Project Natal we completely eliminate that."
Whether you're a fan of Natal's potential or not, the idea of a console-sized launch for a gaming peripheral is impressive and hints at the potential for the device to find its audience.
If only [insert your favorite gaming peripheral] had that kind of support.