Everything You Need to Know About Project Natal

Illustration for article titled Everything You Need to Know About Project Natal

This E3 was packed with explosive news and announcements, from confirmation of the PSP Go and Sony's motion controls to the whispers of a new Metroid and Zelda. But one of the most startling may have been Microsoft's Project Natal.

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On it's simplest level, Project Natal is a straight forward motion control for the Xbox 360, one that doesn't use a controller. But the technology can also be used to sign you into your 360 automatically, let you play classic 360 titles without a controller and even interact with a child-like, uncanny-free artificial intelligence.

Here's the complete breakdown of everything you need to know about the new technology:

Microsoft Makes You The Motion Controller With Project Natal
See Microsoft's Project Natal In Action
Why Xbox 360 New Controller Is Called 'Natal'
Molyneux's Milo Brings a Virtual Child to the Xbox 360
Testing Molyneux's Milo, A Virtual Boy With, Yes, A Dog
Spielberg: Natal Changes The Way I Write For Games
From Stick Figure To Mind-Blowing Controls
You Ever Wonder What The Bottom Of An Avatar Shoe Looks Like?
Body On With Project Natal's Controller-Free Kick Balls
Stare Into Project Natal's Small, Child-Like Eyes
Microsoft: Rare Working On Numerous Natal Projects
Tetris Creator Skeptical of Project Natal
Wii Remote Wizard Working On Project Natal
Microsoft: Project Natal Can Support Multiple Players, See Fingers
Bam There It Is... Kotaku REMIX
Milo Has the Lifespan of a Fruitfly

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DISCUSSION

This is a dead piece of tech before it's even shipped. Past experiments with this type of interface have always failed because:

1. Motion sensing tech based on a webcam analyzing pics simply isn't good enough yet. Now before someone comments on it, let me explain that the wiimote is indeed a webcam, BUT it only shows ir light and tracks two clusters of ir-leds, which is FAR easier than tracking everyday objects.

2. Webcam add-ons are difficult to code for and thus developers won't make games for them. Those that do aren't very creative and typically only make crappy mini-game collections. Please see the eye-toy and the webcam m$ already released a few years back that absolutely nobody bought.

3. Third party controllers NEVER become widely accepted enough to amass a large library of games. Hell look at the wii it has like 5 or 6 add-on controllers and with the exception of the nunchuck (which really should have been included) none of these add-ons have more than a handful of titles. In fact, some, like the balance board, do good to have TWO titles.

I know the natal isn't EXACTLY like a webcam, but let's face it, that's basically what it is, and because of the things listed above, it will surely fail.