Microsoft: Motion Is the New Multiplayer

Illustration for article titled Microsoft: Motion Is the New Multiplayer

While Project Natal, and its ability to allow Xbox 360 gamers to play video games completely free of a controller, will launch as a niche of sorts on the platform, Microsoft believes it will one day become the norm.


Motion control, Microsoft Game Studios' corporate vice president Phil Spencer told Kotaku, will change what gamers expect from games.

"Much like with multiplayer, I think it will become the norm," Spencer said. "If you are a racing game without multiplayer the game just didn't sell.

"We think that motion control, we think voice recognition, should become a part of gaming as well."

But Spencer points out that it's important not to shoehorn every franchise into the new tech. Microsoft Game Studios and the Xbox 360 don't plan to bring every single experience to Project Natal, at least not initially.

"Hacked in or quick to market ideas are not what we're looking for," he said. "We want to make sure that those experiences are world class."

Spencer says he's been surprised by how quickly and how strongly the outside development community has reacted to Microsoft's E3 unveiling of the motion controls.


"In the three months that Natal has been out the amount of support we have been able to gain has been impressive," he said. Indeed, during the Tokyo Game Show Microsoft rounded up Konami's Hideo Kojima, Capcom's Keiji Inafune and Sega's Toshihiro Nagoshi to et on stage and chat about the potential they see in the hardware.


"When you are starting something new it is important to get some creative talent to innovate," Spenser said. "The quality of the experience is going to be what defines it."

When Microsoft first decided to work on Project Natal the company shipped out development kits to all of their internal studios as a way of incubating different ideas, Spencer said. The result was a lot of interest and some new games.


What about Bungie or an internally developed Halo game, I asked.

"We're not going to hack something into Halo to get it to support Natal," he said. "We want to make sure we can only offer rich experiences."


But given the richness, the breadth of Halo's universe, it wouldn't be surprising if something came to Natal from it.

"We have great people helping out to evolve Halo," he said.



Somebody hasn't read the latest Kotaku poll. Their target audience hates motion control!

How is Natal going to work over Live? Given that there's always a lag in processing analog signals to digital (see: Rock Band vocals and the lack of online harmonies in the Beatles game), it's going to be hard to work Natal into "hardcore" games. Definitely wouldn't work in, say, Halo multiplayer.