Project Natal unveiled as new 'controller' experience

Steven Spielberg takes to the stage to praise Microsoft for "landmark" technology

Microsoft has unveiled its much-rumoured new motion controller with first details on its Project Natal - a camera-based system which allows gamers to use their whole body as a control mechanism.

The technology, introduced by the platform holder's VP of Interactive Entertainment Don Mattrick, has been shown to a number of game development teams already - and also legendary movie director Steven Spielberg, who admitted that he was impressed by what he'd seen.

"The only way to bring interactive entertainment to everybody is to make the technology invisible," said Spielberg in reference to a conversation he'd had previously with Mattrick.

"Two months ago Don shared with me the Natal experience, and the gamer in me went out of my mind," he continued, adding that the Xbox 360 technology was a "landmark".

Among the games demonstrated on-stage were an action-sports title and a painting application, both of which clearly showed the accuracy of the motion capture technology.

Mattrick also noted that the technology would be compatible with all Xbox 360 consoles out there, those sold both in the past and the future, before Lionhead president Peter Molyneux took to the stage to showcase what the UK-based developer had been doing with Natal - namely a demonstration of adding emotion to the interactive experience.

Molyneux demonstrated an application featuring a virtual boy called Milo, which proceeded to converse realistically with Lionhead team member.

"This is about you meeting a character, a person," he said, before revealing that some members of the press at E3 would be able to meet Milo to see for themselves.

"This is true technology science fiction has not even written about, and this works, now, today."

No timeframe for the release of Project Natal was given.

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Latest comments (4)

David Amor Director, MAG Interactive11 years ago
Looks like an very interesting technology. I wonder if MS will find the killer app for it.

I don't think I'm the only one this morning questioning the interactivity of the Milo demo. There's just too many things requiring a leap of faith for me, but if they're showing software to press behind closed doors I guess they can put their money where their mouth is.

Milo video here:
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Alex Wright-Manning Head of Recruitment, Splash Damage Ltd11 years ago
Thanks for the link David. I must say it looks pretty impressive, if a little similar to the EyeToy demos from a few years back. If MS can find the right sort of apps to appeal to both the casual and hardcore markets, and the technology is accurate enough to support multiple genres it could be a seriously cool piece of kit.
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Jim Webb Executive Editor/Community Director, E-mpire Ltd. Co.11 years ago
I too felt as though the interaction seemed scripted. We will certainly get to that level of emotional and psychological interaction one day but I don't think we are there yet. The speech, phrase and emotional recognition and production were far beyond anything I've ever read about.

In fact, I'm almost certain some lines and phrases were programmed and not generated on the fly as a response. The phrase, "You.....nervous?" Is actually very complex because of the pause between the words, the lack of are or feel as would be spoken from normal speech production programs and the fact it's a reply to a complex statement with regard to an emotional state: nervous. More so, the phrase, "Why are you nervous?" would be more common in speech production programs.

The whole phrase is simply very unnatural for a logic driven program.
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I'm so excited by this, really i am. I know the technology may yet have many glitches but the game ideas are rolling out my head.

It may take some getting used to to not have something in your hand as you play.
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