With the Wii completely based around motion control, and the Playstation Move finally being introduced, one has to wonder how and where Microsoft’s Project Natal will fit into the rapidly developing motion controller marketplace.
Introduced back in mid-2009, Project Natal was the Xbox 360 add-on that we were told would bring full-body interaction to games. While no price or release date was mentioned at the time, we are now hearing it will be released for this holiday season, but price rumors have varied between $50 and $99. Despite the lack of details, what was shown in the original demonstration made more than a few people drew with anticipation of what Natal could hold for us in the future.
While the actual demo showed off things like a game where you bounce balls back down a hall way, or you do large paintings with body motions, there were other things that grabbed the imaginations of people.
While the demo video that was released at the time is obviously a “here is what we hope to do with this” kind of propaganda video that isn’t uncommon to see at the introduction of a new product, there was one thing showed in person to people that was indeed real, and that was Milo. While not interesting from a gaming perspective, Milo is an interactive friend that reacted to those in the room and allowed you to do things such as look into a pond with Milo and Natal would show your real image in the reflective water thanks to the image captured by the device. The potentials for interactivity that actually reacts to small things you do is mind boggling in what the potential could be down the road.
What does concern me is the video showing you playing a driving game by holding your hands out in front of you like you are gripping a steering wheel, won’t things like that get old as your arms get tired?Imaging playing a first person shooter, having to hold your arms like you’re holding a rifle the entire time, that is only going to appeal for so long.
The Natal may be the perfect casual gaming idea as you could see this being a hit at a party, but the cost is going to be higher than buying the Wii. I think the possibilities are far more intriguing as it uses your entire body, but is that going to be worth it at launch? Perhaps down the road after we see more what types of games are coming out, but for now I think the Wii is pretty secure as the leader in motion control.