Loaded: Project Natal et al
For those of you who have been waiting for some really big news to come out of the video game industry, Microsoft answered your call with its innovative "Project Natal," a hands-free motion-sensitive controller system. Announced during Microsoft's annual E3 press conference, Project Natal seems almost certainly to be the culmination of several years of work by an Israeli start-up called 3DV Systems, which Microsoft recently acquired.
The technology, as demonstrated, appears geared toward allowing users to control games, movies, and anything else on their Xbox system with their hands alone, and without touching any hardware.
Nintendo had a chance for a rebuttal, during which it chose to focus on Wii Motion Plus. The idea behind the new version of the controller is that it offers enhanced feedback, what they called "physical reality." The idea is that the controller allows for much more precise, feedback-oriented motion.
Meanwhile, Sony's new system is a set of wands with glowing orbs on top, that allow one-to-one motion like Nintendo's original Wii-mote, and which also give tangible physical feedback like the new Nintendo system. Configured with an analog trigger and some number of buttons, the wand has one-to-one mapping just like the Wii Motion Plus. The glowing orb, which changed color during the demo, was integral to the positioning technology,
It's abundantly clear that what's really going on here is an aggressive play by each of the three companies to make their offerings more palatable to mainstream audiences, people who have traditionally not considered themselves gamers.
Full coverage: Palm Pre
Review: Putting the Pre through its paces
Palm Pre photos
Palm Pre resource guide
Windows 7 catching developers' eyes
Microsoft gives Bing stronger search filter option
Microsoft kicks off huge Bing ad push
IE6 forcing Bing as default search engine
Hands-on with Wave: Weird and quite wonderful
DOJ hiring probe includes many big names
EchoStar says appeals court stays ruling on DVR workaround
Apple confirms North Carolina facility
Apple, others sued for patent infringement