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NFG (Administrator) #1
Member since May 2011 · 2485 posts · Location: Brisbane
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Subject: Microsoft's Natal: What's the big deal?
I'm not impressed by Microsoft's new Natal motion-sensing technology, which is different from Sony's EyeToy in ways I can't quite put my finger on.  It's another add-on peripheral designed to check a box for the brochure.  It won't get a huge amount of support, 'cause controllers that aren't bundled with the system from launch never do.  It's a catch-up technology that's probably using a camera as much 'cause it seemed to work as 'cause it didn't violate too many patents.  Nintendo claims to have already dismissed camera tech but that's possibly just FUD.  In a similar article, the Financial Times also points out that "one industry executive said Microsoft might struggle to make the device affordable, because of the large number of components."

The enthusiastic (My skeptic gland forces me to consider the possibility it was bought) response from Take Two and somewhat less-so statement from EA don't really make me anticipate it any more than I already do.  Microsoft doesn't help much either.  The most exciting thing they can say is that their industry partners (ie: developers) "are also excited from a business standpoint because it's going to be compatible with every Xbox 360 we're ever sold."  Well good job making a controller that works with your system, guys. 

Well, that doesn't help me believe that this Natal thing is any more than a simple gimmick, a happy me too! from Microsoft trying to catch up to Nintendo.  It might be that I only play action games, and without anything as simple as a @#&^% button it's really not going to lend itself to anything I want to play.  It might also be that the demos - a 'player' manipulating an onscreen boy pawing at water and creating ripples - is so uninteresting I fear I'll suddenly develop narcolepsy and fall into a deep slumber on the spot.

Nintendo and I both think it's surprising that Microsoft took so long to join the motion-sensing party.  Like the hooks they needed to capture the casual-player market wasn't immediately obvious the wall the day anyone first saw the Wii?  What were they doing all this time?  I can't help belief though that there are good ways and very bad ways (Hi Sony!) to do motion-sensing. 

And, somewhat hilariously, it turns out Natal doesn't work with black people.  To be more precise, it doesn't work with some skin types: the types black people have.  It just doesn't seem ready for release to me:  according to Fudzilla nine of seventeen people had trouble using the sensor.
This post was edited on 2009-06-12, 11:10 by NFG.
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