Microsoft's Natal gets closer, compatible with current Xbox
At Christmas for the last two years, kids and parents have gone horse-shit crazy for the Nintendo Wii. It's revolutionised gaming, inventing a mainstream family and social experience that has helped Nintendo dominate the UK with a staggering 50 per cent of the console market share, riding high above Sony and Microsoft. And remember the Wiimote when you first used it? Wireless, motion sensitive. Witchcraft.
Microsoft are going to blow the Wii out the water. It's not talk anymore - slowly but surely, more and more people are being allowed inside the world of Project Natal, the console that parents will be socking one another in the face for this Christmas. We've reported on Natal a couple of times - when news of it first appeared last June, and when there was buzz about it at the Consumer Electronics show last month.
Now journalists have had hands-on experience of the system themselves, according to Silicon Republic - and it sounds bloody amazing:
Walk up to the Natal sensor and it instantly recognises not just your body, but your arms and elbows, hips, legs and feet, replicating your entire body in an on-screen avatar.Having no controller means there’s nothing to learn and no buttons to press. Kick or wave your arm and the ghost-like avatar does the same. Each of your movements is mimicked in near real-time (there is a slight delay) with impressive accuracy.
The motion detection isn’t perfect, but it’s very close – probably as close as it needs to be at this stage. Natal knows when you are moving forwards, backwards or even turning around in a full circle, revealing a detailed understanding of the dynamics and makeup of the human body.
Microsoft have again confirmed that Natal will be available for this Christmas - major games manufacturers have been working on new titles for the system since last June. Also, Natal will be a hardware add-on that'll plug into your existing Xbox 360 - from the Arcade version of the console to the Elite. If you don't have one already, it may be worth your while bagging one of the dirt cheap deals on an Xbox in the coming months.
Until Christmas, then, here's a reminder of what Microsoft is promising (and there's more over at the official YouTube channel). That's no moon, etc.