Microsoft Natal Project

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Parents start saving now because Microsoft has come out with yet another gadget, going way beyond the capabilities of the now popular Wii. On the positive side, Natal isn’t due to come out until 2010, giving parents plenty of time to sock away some extra cash because we all know project Natal will be out at full price by Christmas 2010, which is about $200. That’s the way the bank account…err cookie crumbles.

So what’s Microsoft got in store with the Natal project? Entirely hands free capabilities. That’s right…look ma no hands! It’s enough to make a parent ground their child from the Xbox 360 just so they themselves can play it.  Because sometimes Microsoft makes it way to easy for the parents to be the kids!

So how is the Natal project going to work? Are we talking a whole new system? Breathe, it’s okay. The Natal project is compatible with Xbox 360. At least you don’t have to buy a whole new system. The Natal project is about 9 inches long and holds cameras, microphones and motion sensors so that it is fully interactive with its environment. Devoted Xbox 360 lovers who never bought into the Wii mania have got to be screaming “told ya so!” over the Natal project.

As a parent looking into the Natal project, you have to hand it to Microsoft. No responsible parent wants their child glued to the couch playing a video game. Most people were in awe over the Wii, which made the players actually get up and move. I imagine that awe turned to regret as soon as they purchased the Wii and realized how many controllers were needed to play various games.

The Natal project seems to wisely skirt around that issue by using the Natal project to literally turn the player’s body itself into a controlling device. While I personally am not looking forward to my own child clamoring for one these, I have to admit the Natal project seems to have found a way to narrow down the pile of gadgets that are needed to go with the system.

The exact details of the Natal project aren’t exactly clear yet, which is just the way Microsoft wants it to be. Let out a teaser, develop some interest and watch the cash roll in. I imagine Xbox 360 sales will be skyrocketing right about now as people rush to avoid any shortages in that particular area. But you have to wonder how this system works. Is the voice recognition similar to the voice recognition Microsoft uses with Vista? If so, project Natal may take some work in order to use it. And what happens with two players who have similar voices? For that matter, how do the motion sensors and the cameras on the Natal project differentiate between two players?

It will certainly be interesting to see how the Microsoft  Natal project actually works. Will the Natal project be more work than it’s worth? After all, as versatile as Microsoft Vista is, people simply weren’t ready for it and all its features. Will the Natal project have a similar scenario? I guess we will just have to wait until Natal actually comes out and see.


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