Friday, January 18, 2019

"You Are the Controller." Really?

Credit: Microsoft
Microsoft advertises that with Project Natal,

Microsoft's Project Natal for Xbox is due for release this year, but will it change gaming as we know it?

Project Natal, Microsoft’s new addition to the Xbox 360, was announced at E3 2009 last summer and is on track to be released in December 2010. With the tag “you are the controller” the Xbox is launching a direct challenge to Nintendo Wii’s dominance of the gaming interactivity niche.

The demo videos shown on the Xbox website and at YouTube show just how far Microsoft have taken the concept of gamer interactivity. Say goodbye to your controller, games that support Natal will not need them. The device is a sensor that measures approximately nine inches in length and incorporates 3D mapping infrared technology and a camera that incorporates advanced gesture and voice recognition at the core of the concept. Able to map the area it looks at, creating a 3D model of your room to then distinguish the player from the background, Natal will use its facial and voice recognition software to tailor the gaming experience to the individual and allow a much deeper level of immersion into a game. Even your desktop will become more interactive, greeting you personally when you log on and tailoring your experience to your preferences.

When it comes to actually controlling the games, your body becomes the controller. Kick, stop or trap an imaginary ball and it’ll happen onscreen. Playing driving games will see players holding imaginary steering wheels and shifting fictional gears. The whole idea is to make the player feel more involved in the game. Interacting with AI characters will become more personal with game characters reacting differently to variations in tone and emotion in responses. It looks very much like the future of gaming is about to be unleashed.

Where I feel the technology may fall short is that it could be seen as gimmicky. It’s all very well saying that players can interact more readily, but not everyone is David Beckham. How many Xbox owners can easily move from a standing to a crouching and then prone position easily whilst avoiding incoming grenades and knifing your enemies in the back, or can run and jump over a car before pulling an innocent owner out of it and speeding off with the police in hot pursuit? All right, some, but not all. I am looking forward to getting to grips with this next great step in gaming technology but truly hope it isn’t the end of my beloved controller; after all, I do enjoy loafing on my sofa whilst saving (or destroying) the world.

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The Gaming Gentleman is a writer for BrooWaha. For more information, visit the writer's website.
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1 comments on "You Are the Controller." Really?

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By eloisaP on April 20, 2010 at 03:09 am

Technology evolves day by day. I think I have been watching too numerous supernatural movies, because today I swore I saw an ad for Skinput. Just what is Skinput? It is a prototype touch display that shoots an image to your skin and you also use your arm and hand like a keyboard. So rather than pulling out your cell phone to send that next text message you would pull up your sleeve and shoot a picture of a keyboard onto your arm. From there the vibrations would be sensed and just what you are trying to type (on your arm) would be sent! If this sounds like something from Back to the Future it is because it is! This technology isn't ready for use yet but could possibly be as early as two years from now.

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