A planned camera controller for Xbox 360 promises 3-D motion recognition that will turn your entire body into a game controller. (Videos)
Code-named Project Natal, the camera controller will sit beneath your television set and be capable of translating every movement of your body into a game control, Microsoft said Monday as it unveiled the system during its press briefing at the Electronic Entertainment Expo.
Project Natal Intro Videos Show Real Controller-Free Interction (Video): Project Natal’s motion controls in action, again looking fancy. Hopefully not just Hollywood magic.
Natal will let gamers browse the Xbox 360 menus and watch movies, and could help make interactive entertainment as “approachable” as other forms of entertainment, according to Hollywood legend Steven Spielberg, who took the stage during Microsoft’s presentation to praise Project Natal.
“It’s not about reinventing the wheel,” Spielberg said. “It’s about no wheel at all.”
It’s an interesting and unexpected move by Microsoft, which already has captured hard-core gamers with its consoles and is now looking to attract a wider audience by cranking out casual games and turning the Xbox 360 and the Xbox Live digital media deliver service into an entertainment hub. While rumors of a motion controller similar to the Wii’s have been making the rounds, Microsoft said it is simply moving beyond the need for any handheld controller.
The company also says Project Natal can pull off facial recognition, making the controller capable of determining who is playing a given game. Top designers like Fable II‘s Peter Molyneux are currently working on software to use with the hardware, although Microsoft did not say when the controller will be released.
Other announcements made at the show include:
- New game from Gears of War maker Epic
- Metal Gear Solid Rising for Xbox 360
- Sequels to Left 4 Dead and Crackdown
- Relaunching Microsoft’s video service as Zune Video with “instant-on 1080p HD”
- Upgrading the Netflix browser on Xbox Live
- Music on Xbox Live through Last.fm
- Social networking on Xbox Live through Facebook and Twitter