Project Natal: No controller gaming

Check out this E3 video of microsoft’s revolutionary new control scheme for the Xbox – project Natal aims to replace controllers completely by optical recognition systems that track your body directly, without the need to use any controller at all!

The demo is impressive, and the possibilities are mind blowing, though it’s still hard to tell just how workable the system will be in reality, small delays could make certain games unworkable, and one has to wonder if they really expect gamers to fight against Chun Li and Ryu with their actual bodies. Are you able to do a high kick? I am, but I certainly can’t do a spinning tornado kick… will this mean more realistic martial arts games?

Space considerations are also a factor, the family in the video has a really big living room, the likes of which I’ve very rarely seen even in nice houses. Remember all the incidents of people hitting each other with the wii controller? I imagine this is going to be the same times two, with people kicking their TV in by mistake in a moment of passion.

One possibility that comes to mind for this technology is the use for easy inexpensive home motion capture, allowing people to become animators with no effort at all. This is potentially game changing for social applications if the tools are provided and marketed right.