Extended thoughts on Natal (Xbox Fluid)

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Microsoft’s Project Natal. (AKA. Fluid…better AKA Thwiisixty) really seemed to impress the E3 crowds. probably because the demo video seemed too good to be true.

MS’s scope on this seems pretty ambitious. filled with all sorts of high tech circuitry, sensors, and it’s own CPU. how much will this little thing cost you?. nobody knows. with the original camera costing 40 bucks upon release, and really. That was just a camera.

You think with an IR sensor, an RGB camera, Multi-array Microphone, depth sensor and a custom CPU running Microsoft’s own special software that price might double. Because.. Hell, that all just sounds expensive doesn’t it? So, lets say it comes out at 80 bucks. to me that seems about right. So, 80 bucks seems a little steep. but if it works nearly 100% of the time then no problems right?


But, it would have to work nearly 100% of the time. which brings another issue aside from price. Consistency. The closest example we can use in terms of this type of device would probably be the Ps3 eye game. The accuracy on those is about 80-95%? I don’t have an actual number for the Ps3 version, but past camera related games/software, depending on the lighting in the room, has a wide range of accuracy. compare that to the near 100% accuracy of a traditional controller, which works at that rate no matter what lighting your in. Let’s take into account what current cameras are like and what there software library consists of. Xbox has no games that require the Xbox Vision. many use it for simple pics or to see yourself while playing cards. The PS3 is a little better and has a few suites of PSN software that use it, and one full game that actually requires it, “Eye of Judgement”. but aside from that, it’s a gimmicky device like a R.O.B. or Power-glove.

Another issue already touched on is lighting, I’m assuming this will require a good amount of light like most those other cameras which means you either need a lot of lamps, or day time. Which limits it’s use or possibly accuracy. This thing has to be REALLY accurate to make it, like as good as a regular controller or it won’t be worthwhile.

Also, software.. If Microsoft is serious about this, we are going to need supporting 3rd party software developers.

So, here is what ya gotta do Microsoft:
1.Make sure it’s as accurate and responsive as the traditional controller.
2.Make it work with no fuss lighting requirements or special “needs”
3.Support the hell out of it with awesome software
4.Make sure your 3rd Parties support it as well.
5.Don’t make it crazy expensive like we all know you like doing (150 dollars for a 120gig HD?!)

Hitting even 4 of these requirements is probably going to allow your amazing looking new project to explode. If this takes off, you’ll capture a large portion of the Wii’s audience I believe.

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