Microsoft: Project Natal will reinvent the industry

If there was one thing we could take away from E3 09, it’s that the videogame industry has well and truly fallen for this “motion control” fad, believing it to be the answer to all their prayers. Every platform now has its own gimmicky motion controller, and Microsoft believes its conceptually impressive Project Natal will rule them all.

“If we’d just come out with something that looks and feels like the Nintendo Wiimote, I think you could have fairly criticised us and said it was derivative. That’s not the path we wanted to go down,” explains MS’ Shane Kim. “We could have done that, but we wanted to reinvent the industry and revolutionise home entertainment. That’s what we will achieve with Project Natal.

“The most important thing is this has nothing to do with Nintendo and Sony. This has everything to do with unlocking the potential of the industry and addressing the many millions of people — the 60 per cent of house holds who don’t have a videogame console at all. That’s the real opportunity for us.”

Yeah. You know what I think of when I see all these motion controllers? I think of the Sega Genesis Activator. While the technology is evolving, we seem to be conceptually devolving. These new controllers smack of the same add-ons and gimmicks that eventually drowned the Genesis and confused the consumers. I’m sure Natal will be interesting, but introduced so late into the Xbox 360’s lifecycle, I can’t see it being more than another Activator. At least the Activator was compatible with all the system’s games. When it worked.

Jim Sterling