Nintendo “Turned Down” Chance at Project Natal Tech

January 27, 2010 by Thomas Mulrooney  

CVG has learned that Nintendo boss Satoru Iwata was shown an early demo of what would become Project Natal, but he dismissed the technology as he didn’t believe it could be launched at a mass-market price.

An anonymous source revealed that 3DV Systems – the firm apparently behind the technology Project Natal utilises – showed the technology to a gathering of Nintendo execs in 2007. The company was later purchased by Microsoft, paving the way for Project Natal.

“Iwata-San only ever invests in something he can guarantee will work for a Nintendo audience,” the exec told CVG.

“3DV showed off a camera that detected motion in 3D, and had voice recognition – but Iwata-San was unconvinced he could sell it at a Nintendo price point. He also had some worries around latency during gameplay.

Microsoft has never confirmed that Project Natal uses technology gained from the purchase of 3DV, but this revelation means it’s highly likely that this is the case. The source insists upon this.

“Honestly – I’ve heard Iwata describe the prototype he saw at length, and it’s definitely Natal,” added CVG’s source.

Does Nintendo have any doubts?

“We remain unconvinced Natal will deliver on the more sophisticated elements of what Microsoft is promising at the price they’re aiming for.”

I guess not, but I suppose the bucket loads of money they’ve made from the Wii pretty much says it all.

It’s not the first time Nintendo has decided not to pursue a new form of technology for consoles, as they famously cancelled a deal to jointly develop a CD-Rom add on for the SNES with Sony and Phillips. This technology would later be developed into the Playstation, and that’s one major cash cow that Nintendo missed out on.

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