Nintendo “Turned Down” Chance at Project Natal Tech

January 27, 2010 by Thomas Mulrooney  
Filed under Nintendo, Xbox

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.

Microsoft drops internal Natal chip

January 7, 2010 by Ivan Cronyn  
Filed under Xbox

Project Natal

Microsoft has dropped a chip from its forthcoming Natal motion control system to save money. The chip has apparently been removed in favour of a software solution.

“The full Natal hardware/sensor combo always looked like an expensive proposition in a market where Microsoft really needs to turn a profit,” commented Eurogamer technology editor Richard Leadbetter, who helped research the story.

“The notion of offloading the processing to the Xbox 360 CPU in the name of lower costs and easier upgradability makes sense. Patching up older games to run with the new hardware now looks rather unlikely unless they have the CPU time to spare, but hopefully this will serve to focus developers on Natal-specific concepts as opposed to revisiting old classics.”

Project Natal is due out “holiday 2010″.

Major Publishers to Support Natal

September 24, 2009 by Ivan Cronyn  
Filed under News, Xbox

Project Natal

Microsoft has announced that Activision Blizzard, Bethesda Softworks, Capcom, Disney Interactive, Electronic Arts, Konami, MTV Games, Namco Bandai, Sega, Square Enix, THQ and Ubisoft are all actively working on games for “Project Natal”. The announcement comes before a Tokyo Game Show panel discussing Microsoft’s motion and gesture recognition system.

The panel at TGS featured Capcom’s Keiji Inafune, creator of Dead Rising, Sega’s Toshihiro Nagoshi, creator of Super Monkey Ball, and Konami’s Hideo Kojima, creator of the Metal Gear Solid series.

Microsoft is hiring for Natal

September 17, 2009 by Ivan Cronyn  
Filed under News, Xbox

Project Natal

Microsoft Game Studios is looking for devs, engineers, artists, audio staff and producers for upcoming Project Natal games. 18 job positions have been posted online.

Project Natal is the codename for a sophisticated 3D motion tracking peripheral from Microsoft, first revealed at E3 2009.