Xbox has just introduced controller-free gaming and entertainment. Get off the couch and get in the game - no controller required!
What is Microsoft Project Natal exactly and how does it compare to the competition?
How did Nintendo manage to break that barrier? By building a new-style motion-sensitive controller system that allowed users to direct game action by waving the controller around. To swing an in-game tennis racket, you swing the so-called Wii-mote like a tennis racket. To play a bowling game, you swing the Wii-mote in a bowling motion.
Natal, by comparison, provides much of that same functionality, but without having to hold on to the controller. Want to kick a ball in a game? Then make a kicking motion. Want to buzz in in a game show setting? Smack your fist into your hand. Want to share a drawing with an in-game avatar? Draw it and then hold it up to the Natal camera. As seen on-stage at E3, at least, it's all very simple, and very seamless.
So is Project Natal Microsoft's answer to the Wii-mote?
"And beyond, yeah," said Forrester principal analyst Paul Jackson. "Obviously, we've all got, in the game industry...a huge debt to pay to Nintendo for shaking things up a bit with the Wii, and for moving beyond the 37 button controller. This is taking things to the next extreme. Because even with the Wii, you still have (several) buttons, start and select. It's still a physical controller."
Added Jackson, Project Natal looks likely to "remove that final barrier between you sitting in your room and...what's on your screen."
Here's the demo video:
Amaring, right? Even legendary Steven Spielberg found it rather 'cool'; "The vast majority of people are just too intimidated to pick up a video game controller...Despite the size of (the video game) industry, still 60 percent of households do not own a video game console...The only way to bring interactive entertainment to everybody is to make it invisible."
If this won't change humanity's concept of virtual gaming, I don't know what will. Seriously.