Even if Microsoft and Sony are actually using the same motion-sensing technologies that Nintendo supposedly rejected when it was developing the Wii, that will most likely have absolutely zero effect on how successful and game changing those motion-controlled technologies will be once they’re finally released. For Microsoft, the risk/reward ratio for its Project Natal is significantly higher than Sony’s own motion-based project, given that Natal is attempting to make hands-free gaming a reality.
If that sounds like a massive undertaking will the potential to reach the same level of importance and technological significance usually reserved for next-gen console launches, that’s because it could be, according to Microsoft executive Shane Kim.
Kim told Kotaku during E3 2009:
"Conceptually, the launch of Natal will be like the launch of Xbox 360. It's going to be that big. We're not just going to ship it when the hardware and software are ready. We have to make sure that there are enough content experiences that are really good. That's similar to how you would think of the launch of a new console. It's got to have a great launch line-up. That's the same thing here."
Given what Microsoft is looking to achieve with Natal, both within the gaming space and beyond, there’s no reason to think it won’t be a major deal when it’s finally released in a few years. Will people be lining up for days ahead of time to be among the first to get their hands on it? Perhaps, but as Kim points out, a successful console launch is wholly dependent on the software that launches with it, and that will be triply true for Natal. Maybe as we learn more about what exactly gamers can expect from Project Natal, it will become easier to envision massive lines of people waiting to get their hands on the premier hands-off tech of this, or any, generation.
Will you be lining up a week ahead of time to get your hands on the first Project Natal bundle?