The world watched closely as Microsoft finally demonstrated their response to Nintendo's motion controller revolution: Project Natal. There's no controller involved with Project Natal -- and there's no release date yet, either. Microsoft did not announce a release date at their E3 press conference for a reason, I was told.
Moments after the conference concluded, I spoke with Microsoft gaming executive and corporate VP John Schappert. He played coy about Project Natal's release date, and when asked directly if we'd see the hardware on shelves this year, he paused.
"What we wanted to do was -- it's important technology that we've been working on some time and we're not ready to announce the release date or other specifics on that other than what we're going to be bringing to market is controller free gaming and we've got some tech specs announced -- such as depth camera, RGB camera, array microphone [and there's] custom silicon inside there," he said.
"Our goal is to bring that out and show what the future of Xbox 360 is and, more importantly, to get it in the hands of developers," continued Shappert. "It's shipping to developers now. Folks are working on games. As you can see, some of our earlier game prototypes that were on stage. Our goal was to show you what the future holds for Xbox 360, we'll get into specifics later."
It doesn't sound like Project Natal is coming this year, however. Stay tuned for more talk about Project Natal as E3 week continues.