Project Natal: Can You See The Strings?
In the weeks since the debut of Project Natal, the public has been left to assess the credibility of Microsoft’s claim to have found a new future for gaming. It’s been admitted that the demonstration was controlled, but to what degree? games™ turns to the experts to find out what the future has in store.
“Project Natal looks very interesting. I don’t think Microsoft would make such a big song and dance about something that couldn’t be made to work. My main concern is whether everyone will have a big enough living room to use the thing in. What really interests me, though, is the way that it could make Natal technology available to the developers by allowing access to it from the XNA Framework. That could really pave the way to totally new types of gameplay.”
“I’m excited about it. In my opinion, a new device that creates new ways for people to play games is a good thing. How could it not be? There’s no reason to fear it, as it won’t detract from the controllers and keyboards that longtime gamers are comfortable with. Rather, new ideas make new types of games possible, and in doing so they help expand the audience. There are many examples of this, from Guitar Hero to the EyeToy, not to mention Nintendo and the Wii. I welcome this from Microsoft, and I’m looking forward to seeing more of the content that’s going to drive it.”
“Let’s say that Lionhead really did have a digital boy whose AI would not be broken by unexpected questions. What would that mean? We would be able to enter into a caring relationship with a realistic, virtual boy! That sounds amazing, until we realise that there are millions of REAL boys out there in the world who would benefit greatly from a relationship with a caring adult. Scintillating conversations with intelligent entities await us just beyond our doorsteps. Games are interesting in so far as they present insightful abstractions of reality, not because they can flawlessly mimic reality.”
“I really hope to see Microsoft break new ground here. I honestly do. The math is really simple. Great Game + Great Peripheral = Hit. Over the last 30 years, the industry very commonly delivers: Weak Tech-Demo-like Game + OK-ish Peripheral = Flop… The problem is computers don’t even have the knowledge of basic common sense, so how can they respond unless it’s just a bunch of pre-scripted stuff, or very rudimentary rhetoric, allegory, hyperbole etc. [Also] I’m not excited about jumping around in front of my TV… Regardless, I believe that unless you plan to ship the game with every machine, just forget about it and focus on bringing your prices down.”