Microsoft Corp. said that thanks to major innovations, such as project Natal motion-sensing device, the Xbox 360 platform may well have 10-years lifecycle. Similar promise regarding the PlayStation 3 game console was once made by execs from Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. Considering both claims, it is reasonable to assume that the current systems’ lifecycles will be extraordinary long.
“We firmly believe that the Xbox 360 has a life cycle through 2015 (10 years after the launch). Project Natal is a great innovation. It will work with every Xbox 360 sold. It’s not about pushing more pixels on the screen. It’s about how to break down barriers that stop people from playing games,” said Shane Kim, corporate vice president of strategy and business development at Microsoft’s interactive entertainment business, in an interview with Venturebeat web-site.
Project Natal is a motion-sensing device for the Xbox 360 video game console that does not require any additional controllers. Project Natal sensor is the world’s first to combine an RGB camera, depth sensor, multi-array microphone and custom processor running proprietary software all in one device. Unlike 2D cameras and controllers, Project Natal tracks full body movement in 3-D, while responding to commands, directions and even a shift of emotion in voice, Microsoft explained.
Microsoft hopes that Natal will attract new gamers to the Xbox 360 platform, but admits that Natal is not to be released in 2010. Besides, the company admits that it will take quite sometime before game developers start to take advantage of the motion-sensing device. In fact, Mr. Kim is skeptical regarding Sony’s ability to release its motion-sensing controller in Spring 2010.
“We are saying [Natal] is not going to be 2009. We have put the technology in the developers’ hands. But the spring of 2010 is very aggressive. Sony has made other promises before. […] Not only do you have to get the technology right, you have to have third parties supporting it and great first-party software. We showed demos yesterday and we have a lot of work being done at Microsoft Game Studios that we haven’t shown yet,” Mr. Kim explained.
Since Microsoft Xbox 360 has been on the market for nearly four years now and will likely turn five years old when Natal finally arrives to the market, it is unlikely that potentially best-selling games will require it right in 2010 or 2011. As a result, it is rather likely that either the Xbox 360 will have 10 years lifecycle or Natal is more about the next-generation Xbox.