At Tokyo Games Show Microsoft Corp. said that its forthcoming motion-sensing Natal device is supported by fourteen major developers of video games, therefore, at least fourteen titles that support Natal can be expected in the early life of the unit. Unfortunately, Microsoft did not reveal any actual names of games or the exact release timeframe of the motion-sensing technology.
Among the elite publishers actively working on games for “Project Natal” are Activision Blizzard, Bethesda Softworks, Capcom, Disney Interactive, Electronic Arts, Konami, MTV Games, Namco Bandai, Sega, Square Enix, THQ, Ubisoft and, of course, Microsoft Game Studios. Together, these publishers account for more than 70% of third-party software sales for this generation of console and most of the world’s most recognized video game franchises, the world’s largest developer of software noted.
What is rather intriguing is that game developers received Natal development kits back in early-June, more than a year before actual shipments. Publishers, who received development kits from Microsoft, used the opening of the Tokyo Game Show to voice their excitement about the device.
“Microsoft ‘Project Natal’ could fundamentally change the way players experience sports games. At EA, some of our top development teams are experimenting with these tools with the goal of delivering a completely fresh take on genres like sports and racing,” said EA Sports president Peter Moore.
Microsoft Project Natal device is the world’s first set of sensors to combine an RGB camera, depth sensor, multi-array microphone and custom processor running proprietary software all in one device. The depth sensor, which is an infrared projector combined with a monochrome CMOS sensor, allows Natal to see the room in 3D (as opposed to inferring the room from a 2D image) under any lighting conditions. The RGB cam delivers the three basic color components and helps, among other things, to enable facial recognition. The Project Natal sensor is not light-dependent, it can recognize gamers just by looking at faces, and it does not just react to key words, but understands what is said, according to Microsoft.
“Project Natal gives the industry’s creators and storytellers the freedom to dream of new experiences and to tell stories never before possible,” said Don Mattrick, senior vice president for the interactive entertainment business at Microsoft.