A high-ranking executive from Sega, a large independent game publisher, said that motion sensing game controllers from Microsoft Corp. and Sony Computer Entertainment have a huge potential in general, but initially the company will concentrate on creating rather simplistic titles due to limited install base of Natal and PS Move. A particularly interesting comment was said about Microsoft’s sensor, according to the exec, the device will inspire “brilliant innovations”.
“My guess is that in the next two years plus, you will see some brilliant innovations [with Natal]. We are experimenting at the moment and it will take us a long time to get a fully commercially acceptable game that has that kind of application. However, we have not seen what first party have yet. They could come in and blow us all away with their innovations,” said Michael Hayes, the president of Sega West game publishing company, in an interview with CVG.
Microsoft Natal motion sensor is a very promising technology, however, it is hardly flawless. Rather interestingly, but Mr. Hayes did not answer whether Sega had seen any problems with Natal’s lag, but claimed that Sega was confident that most, if not all, of what had been promised by Microsoft and Sony was going to be delivered.
“We will certainly be supporting both. We have several games on both [Move] and Natal that you will see from around the end of this year and into 2011,” said the president of Sega West.
A noticeable challenge for Sega and other game developers at the moment is the adoption rate of the Natal and PlayStation Move. If there are not a lot of people installing those controllers, it hardly makes sense to design truly innovative and expensive games tailored for the devices.
“If you look at how many Xbox 360s or PS3s there in Europe – let's say 12 million of each – if they get an attached rated of 12.5% with these [motion] devices, that's 2.5 million consumers for us to go after. If 10% of those buy our games, that's 250 thousand. How much money can you realistically spend on development for that audience? But Microsoft and Sony are talking very big numbers. If they can achieve that, it will make these devices very viable,” said Mr. Hayes.
Still, the head of Sega West is confident that both Microsoft and SCE will make their best to popularize the PlayStation Move and Natal controllers, given the fact that the two console developers predict long lifespan for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360.
“Could sales of Natal hit 50% of those current installed base? We think the price point will be very attractive. Xbox 360 has a long way to go with a lot more hardware – so, for example, if they were to bundle Natal, it's a home run if they can afford to do that. I would imagine both Microsoft and Sony are going to spend big development money to make these devices very attractive,” concluded the president of Sega West.