'Natal lag issues will hurt game development'

Microsoft has invested significant money and time to ensure its upcoming motion controller Natal is as accomplished as its host console, yet suspected "lag issues" may curb the peripheral's chances of success.

That was the view offered by Traveller's Tales company director Jon Burton, who told Develop that his own experience with the hands-free controller raised doubts.

"I was actually more impressed with Sony's motion capture solution than Microsoft's Natal," he said.

"[Natal is] exceedingly clever, but the lag on the input and lack of physical buttons is really going to restrict the kind of games that can be done with it," he added, before going on to praise Sony's (currently nameless) alternative.

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PirateThom3168d ago

Natal is useless for games.

And before you get all uppity, since you all seem to get uppity when someone questions Natal, seriously take a step back and ask yourself, in all honesty, "in what why is this useful for games that I want to play?"

WildArmed3167d ago

This is why i love the current controller. it already does everything.. why would you want motion controls that can't even do everything what the controllers can do atm.

rroded3167d ago

i mean i can think of a few ways it could make present day games more interesting
like in a driving game playing with a controller but being able to have the view change by moving your head same for a fps. Mind you nothing the ps3 eye cant do as well.

Seems like ms is going to launch natal as the new gen 360 next year lets see what they can muster on the software side b4 we all cry epic fail.

marinelife93167d ago

The lag is what was turning me off. Unless they fix that you're going to have nothing but frustration trying to play anything.

That poor Japanese reporter lady trying to play ricochet in that one video says it all.

Blaze9293167d ago

"While driving in Burnout Paradise, Project Natal seemed to offer lag-free controls that did what I expected, my swats and kicks seemed to miss the ball a lot more than it should."

"Not actually holding anything in my hands the controls felt slightly unnatural, but amazingly lag was negligible (Microsoft claims a 66ms delay, which is the same as that introduced by a standard controller) and I was able to scream around Paradise City with no problems. "

"The tracking of movement is astounding, the detail of the recognition even more so; Kudo began by waving his arms around, at which the avatar promptly followed, and then to highlight its accuracy he began to thrust his hips around wildly, his moves again captured perfectly on screen.

Such precision is possible thanks to quick-fire mapping and instantaneous creation of a virtual skeleton comprising of 48 separate points."

"Speaking to Xbox's Major Nelson last week on his podcast, Cliff Bleszinski (40:22 – 52:58 -- the Gears of War guy) mentions that he was able to try out Natal a few weeks before E3 and tried out the driving where: "Just stick your hands forward and just steer. I dont feel any lag with it and its incredibly crisp and accurate." "


So many mixed reports. Does it lag or not :/, on hardware which is still in it's early stages.

Maybe it depends on the game being played?

Saaking3167d ago

Indeed, if you watch the demonstration video you'll see some flaws. The most obvious is LAG, and LOTS of it. How are you supposed to play anything other than small simple games on it with that much Lag?

Sony learned their lesson with the PSeye which is why they're making motion controls to go along with it. MS has decided to not to heed that warning, and it'll ultimately be Natal's Downfall.

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RussDeBuss3167d ago

any ideas around moving your head to move your FOV are stupid. unless you have tv's around you it would be un-natural. even a 50 inch tv is too small, too far away and is flat so wouldn;t work very well

ape0073167d ago

nothing mindblowing at all

let's just wait and see

Microsoft Xbox 3603167d ago (Edited 3167d ago )

Input lag is one the main reasons why Natal will fail. Another reason is mass studio support.

While Natal dev's struggle to make games for Natal, PS3 and Wii game studios will make multiplat games taking advantage of the newly accurate WiiMote Plus and the new PS3 motion controller. The industry has already adopted the motion "controller" as standard so Sony's attempt in this is already a guaranteed successful business venture. Can't say the same for Natal.

RememberThe3573167d ago

It may just depend on the demo. MS might not have given this dev their best demo build so it lagged a bit. My biggest issue is it not having a button input. I sure as hell am not going to be flinging my 360 controller around so it can slip out of my hands and brake a window.

IdleLeeSiuLung3167d ago

"yeah but the big thing with natal is your body is the controller so having a controller with natal defeats the purpose of your body is the controller"

See that is where your assumption is wrong. Perhaps for you whom are used to 8 buttons (4-face, 2 bumpers, 2 triggers), 2 analog sticks and a d-pad it is not an issue. For many others including me, having so many buttons is hard to master.

Having something like natal can alleviate that by using other more "natural" input in combination with the controller. It basically opens up for other ways to give input to your console without just being limited to the controller. I think this sort of hybrid use will most likely be the most successful use of natal.

Keep in mind that although the Sony motion controller has an advantage when it comes to what experience we know it can do, itself is also limited by it's design due to the lack of nunchucks. Implementing analog stick onto the wand will limit the motion use and using the dual shock one handed is cumbersome.

wpggamer3167d ago

that you can determine lag from watching a video. You have to be there to see what's going on. Besides all that, Natal hasn't been released yet......
Lag probably does depend on how it's used as well. But I think we should wait to pass judgement until a year from now.

How does he figure the sony controllers are cheaper? You need one dildo for each person at least, and a camera. With natal, all you need is the camera, which is supposed to be around 60 bucks I heard.

4Sh0w3167d ago

I guess we'll just have to wait and see. My bet is Natal will be pretty cool if used properly in hardcore games WITH a controller.

soljah3167d ago

yep companies spend millions of dollars for motion capture equipment and ms think that a $100 dollar camera sitting on top a tv will do it. lol what a joke. waving your arms and feet around like a idiot trying to get the xbox to recognize your movements in a instant to play mw2 lol.

we won3167d ago (Edited 3167d ago )

I have never seen so much damage control from the Sony camp since before the PS3 launched. I guess people are smart enough to know not rule out Natal like the Wii.

Lag? WTF is this dude talking about. I'm sure Natal will be golden when it comes out.

I guess this article is suppose to negate(give comfort) all the articles and media saying recently that Natal will own 2010 and will challenge Sony's ability to compete.

Mike134nl3167d ago

Still not sure on natal, still I love new technical innovations and will propably be a day one purchase for me.

Not saying that if you throw enough money at something it will be awesome, though most of the time this approach seems to work, which might be the case with natal.

At the bare minimum I will not disregard natal before I have tried it.

Also sonys solution will be cheap? bassicly you have a controller + camera so can't be that cheap. And please don't tell me the designer of the ps3 designed that controller, it's very ugly compared to a ps3.

sikbeta3167d ago

"[Natal is] exceedingly clever, but the lag on the input and lack of physical buttons is really going to restrict the kind of games that can be done with it"

It can only mean SHOVELWARE ala wii style, I'm telling you xbox owners, don't be attacked by this, if you truly believe in natal, we'll have a conversation about the possibility of pay $60 for a [email protected] game and the amount of shovelware the console will get following N steps

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PirateThom3167d ago

Have to say, I don't there's any damage control apart from people on the Microsoft side who think an add on is going to make any difference in the grand scheme of things.

Seriously, ask yourself "why? What can Natal do for me?" ignore the casual, sales and whatever other nonsense you're using to justify it and ask that question "How would Natal make my gaming experience better?"

The fact people ask what 360 has in 2010 and "Natal" is top of the list doesn't really work for me, when there's a lot of great games. Natal is a plaything of casuals, it's EyeToy waiting to happen. A few mini games, a few pointless features with full games, but ultimately nothing but hype.

darthv723167d ago

What can natal do for can make me feel like I am in the movie minority report with being able to navigate the dash, game menus, netflix screens, anything that required the left right up and down directional movements.

Dont knock it till you try it. I havent tried it so I can assume neither have you.

Arnon3167d ago (Edited 3167d ago )

Well, the fact that Natal will be incorporated in hardcore games, even to the smallest thing such as head tracking, can make a big difference in gaming. I also would love the convenience and "futuristic touch" that I'd get from using Natal in the dashboard.

I myself would love the option to lean over corners in console FPS.

lightningsax3167d ago

I hope that someone much, much smarter than Molyneux designs some subtle ways to use both Sony and Microsoft's MC systems that will enhance games instead of create another minigame extravaganza. Is that too much to hope for?

Okay, probably.

PirateThom3167d ago

"What can natal do for can make me feel like I am in the movie minority report with being able to navigate the dash, game menus, netflix screens, anything that required the left right up and down directional movements.

Dont knock it till you try it. I havent tried it so I can assume neither have you. "

"Well, the fact that Natal will be incorporated in hardcore games, even to the smallest thing such as head tracking, can make a big difference in gaming. I also would love the convenience and "futuristic touch" that I'd get from using Natal in the dashboard.

I myself would love the option to lean over corners in console FPS. "

All of that stuff could be done now with the Vision Cam.

So, why do you need Natal?

rockleex3167d ago

"it can make me feel like I am in the movie minority report with being able to navigate the dash, game menus, netflix screens, anything that required the left right up and down directional movements."

Natal is not needed for that. The only purpose of Natal is to track your body in 3 dimensions instead of 2.

But there's no point to it if it lags and can not track your body accurately. That was a major downfall for the EyeToy as well.

The funny thing is that Sony also showed off tech demos of a motion controller for the EyeToy that worked better than the original WiiMote, but sadly developers never picked it up.

Remember, that was before the DS and Wii came along to change the developers' minds.

Arnon3167d ago

You should scroll up and look at Blaze's post.

Noctis Aftermath3167d ago

The only thing natal has brought so far is hype, it still needs to prove itself if it wants to be widely adapted, and quite honestly i just can not see the appeal of natal in hardcore games.

People need to realize when something is being hyped, natal is currently one of those things.

Arnon3167d ago (Edited 3167d ago )

"So, why do you need Natal?"

I don't know. Why doesn't technology just start occurring logarithmically, since we have everything we need right now? Why do we need the PS3 when the PS2's already out? The point is, is that Natal does everything the other cameras do, but better and in more innovative ways, so in a better note, there's no reason NOT to have it.

Real Gambler3167d ago

It's just a question of cost. Originally, they were talking about $200 worth of hardware. $50 camera, $30 ultrasonic and microphone array and a $120 microcontroller. For that kind of price, I suspect that the lag will be minimal. If MS is ready to not make profit on it, then a selling tag of $199.99 should give you a very decent device, lag wise. If they want to make profit to pay for 2 years of development cost, that would end up being a $400 device, so not likely.

Now, the bad news is the fact that latest rumors had it going for $50 to $80. If that's the case, then MS will either really wrapping bills around each unit sold, or they will cut corners by using cheap camera, sensors, and sadly a $20 microcontroller. Remember, the demo were done using a Dual Core PC ($200 for the processor ALONE, likely a $800 PC, more if they had a decent graphic card in it.). So, expect lag if they do cut corners. Heck, not even sure cheap stuff like that could make a difference between you and your dog.

SilentNegotiator3167d ago (Edited 3167d ago )

Most of the "journalists" haven't noticed (AKA been paid off) the lag, but it's highly recognizable in demonstration videos.

Not to mention the inaccuracy issues and glitching. Don't make me show you the bottom of my avatar's shoe.

jut4203167d ago

@ PirateThom

I totally agree. This will probably do better than the PS2 Eyetoy because MS will probably bring games that appeal to more people with Natal, but the whole point of motion control is to get people into the game. If there is lag then that's not really getting me truly into the game the way 1:1 tracking will, especially if I'm playing with 3-D visuals. I mean in my mind there's nothing more that can be done than having lag less motion controls with 3-D visuals while playing a game to get you totally immersed in a game. Hopefully Sony has thought about doing this with Heavy Rain since they release around the same time, but they can think about setting the game up for a patch. I think that game would be perfect for motion controls and 3-D visuals, hopefully Sony has thought about this and also hopefully they can pull of motion control, but from what I saw of the demo at E3, I'm sold. Didn't seem to be any lag, if anything just some getting used to with quicker reflexes.

lowcarb3167d ago

FUD! Sony fanboys will say anything to knock Natal before it's release lol. Neither motion control has shown me anything to get me excited about so all the talk about Natal not being as good is nothing more than talk.

phalanx_mark3167d ago (Edited 3167d ago )

however lack of precision didn't stop the wii being a hit so with M$ dollars behind it it should be fine

n4gno3167d ago

[email protected]' sources : kotaku, major nelson, xboxXXXX

it's just marketing man, not facts.

Mogabu3167d ago

Natal is NOTHING more than MS's attempt at appeasing the casual crowd the Wii hit. Nothing more, nothing less. It's not for the "hardcore" gamer that enjoys GoW or Halo and if so, those games will be VERY few and far between compared to the casual games that come for it. Mark my words. You guys defend it now all you want but it's got nothing in for you and MS isn't planning to appease you. The "hardcore" market is fading and giving way to the casual and MS knows it. Hence their HUGE shift lately towards this market.

The writing is on the wall for the "hardcore" 360 gamers.. Dry spells.

Bigpappy3167d ago

Their recent work includes the popular franchise Crash Bandicoot, The Chronicles of Narnia, Super Monkey Ball Adventure, Super Mario[citation needed], Lego Star Wars II: The Original Trilogy, and WRC and F1 for the PSP. They have sold over 60 million games to date, and have won two BAFTAs; one for Gameplay with Lego Star Wars II: The Original Trilogy, and one for Children's Videogame of the Year for Lego Batman: The Video Game.

aceitman3167d ago (Edited 3167d ago )

who( close to ms ) like and make games for it will say its good and no problems no lag but other people say it has issues on the videos it shows lag and other issues . time will tell a tech demo from sony showed precision and no lag .............................. .. sony is taking what nintendo has and perfecting it if there is a company to do games with motion control its sony nintendo did a good job but sony will show how its done ...

ShadowCK3167d ago

So far, I haven't seen any lag issues.

Why does everyone hate Natal so much here? Geez.

PirateThom3167d ago (Edited 3167d ago )

I don't hate it, I just think it's being hyped for something that is completely pointless from the perspective of a gamer. Not to mention, the cool stuff like the headtracking and voice commands, the 360 could already do now, for the most part, with the vision cam and mic.

The 3D camera nonsense doesn't work for the majority of games. Burnout Paradise was specifically picked over, say, Forza because it doesn't require any level of precision to drive it but allowed them to present it as if it had a use and that's what it all boils down to for me, since the other demos were a block breaker game (which could have been done with the Vision Cam, due to not needing 3D camera tracking) and Milo (a non-game which was shown to be smoke and mirrors anyway). How could you possibly translate this to control sceme to work with the majority of games? How would, say, Halo work?

There's no use for anyone bar casuals, but this keeps being hailed as a huge innovation. The Wii was a huge innovation as well, but it doesn't mean it made for the best games.

jack_burt0n3167d ago

whats really impressive is with this hype they might actually get people to buy it, take it home, play it for a week and then begin to question its validity as a gaming device, its the power of marketing on the weak minded in full effect.

phalanx_mark3167d ago

for a lot of games lag will be only a minimal issue, eg. fitness games, painting etc. Its just MS are going to market it as a revolution not unlike nintendo did with wii.

TheBrit3167d ago

What makes those motion controls beneficial other than the fact that 50-60 millions wiis have sold because of the very fact it has motion control.

The games in reality shouldn't be any different as long as it detects your trigger pulling finger movement and racing/steering movements etc.

The fact that the guy said the lag will hurt it is pretty stupid. He talks as if its already coming out next week.

they have another 8-10 months to finish refining something that already looked pretty darned good on stage.

pixelsword3167d ago (Edited 3167d ago )

Yeah; I'll take a journalist's word (aka MW2's awesome bug-less game) over a developer actually making a game using the controller any time.


(I realize that Cliffy B. is in one of the comments, but playing a game that requires a slight movement of the hands and a game more ambitious are two separate things)


I'm sure GG and Killzone 2 fans are going to eat this up when 360 fans try to defend this.

vhero3167d ago

wow Blaze929... you take a quote from the Kotaku article and directly underneath that quote on the site it says it lags and Kotaku are very fanboyish. I think it depends a lot on the game and Dev but I think there will always be a bit of lag and Natal is definitely gonna restrict the type of game that can be played compared to Wii's and PS3's efforts.

The Happy Baby3167d ago

Thats kinda like downing the rock band guitar, for not being useful in things other than rockband.
Natal will have games made specifically for it, and if devs decide to incorporate the control scheme into other games(more so mainstream), then so be it. But if they didnt plan on having games and functions made specifically for it, then there would be no point in making it. Its just like the Wii. Its fun, but none of the big multiplat games are any good on it. we would much rather play them on Ps3 or 360. But with the games made just for it like Wii Sports, Wii Fit and Sport Resort---its alot of fun and the controls work very well. And I think this is a way for MS to finally compete with the Wii, head on. God knows, Nintendo has conquered the casual/family market.

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monkpunk13167d ago

All that leaping around in front of the x box is going to scratch your disks faster than a ferile cat stuffed in your pants...

Anon19743167d ago (Edited 3167d ago )

I was surprised when Time magazine gave it that title as there's nothing new with Natal, in my opinion. And I don't care if it's Sony's Wand, Microsoft Natal or the Wii-Mote, you won't catch me jumping around my living room like a hyperactive toddler just to play my videogames.

So far I haven't seen anything with Natal that impressed me. Not the E3 demo. Not the "Look at me! I'm holding an imaginary steering wheel! Faster, car, faster!" demo using Burnout. There is zero about Natal that makes me even want to give it a try. Looks irritating as hell.

And someone said to me once "But you can pick up anything to use and a controller and Natal will recognize it!"
Fantastic. How about I pick up, um...I don't know.. A CONTROLLER. Can Natal see me pressing the buttons on that to make it work?

It's about time a developer looked at this realistically instead of colored through glasses tinted green with Microsoft money.

DaTruth3167d ago (Edited 3167d ago )

360 fans like to play sales, so it need only do that for them to be excited about it! Have they mentioned anything yet that excites them beyond "teh sales"!

Natal will end up under the stairs in the basement where all the hardcore gamers keep their Wii's and Eyetoys!

Hoggy19833167d ago

Yeah your right, Natal is rubbish for games. Happy Christmas 2011 by the way.

Blaster_Master3167d ago (Edited 3167d ago )

I still laugh at the dude using Natal to make an Elephant with a pillow last E3. Not only was that a slap in the face to anyone with half a brain, but the way Sony showed them up with the precise movements of the psgem. Then laughed @ everyone afterwards saying that Natal was the best tech achievement last E3. Personally I think the motion plus controller is better then Natal. But Microsoft has bagillions of dollars to come up with some over hyped game. I wish the 720 would just come already.

DaTruth3167d ago

Is anybody at all realizing that Sony could probably implement this with a firmware update and a second PSeye if they really cared to. Not like the Cell couldn't handle it with one spu! Not like it will RROD!

frostypants3167d ago (Edited 3167d ago )

Natal is doomed to have the same issues as the PS3 Eye. At the end of the day, despite the impressiveness of the technology behind it and HOW it does things, as far as an end user's experience is concerned Natal's resulting product is merely an incremental improvement on a very limiting input methodology.

+ Show (49) more repliesLast reply 3167d ago
Alcon Caper3168d ago

"However, Burton has not seen a final version of Natal, as Microsoft looks to tweak the device before its ‘November’ launch.

'The software behind Natal stunned me,' added Burton. 'To be able to take effectively a bump-map of a person and turn that into a fully articulated and rigged polygonal skeleton is an incredible feat. We run a mo-cap studio and to get anything resembling mo-cap, live in real-time, from effectively a single camera is nothing short of amazing.'"

Fishy Fingers3168d ago

I don't think anyone is knocking it's technical wizardry, but more it's actual use for real world gaming scenarios (outside of the casuals which I see loving it).

But what annoys me most with many of the 360 (hardcore) faithful, and this reflects upon many PS3 gamers also (lets be fair here), is how they rubbished motion controls until their company of choice announced one, all of a sudden, it's the futurez!!!!1

Elven63167d ago

The fanboys claiming Natal is essentially a glorified Eye Toy are.

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Elven63167d ago

And it has begun!

You also need to realize that the Eye Toy was not the first time a camera attachment was used on a console to allow for such interaction.

TheBand1t3167d ago (Edited 3167d ago )

Both are a ripoff of the Dreamcast Dreameye.

gamingisnotacrime3167d ago

Nintendo has focused mainly on the casual aspect of motion gaming, but MS and Sony are tryign to offer Motion Controls for tha core gamers in HD wish is a hyge difference from the gamecube with motion controls Nintendo launched.
I dont expect motion to be the future, but a nice variation for core gamers in HD.

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lve2playbball3167d ago

Any real gamer knows that motion control are a waste of time. Even playing mariokart on the wii is better when you dont have to move your arms, it just sucks to have to do that. Natal is Microsoft trying to take some of the market from Wii, but I dont think that will happen. Wii is a machine for families and kids and is garbage when it comes to real gaming. THat is not to say that it doesn't have any good games, but in general, it is just blahh. I think Microsoft(and Sony with their motion controls) is making a huge mistake by releasing Natal with the current Xbox. They should just wait til the Nextbox and include Natal with that.

Arnon3167d ago (Edited 3167d ago )

"so if you know it wasn't the first to do this why act like it is revolutionary?"

Wouldn't basically apply to everything? Does that mean that the PS3 isn't revolutionary because the PS2 came before it?

Elven63167d ago

MrJackOfAllTrades: It is you who is acting like one, the discussion is about the technology behind Natal which you have claimed is essentially a EyeToy 2.0. People are fanboys by claiming things such as the eyetoy is the first time such a thing was done on consoles or that Natal is simply a ripoff of other techs.

Where in ANY of my postings have I ever stated Microsoft should get all the credit for Natal? Please find it for me.

"Speak the truth"? Ok, have fun with your eyetoy...

wpggamer3167d ago

Do some research idiot. Nobody has used a stereo camera setup like natal, with infrared and visual spectrum at the same time.
And if you didn't know, if this was done before, why is Sony attempting to copy it. Do a google search, you'll find out that master copier sony is going after the stereo camera setup as well. They'll just be a bit late, like they are with the dildo system they've got. At least MS is trying to go into another direction.

I am actually exited for all the other options which natal will bring. Like voice activated logging in, and just using motions to navigate on live, maybe a browser of some kind.

phalanx_mark3167d ago

natal is more advanced for sure, like the dev was saying in the article but it comes with a sacrifice of precision and responsiveness, two of the most important qualities in traditionally controlled games; casual games are another matter however!

lowcarb3167d ago

We don't know if natal will come with a sacrifice because we have not played anything on it yet until it's release. For all we know the kinks will all be worked out (if there really were any)and things go well.

n4gno3167d ago (Edited 3167d ago )

wpggamer you are a joke, do you know all the things you are excited about are possible with an stupid eye toy ?

do you know natal is not an ms inovation (israelian project) ?

sony (more : hardware + soft) and nintendo innove, ms copy (for consoles).

Bigpappy3167d ago (Edited 3167d ago )

Fools keep saying that you can do the same with Eyetoy and the vision cam. NO YOU CAN NOT! The vision cam , the Eyetoy or PSeye can not measure forward and backwards motion. So you can not through or kick a ball. you can not punch. You can put something in front of a ball and have the ball move on its own but the ball will not react to the velocity of your swing, or kick or punch. Natal goes that. That is a huge difference.

LeonSKennedy4Life3167d ago (Edited 3167d ago )

Are what?

You said "The fanboys claiming Natal is essentially a glorified Eye Toy are."

ARE WHAT?!?!?!? Why didn't you finish that sentence?

Big Pappy: I regret to inform you that the PS Eye can track forward movement. There are many things the Eye can do that Sony just hasn't put forth the effort into showcasing. With a simple firmware update, the Eye could do anything and everything Natal could do. Yes, the technology is already inside the camera itself.

Elven63167d ago

LeonSKennedy4Life: What else can I add? The sentence is done, I'm basically replying to FishyFingers who said no one is doubting the tech behind Natal, I replied the hardcore PS fanboys especially here on N4G are doubting it.

DaTruth3167d ago (Edited 3167d ago )

I'm pretty sure they were doubting its viability in hardcore games which is yet to be seen. Even the driving games are stupid without resistance and rumble!

But MS do have a bad track record with the tech come to think of it!

Blaster_Master3167d ago

I totally agree with you. Also I think its ridiculous that people who want the Natal are acting like the psgem is more of a gimmicky "Wii" type of controls. It just so happens to be ironic, and funny considering the Wii Motion Plus is the sickest controller out now, and noone is talking about it. Sorry if Im changing the subject, its just that Ive been playing alot of NSMBW and freaking out on how good Mario Galaxy 2 is looking. Zelda and the Other M is gonna be my favorite games this gen.

wpggamer3167d ago

You can log into PSN just by talking to the PS3?

It recognizes you when you walk into the room?

It can tell you're waving your hand, when its in front of your body? And you can use this to browse content and games on your console?

frostypants3167d ago (Edited 3167d ago )

In terms of functionality for the gamer, how is Natal NOT a glorified EyeToy? Please explain.

People like to talk