Project Natal theoretically seems like a nice and innovative way to play video games but in reality it's bound to completely fail.
Since the beginning of video gaming in the 70s & 80s, people had a common vision of the future of the industry. Everybody would be wearing a weird helmet and start playing in this sort of virtual reality where your movements would be recreated in real time in the virtual world you're in. Project Natal gets us one step closer to this reality and thank God no helmets are involved. But in reality is that the future we want as gamers?
Here are a few reasons why I believe this new project is going to struggle getting the interest of anyone.
- People never really liked addons. Obviously it's not going to be hooked directly on the 360 like the Sega CD or the 32X but you will still need to buy a clunky piece of hardware that will use up some extra space.
- So far we have no idea how much this thing will cost but you can't really expect people who invest lots of money on their 360 for games and online service to be interested in a technology that to be quite honest does not recreate perfect 1 to 1 motion (that's unless the technology improves from what we've seen at E3 09).
- Also please don't try and make me believe that playing a racing game is more fun when holding air vs holding a steering wheel peripheral. I have a feeling Natal will only be a bunch of collections of mini games that uses the technology. I don't see a Halo or Gears game using the Natal technology. Although it could be interesting, I think it would be very limited mainly because of the range of movement that really depends on the size of the living room and the lack of any buttons. We haven't seen much of the gameplay but from what I've seen, it seems very similar to what was done with the Eye Toy or the PS Eye so far. I can tell you right now, there are no games on either of those platforms that are worth going crazy about.
- I want to finish with the Milo kid. This is probably the stupidest thing I've ever seen since Seaman on the Dreamcast. I have friends and family that I love to talk to and have interesting conversations with. Why the fuck would I want to start having this "relationship" with a virtual kid that will probably have extremely limited capabilities in terms of recreating human emotions. It's cool to have voice recognition but please keep it for simple commands and short phrases because otherwise it will become frustrating. The system won't get everything and you'll have to repeat or it will understand something else...
I'm really not convinced about project Natal, holding air has never been fun for me and I don't think this will change that perception. I think what convinced people that Natal is going to be the future of gaming was by the way it was presented. I mean Steven Spielberg is endorsing the goddamn thing, it HAS to be good!!!! Peter Molenyeux looked like an infomercial guy trying to convince me that this thing really works as seen on TV! The trailers also looked pretty nice so when you compare that with how Sony presented their motion sensing technology, I mean Natal wins by a mile. In reality even though the two guys from Sony looked like elementary students at a show and tell, I was more convinced by what Sony showed in terms of what's the future of motion sensing technology. True 1 to 1 recreation of movements and more importantly the capability of playing hardcore games using the motion controls. So to me, Project Natal fails to proove that it's the future of gaming.