With the release of Natal for the xbox 360 looming in the near future, minds are racing as to how microsoft and third parties will utilize the new technology.
Most people seem to believe, and rightly so given the tech demo, that natal will be controller free, and all actions will be performed by just using your body.
I was very excited upon first view, but the longer you think about it you realise that its uses in shooters, in which the 360s audience reside, is limited at best. Pointing your finger like an 8 year old playing cops and robbers just wont cut the mustard for real accuracy, and movement? ummm
I believe natal could relish in the shooter environment if gamers were willing to embrace the idea of purchasing peripherials for use with natal, for instance Call of duty could easily be controlled with a generic next gen light gun, the gun would be fashioned in the style of an assault rifle.
The ability to physically hold something not only gives the benefit of accuracy it also solves the million dollar question; just how do we move around the environment while aiming? I believe the answer lies in the gun itself, now picture yourself holding the gun like an assault rifle with your finger poised on the trigger, your thumb would easily rest on and and control a small analog stick concealed on the upper part of the gun for movement, and turning the gun for changing direction, while actions like crouching and jumping are easily handled by buttons on the side of gun being held by other hand.
Its time to think outside the box and not get ourselves stuck in the idea of "you are the controller" the possibilities are out there, cost issues are present as developers know how difficult it will be to get gamers to part with their cash on add ons, but as a gamer for the past 20 years I am truly excited about the possibilities that Natal brings, yet I fear the whole hands free concept has caught on and due to demand and preconceptions we will miss out on the possibility of truly innovative ideas by not giving the gamer that little piece of hardware which would be the consistent focal point of the experience.
So come next year when Natal sees the light of day, we'll all be sitting there pointing our fingers and holding our hands out on an invisible wheel (which by the way, feels depressingly hard to hold level consistently for more than ten minutes) and we'll all be thinking how cool itd be if we just had something to hold.