What's Wrong with Microsoft's Xbox 360 Motion-Control Approach?

Don't get me wrong, Microsoft's E3 Xbox 360 no-controller motion-sensing bolt from the blue dubbed "Project Natal" was impressive stuff, but Sony's wand-based motion-control response the following day got me thinking (as it did my colleague, Ian Paul, who has five questions for Microsoft).

A few years ago, I interviewed Dr. Richard Marks, i.e. the guy who talked us through Sony's PS3 wand-with-a-glow-bulb motion control demo at E3 on Tuesday. Marks is the guy who designed Sony's Eye Toy, and I was at the time working on a games interface story to coincide with the release of Nintendo's Wii. I asked Marks why Sony didn't just turn up the Eye Toy's capture resolution and challenge Nintendo with a hands-free alternative. In other words, why didn't Sony just debut their own "Project Natal" years ago? They had the essential tech--Microsoft's approach is essentially just the Eye Toy Plus, after all.
Marks' thoughts were telling, perhaps even predictive of what we saw from Sony on Tuesday.

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ShinMaster3515d ago (Edited 3515d ago )'s not really the revolutionary tech that "will change games forever".
Here's prove that this is not so new and that Sony has been using it for years since the PS2 unto the PS3.

Full Body(skeleton) Tracking is not new at all:
(pay attention @01:20)

Though voice-recognition is not part of Sony's tech.
Then again, I don't wanna spend time talking to my TV -_-

That is why I prefer the cheaper PS Eye

You know that Natal thing will be expensive :P

chaosatom3515d ago (Edited 3515d ago )

I think it was the fact that they didn't do a stage demo and show how it works.

When sony showed off their motion control, i had a smile on my face all the way. It would change objects on the fly, and then shoot stuff and go into FPS mode, and then go into RTS Mode and back to FPS mode. It would then write something very actually with a pencil, and then it had a cross-bow thing with awesome graphics and animation for the enemies. And people were actually laughing and clapping.

Nonetheless, MS didn't give too much of a concrete idea of how this Natal can be implemented in Hardcore games except driving. Right now , it doesn't make me go out and buy an xbox since it comes like a year or so from now on. Whether Natal becomes the next big thing is still pretty far into the future. Another E3 is going to come by before it even releases.

fear883515d ago

And it functions in the exact same manner as the Natal in scanning. Unfortunately, Sony patented the control scheme with button input which left Microsoft in position to practically gimp Natal out of an actual controller combo without incurring a lawsuit.

jmare3515d ago

This vid is better. BAM! There it is!

Qui-Gon Jim3515d ago (Edited 3515d ago )

ShinGino: I understand what you're trying to say, but those videos don't make your point very well. In that first video, if you're talking about the guy moving the trampoline, look closely, you can see he's holding a card in his hand that the trampoline is "drawn" over. Those other videos are just the system detecting motion, not the people's bodies themselves.

fear88: I think Natal uses much more advanced software than what that video shows (that video is a PS2 eyetoy). What that video does show, though, is that that guy seems kinda nervous even doing this presentation alone in his living room (so it's not necessarily that he was afraid of Natal at this year's E3). That video was clearly the forerunner to Sony's new tech, though. Add in sixaxis tech and the Eye measuring the size of the ball for distance calculations and you have the beginnings of what they showed a couple days ago.

Edit @ below: Yeah, i get what you're saying that the concept is very similar, even the tech seems similar, but i think it's very different underneath. As far as that guy (Dr. Marks is it?) I was just saying that in response to people claiming he was obviously afraid of Natal. He wasn't, that's just how he seems to be when presenting.

fear883515d ago (Edited 3515d ago )

That video I provided is 5 years old. Natal was not even in the back of Peter Moores mind when this video was made. The guy is very camera shy though I admit but because he is a very anxious guy.

EDIT: Sorry, misread your comment. I guess being up for 22 hours straight can impair judgement.

eagle213515d ago

it's about how talented the developers are at making AAA software. Sony has shown a phenomenal product, EyePet, that uses only the playstation eye that impresses every age of my family and friends when I play the trailer. I think Sony plans on spring 2010 launch for their motion controller and I assume they have something very special to launch with it. Seriously, the electronic giants from Sony probably had plenty of options and chose the one at e3 for practical purposes core gamers would enjoy most. I still find it hilarious that 360 fans loooooove motion now. :)

ChozenWoan3514d ago

I'm pretty sure Sony is very close to being ready to release this beast.

Notice the date this was posted.

Now Sony just needs to find a fitting name for this beast. I myself like the name PSLightstick. Why? It's a stick that uses light for tracking purposes... and Lightsaber would likely get them sued.

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Xi3515d ago

eyetoy plus?

Not so much, natal uses something completely different, it takes an infrared scan of the entire room to map out a body in 3d space, and can determine the entire bodies movement based on the skeleton. While something like the eyetoy would never be able to accomplish such a task because it can only recognize movement on a 2d plane.

Natal can recognize even small movements without interference from the background or lighting, even finger movements can be detected. The eyetoy needs a brightly lit room, and has to have a plane background to see large objects like heads and hands, let alone fingers.

That's like calling formula 1, drag race plus.

ShinMaster3515d ago

EyeToy yes, PS Eye? no. It does not need a brightly lit room. Check vids on youtube.

KampferZeon3515d ago (Edited 3515d ago )

But doesn't it mean anything that can emit infra red would cause interference to the IR camera? like a radiator, or just the sunshine through the windows?

Also, since it's not using sound wave which can scan multiple targets in a single sweep ( like a submarine ), it doesn't work like sonar, does it?

Someone suggests the infra-red emitter will blank out the entire room. That's true, but then how it's going to detect depth. The IR camera has the same limitation to the RGB camera, i.e. it only see a 2D picture. Instead of seeing in the visible light spectrum, it sees in the IR spectrum, no big difference! Infra-red does not equal to magic!!

If the IR camera is really use for depth detection, then it must be pointing in a direction like a radar. I would imagine using light means the infra-red has to be projected out from the emitter in a spanning manner. more like a radar? Maybe it's scanning the room from left to right 60 times per second?

If it's all true, than the tracking software is going to have a hard time, isn't it? So much imperfect information to judge.

I think you are emphasizing too much about EyeToy's inability to detect depth, recognizing depth and tracking finger movements are not directly related.

You can still play a game of papar, stone and scissors with someone who has lost his left eye!!

aldesko3514d ago

I think we should wait for more demos until we see how accurate it is. From the actual demos we saw at the conference, they really didn't show anything the PSeye couldn't do. The dodgeball demo was really just a girl in a 2d space moving her arms and legs. Even the edge hands-on said Natal had trouble with the third dimension.

I have a hard time believing that Natal can track finger movements right now. If it can, they should've shown some more precise functions in the painting program instead of throwing buckets of paint. I think a photoshop-type app would be awesome if Natal is really able to handle precision like you say it can.

Also, the fact that Natal couldn't lift the avatar's foot without spazzing out is worrisome. I don't think MS or Sony were ready to show this "new tech" yet. It really belongs at CES, anyways.

SuperM3514d ago

If Natal has trouble tracking the third dimension then thats fail. The techdemos they showed on stage could pretty much be done in eyetoy. Also there was way to big delay from you moved until the screen reacted. The more i think about it the more i see how Sony clearly had the best motion control. Way to go Sony! hopefully developers will support Sonys motion control.

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darkmurder3515d ago

What people don't realise with this camera, all of those who say you can't feel what you're doing, it wont work with FPS and such. It's a camera, it can interpret what you are doing. So far from what I've seen, I could find it quite logical to see someone holding a prop that they could use to help them game?

KionicWarlord2223515d ago

I wish they showed a better demo of natal . It does look to be good even now that we know that it could be implemented into older xbox 360 games.

Qui-Gon Jim3515d ago

Any third person game would have to have animations completely reworked. FPS games could use it easily enough, though. I'm sure developers could find ways, but most wouldn't be worth the time to create a patch. Mark my words, though, that Halo: Reach will have Natal exclusive features. Many Halo fans would buy Natal just for that.

beardpapa3515d ago

Agreed. Sony did it nicely by demoing their product for implementation in games and drawing, as well as show the precision it has. Microsoft's demo was really neat but the whole wallpaper elephant creation they had to me felt gimmicky. I'd rather pull out my wacom and sketch some in photoshop. They should've really demo'd Milo live on-stage. That would've been somethin!

tda-danny3514d ago

I'm sure they would have liked to, had the entire thing note been scripted

enjoi1873515d ago

has anyone even seen the eye toy games...let me just say LOL

D4RkNIKON3515d ago

and PSN users will laugh when we start to see the lame and ultra casual XBL games that use natal. What I find most funny about natal, is that they brag that you wont "need" a controller. But they would be stupid not to implement the use of a controller along with the camera, because core games do require buttons. Sony's tech looked extremely accurate using the controllers and the PSeye. When all is said and done, both will be very similar devices.. The real magic will be the games that are developed for the tech. And IMO (strictly my opinion, you don't have to agree) Sony has the better exclusive game lineup. I can see both Sony and MS using this to please not only the casual market but the core gamers as well.

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