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The Inside Story of Microsoft's 'Project Natal' 130

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the dance-for-your-joy dept.
Lanxon writes "Wired has published a lengthy behind-the-scenes feature documenting the inception, development and technological struggles of Microsoft's Project Natal, now known as Kinect. The feature is the result of conversations the magazine had with a number of key developers and researchers behind the project, and unprecedented access to Microsoft Research in a number of countries, over the course of three years."
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The Inside Story of Microsoft's 'Project Natal'

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  • What's the likelihood that they will recoup enough money to have made this worthwhile? Microsoft has put a HUGE amount of money and effort behind development & advertising for Natal/Kinect...but how many people are really going to buy it?

    Look at the Playstation Move...a huge amount of promotion and hype leading up to its release, and then barely a peep about it after hitting the streets. The same thing will likely happen with Kinect. If it really does retail for $150 as has been widely reported, then

    • by Pojut (1027544)

      Please note that I'm not criticizing the technology...I'm criticizing what Microsoft is deciding to do with it at the moment.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Actually most projects in Microsoft Research never come close to making any money, they are just meant to be feeder projects for future products. The fact that this one came to market so quickly is really unique.

        Most people forget how much money some of the big companies like Microsoft and IBM put into pure research efforts (i.e. no immediate plan for a ROI)

        • Aren't there still pretty hefty tax cuts for R&D?
          • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

            Most people forget how much money some of the big companies like Microsoft and IBM put into pure research efforts (i.e. no immediate plan for a ROI)

            Forget? Is there anything to really forget? Back in the day, IBM did quite a bit of pure research and now, occasionally you'll see something about them writing "IBM" with atoms or making a computer that's really fast but nothing like the research they did.

            BTW, nothing will ever beat AT&T Bell Labs - especially for the pure research they did back when they existed - all that's gone now.

            Basically, a guy like William Shockley wouldn't have a chance in this day and age.

            • Re: (Score:1, Offtopic)

              by bberens (965711)
              Some of this I think is just timing. With respect to the timeline of human existence we've made some really historic, revolutionary discoveries/innovations in the last 50 years. The revolutionary discoveries have waned and now we're continuing with evolutionary progress. This is easily seen in computers and cell phones that keep just getting smaller and faster but lack really amazing new things. Having them at all was revolutionary, now we're incrementally improving upon them. IMO the industrial revolu
              • by Ihmhi (1206036)

                The parent post isn't remotely offtopic to the conversation at hand and he should not have been modded as such.

                Remember folks, there's no "-1, I Disagree" option.

              • by Supurcell (834022)
                We're incrementally improving on things until they are nothing like what they were before.
          • If a company spends $1billion on R&D that money is still gone, if it's taxed or not. It's not like you make money from taxes by spending it on R&D.
      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by mSparks43 (757109)

        They should get Carol Vorderman to do the advert. "Now you can consolidate all your super sucky controllers into one, easy, Mega sucky interface"

      • by RingBus (1912660) on Thursday October 07, 2010 @01:54PM (#33827224)

        Microsoft was caught faking their demos for their Eye Toy style motion controls for the past two E3s.

        And first had reports constantly talk of horrible lag between arm movements and response.

        You can't play games while sitting down.

        You need to have a relatively large area completely clear in whatever room you are using it in.

        There are lighting issues that cause the system to have trouble recognizing motion.

        There are clothing issues that cause the system to have trouble recognizing motion.

        It doesn't recognize fine motions like finger actions.

        It only supports two players.

        It should be obvious why Microsoft was forced to fake their demos and so far there has been almost zero real world demos outside of carefully controlled showings with people Microsoft is certain are going to hype the product.

        Not that any of that really matters. There isn't any game even remotely interesting or fun that Microsoft has show for the system. When Nintendo showed off the Wii they were confident enough to let everyone at the very first E3 where it was shown play it and had games that both gamers and non-gamers really wanted to play.

        Most likely the only people who will end up buying this shoddy tech from Microsoft are the same ones who jumped on the dead HD-DVD format.

        • by Anonymous Coward

          What was Microsoft going to do?

          They had been in the console market for 8 years and have gotten nowhere. Some 7 or 8 billion in losses - much higher if you calculate how many other products in Microsoft's E&D division have been hiding the true Xbox generated losses. They have no hardware design and manufacturing capabilities to be able to compete with Sony. They have a joke internal game development studio array - only 3 or so first party studios compared to Sony's gigantic 21 or so and Nintendo with 10.

        • I take it you didn't get to PAX this year... lots of Kinect demos (both by MS and by third-party developers). They all worked pretty well. Some had huge lines of people waiting to play. They all had people watching. Everybody walking away afterward looked excited.

          Don't get me wrong, Kinect is far from perfect and the cost is substantial, but the system most assuredly works and people are hyped for the games.

        • Craig Mundie, Chief Research and Strategy Officer for Microsoft, gave a demo today at the MIT CSAIL Dertouzos Lecture, and faked most of the demo too.

          During the only part he didn't fake, he showed the debug output of the controller on one screen (skeletal model superimposed over body silhouette), and the movement was *extremely* noisy and jumpy, easily fooled unless all your limbs are visible in the silhouette. Games are going to have to do a ton of event noise smoothing to get anything useful.

          It als
        • by thijsh (910751)

          Most likely the only people who will end up buying this shoddy tech from Microsoft are the same ones who jumped on the dead HD-DVD format.

          Or people who explained to their girlfriend it's probably worthless crap but their girlfriend pre-ordered it anyway... :-(
          That's 150 euro's wasted. Yes euro's, thats about 209 USD... Fuck!

          <grumbling> Never should have given her that creditcard... </grumbling>

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Darkness404 (1287218)
      Exactly, just about every single console has tried to do what Kinect is trying to do.

      The Dreamcast had the Dreameye

      The PS2 had the EyeToy

      The PS3 has the PlayStation Eye

      Even the 360 has the Xbox Live Vision


      All of them failed to change gaming as we know it. Yeah, the EyeToy had a few games that made use of it, yeah, they were fun in a weird way but they were just tech demos.

      We've been trying the camera + console combo for a decade and none of them have really changed gaming... at all.
      • At least Sony is reusing components; The PlayStation Eye is one of two required* pieces in the Sony Move system.

        Plus, attempts to "revitalize" a console midway through its lifespan have historically failed, the only "success" would be the expansion pack for the N64 the rest (SegaCD, Sega 32x, etc.) have all spectacularly failed.

        I can only think of 3 games that used the N64 memory expansion: Donkey Kong 64, Perfect Dark, and The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask.

        Having said that, there are other things I can th

        • by walshy007 (906710)
          Gauntlet legends required it if you wanted more than one player, it used the extra ram for the extra enemies etc.
        • I can only think of 3 games that used the N64 memory expansion: Donkey Kong 64, Perfect Dark, and The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask.

          Yeah, that and StarCraft 64 were the only 4 games which required the expansion pack, however, when most people compile lists of what were considered to be the "best" N64 games, usually Perfect Dark or Majora's Mask makes it close to or the top game, so I'd consider that a success when compared to things like the 32x (can anyone even think of a 32x game without Googling a list of them? And even then how many of them were considered "classics" like Perfect Dark or Majora's Mask is considered today? My guess

          • can anyone even think of a 32x game without Googling a list of them

            Yes, specifically Knuckles Chaotix and Doom 32x... although the latter is really easy to remember.

            And even then how many of them were considered "classics" like Perfect Dark or Majora's Mask is considered today?

            The 32x didn't have classics, but there are some addons that did have classics.

            Sonic CD for the Sega CD is considered a classic, and has spawned both a PC version, and Gamecube and PS2 re-releases (as part of Sonic Gems; Sonic CD was

        • by powerlord (28156)

          Personally I think Sony certainly seems committed to "doing it all".

          Between "Kung Fu Live!", which seems comparable to Kinect does, requiring only the PS Eye. http://www.kungfulivegame.com/ [kungfulivegame.com], the PS Move system, which seems to replicate what the Wii Motion+ can do, and the traditional PS controllers, there are loads of choices for interactive controls, and, there is the ability for supporting Multiple methods of control, so a developer doesn't need to fully commit to one method (which is a good thing to enco

    • by MaWeiTao (908546)

      Barely a peep in the media doesn't mean people aren't intrigued. I'm personally very interested in Playstation Move and am seriously considering picking it up for the holidays. If I owned an Xbox360 I'd be considering their option. Judging from what I've seen, and my experience with the Wii, it looks like it could be a lot of fun. And isn't that really all that matters?

      This isn't something that's going to pay off overnight. It's something that needs to be built on. I won't go so far as to suggest that it's

      • Just hope they build better on it than they did with the Wii. The initial Wii Sports idea (and the spin offs sports ressort and wii fit) is great! But there is hardly any other game making use of motions like those few. (Not counting those mini-games as Raving Rabbits)

        Samba di Amigo is the (very) notable exception.

    • by MarkRose (820682)

      Just give it some time. It takes a while for natal technology to be borne out.

      • by wowbagger (69688)

        "Just give it some time. It takes a while for natal technology to be borne out."

        About 9 months from inceptions to first article test.

        But it usually takes about 18 years to start earning its keep. Sometimes longer.

        (I don't think many other people got your joke....)

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by 1000101 (584896)
      My son will be 6 years old tomorrow. This is the first thing I'm getting him for Christmas. We don't own a Wii, and this looks more fun anyway. I'm just one person of course, but I'm sure there are plenty of people out there in the same situation as myself.
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by cjcela (1539859)
        Make your son a favor, and give him something to play outside instead of a gadget.

        Maybe you can get the Kinect thing for yourself, as well...
        • I don't know where you live, but if my kids play outside around Christmas, they may literally freeze to death. :)

          • I'd say get them the Kinect but don't forget to kick them out of the house to go sledding and build snowmen once in awhile too. They'll come in before they freeze, the thought of hot chocolate starts getting real tempting as you get colder. :)
        • by 1000101 (584896)
          He plays baseball in the Spring and Fall, will be starting football next year, we love building things from Backyard Ballistics [amazon.com] (yes, I'm very safe with everything), he swims in the summer at the neighborhood pool, etc., etc. School -> Homework -> Extending Reading -> And then if there is time for a quick game, he's allowed to play. He has more freedom for games on the weekends.
          • by geekoid (135745)

            But if you get him a gadget, he'll be ruined~

            On a more serious note-I'm going to have to pick up that book for my kids. Looks cool.

      • by Pojut (1027544)

        If you want to buy him something gaming-related, get him an NES or an Atari 2600 and a crapton of games for the same amount of money.

        Just like my parents made sure to expose me to classic rock from the 60's and 70's, I'm going to make sure I expose my kid to the earlier days of console gaming.

        • by Gilmoure (18428)

          My parents didn't expose me to the Atari 2600 until after Star Wars came out. Why did they make me wait so long?!!!

        • by hedwards (940851)
          Nintendo only few games for the NES which could use the trackpad, assuming that you can get one. The Wii has the advantage of being able to have some physical activity involved. Which at that age is almost certainly more valuable than the money is, provided the GP is able to afford it.
    • Because people wont look at it as "the price of half a console" they will look at it as "the price of 2 1/2 games". People spent $150 a month on TV + Internet, they will have no problem spending that on their kids for christmas in order to place something that isnt "run around and blow up other kids".
    • by sheehaje (240093)

      Loss for Microsoft?

      I don't know. First, I know many dual PS3/XBOX360 users that didn't by Move because they are waiting for Kinect ...

      Secondly, how many patents is Microsoft Gaining by developing this technology. Like it or not, those are worth more than their weight in gold.

      Finally, this is technology they we reuse over and over again, so even if the original product doesn't take off, the research costs can still pay off moving forward.

      R&D is usually a long term investment.

    • You assume microsoft wants to recoup the cost on this generation of console release. Sounds like this is a good way to debut a new technology such that it can be refined and improved for the next generation console. 360 is already 5yrs old. The next iteration is due

      Consumers are paying to beta test a technology that will really hit the big time in the next console generation.

    • by Xest (935314) on Thursday October 07, 2010 @04:08PM (#33828922)

      To be fair, I think things like Move and Kinect are really just ramping up for the next generation of console equipment that will have this stuff as standard. I doubt they're counting on doing anymore than breaking even, if that for now. Getting developers onboard and used to the tech so that they could really push it next gen is probably a good thing too- look how many 3rd party developers really struggled to take advantage of the Wii, most stuff that's been churned out since release has been utter crap, and it's taken a while to get some good 3rd party stuff out there.

      There was a story some weeks ago about how Natal could previously even read sign language, and detect finger gestures, but to make the equipment fit in the $150 price range they switched to a lower resolution IR camera. I'd imagine they'll put the higher resolution back in for the next gen console so FPS players can issue commands with hand gestures and that sort of thing, which they could've done this time if they'd made Natal prohibitively more expensive. I guess the technology is too new and expensive to really push it to it's limits right now, but by the time the XBox 720 or whatever comes out it may not be.

      I'm also not sure at least in the case of Natal (I don't know about Move) that the R&D will be wasted even if it flops in gaming. I'd imagine hands free interfaces are something Microsoft is hoping to capitalise on elsewhere in the future. It's like things like multi-touch and gesture recognition, it's not new, but it's really come into it's own in recent years finding it's way on mobile devices and becoming a must have feature. It may be that Natal wiill find it's niche in for example TVs, to provide hands free control of them or something like that.

  • There is a lot of hype around "Project Natal"/Kinect but, outside of Microsoft and a few high-ranking members of the press has anyone ever actually -used- one of them?

    I mean, what happens when this turns out to be the 360's version of the "Eye Toy" for the PS2?
    • Xbox's version of the "Eye Toy" is actually the "Xbox Live Vision" [wikipedia.org].
    • Macy's I think? Ordinary people can try it.

      By all accounts, yes, it is 360's EyeToy. You've got the same kind of games, with a little better control and better graphics.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by hoshino (790390)
      The Eye Toy for PS2 is actually one of the most successful console accessories ever, selling 10.5 million units worldwide despite a slow start. Apparently it was actually novel and useful enough for its time to generate grassroot interest. The failure you are looking for is The Eye for PS3.
      • Apparently it was actually novel and useful enough for its time to generate grassroot interest

        Indeed. Real testament to the marketing geniuses at sony: I never once saw a commercial for the eye toy. There was only one eye toy shipped to the gamestop I was working at. Before guitar hero though, that was the only console accessory I heard anyone talk about.

      • One of the reasons is that the external hardware required was just a repackaged webcam. So they offered it with both of there flagship eyetoy games ( 'eye play' and 'eye play 2') for the normal cost of the game. The tech to develop it was trivial even though it was novel. They just took a diff of successive frames. This method is cheap and it simple but not without problems. Lighting and backround matters, I had to basically put a light pointing at me if I wanted the game not to make mistakes and miss

    • Yes, my friend teaches graphics/game design at a community college and they got to try one out and play with. He said he was pretty impressed by it. He's a fairly new teacher and it's a community college so it's not like they're keeping the things under lock and key only giving access to "high-ranking" press members as you insinuate.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by riskeetee (1039912)
      Yes. A friend (who works at MS) has a demo unit. This blows away the Nintendo Balance Board, because you can actually JUMP! It's better than the Sony Move, because you don't need a stupid looking controller to play it. It's very accurate at reading your motions in a 3d space. Microsoft has a winner on their hands with the hardware. If they can get some good titles behind this, it's going to be awesome.
      • I hate to sound cynical, but this will only be the 3rd Wiimote killer since the 6-axis took it's aim. With all of Kinect's extra features over the de facto, it should fit really nicely next to all of the iPod-killers of yor.

        The Kinect is the Firewire of the Firewire-USB war. Overly expensive and unsupported compared to it's contemporary cousin even if it may have better technology. It only takes a (USB2-style) revision to make the things Kinect has moot and the populace moves on...

        • You're right, this isn't a Wiimote killer. The Sony Move is an attempt at a Wiimote killer. This is more like the Wiimote + Balance Board (which I own).

          Having used the Balance Board, it's got major limitations. There are games which want to you "jump" on the Wii (Snowboarding), but if you actually jump, the game freezes and displays a warning: Do not jump on the balance board. Major gameplay killer.

          Kinect sees your entire body and can handle jumping, moving, and more, without a controller. Start
        • by hedwards (940851)
          A bit offtopic, but Firewire was a serious security problem. It allowed a device direct access to the system's memory. Sure that made it blazing fast compared with USB, and did have other uses, but it was somewhat problematic in that you had to trust anything you stuck in there, even things which didn't have user writable memory. And unfortunately it wasn't every particularly well advertised that what one was risking.
        • by seebs (15766)

          Trivia point: USB never got close to the performance of firewire. What they did was figure out how to get a bigger number out there on the box.

          A 400Mb/s FireWire connection runs rings around a "480"Mb/s USB2.

      • You don't actually have to work at MS to try Kinect if you visit various developer conferences and such. My wife went to one in Vancouver recently, and they had Xbox with Kinect there to show off to anyone willing to give it a try. She was impressed. Me, not so much (though I tried it on an internal demo unit) - but only as far as games go. I think it's an interesting UI concept in general, and the most creative applications will be outside of games.

      • "It's better than the Sony Move, because you don't need a stupid looking controller to play it. It's very accurate at reading your motions in a 3d space."

        *Sigh*, I know I shouldn't feed the trolls, but here I go anyway:

        The PS3 Move can detect me rotating my wrist by less than a few degrees, and is accurate down to sub millimeter.

        It works sitting down, sideways, on the ground, in high and low light (Even worked with light off when I played archery).

        It handles multiple players, and multiple controllers
        • The PS3 Move can detect me rotating my wrist by less than a few degrees, and is accurate down to sub millimeter.

          So, it's going to be very popular among the ./ crowd?

    • by cbhacking (979169)

      There were quite a few of them at PAX, and they were a lot of fun. There are some (live try-it-out demo stations) at big electronics stores around here. It's real tech and people want it. The only thing harder to do that see over the ring of people watching is wait in line long enough for a chance to play.

  • This article mentions the Star Trek Holodeck, somewhere on page 1. Then, with that on my mind, the rest of the article didn't live up. Now I expect a holodeck. Nothing less.
    • by geekoid (135745)

      Good news then! You are currently in a holodeck, sadly it(rather expectedly) went wrong and now you don't realize you are on the Enterprise. Forever you will be stuck thinking you live in the stupid age.

      Well, I'm going to go bang a green alien chick now, sucks to be you.

    • It's a holodeck that provides accurate recreations of early 21st century living rooms. Marvel at the crazy things people had back then, such as non-CFL light bulbs and indoor toilets.

  • Without reading the stupid article, which company did they end up buying out for this product?

  • If you had enough cash, I'm sure you could make a basic holodeck, you just need a room, and 5, 3d tv's big enough to cover the entire walls and celing and a kinect to use as a controller and krap load of pc, to do all the rendering. Like I said this kinect thing is just the first step to a holodeck type thing. Some companies have alrady said they are going to sell 3d tv's that don't need those damn glasses, so it's just a matter of time before all of the tech can be scaled down.
    • by wjousts (1529427)
      You also need a multi-directional moving floor too. Otherwise you'll keep walking in to the TV screens.
    • by sznupi (719324)

      Well, we only have to wait and see if it manages to displace the VR stuff people use and love for the last 15 years.

      Oh, wait...

  • Funny how there isn't a single occurrence of the words Wii or Nintendo in that interview.
  • by esaulgd (1754886) on Thursday October 07, 2010 @12:49PM (#33826280)
    From TFA:
    “Since the dawn of time, humanity’s long journey has led us to countless discoveries, Yet with each leap forward for civilisation, more people have been left behind. But our quest has taken us to a completely new horizon. History is about to be rewritten. This time human beings will be at the centre -- and the machines will be the ones that adapt. After five million years of evolution, is it possible that the future of humanity is humanity itself?”

    That the article repeats verbatim such a quote from Microsoft's presentation without even a slight nod to the gross self-aggrandization clued me to the fact that the whole piece is yet another corporate advertisement disguised as news.

    I mean, in addition to the whole story starting with an emergency meeting on mid 2007 about the need to "reimagine a new direction for the Xbox" yet failing to point out it was all due to the runaway success of the Wii. It actually sticks out like a sore thumb to see these VPs panicking about something that the article refuses to acknowledge exists.

    • Well, they mentioned the Wii once at the end of the article:

      Over Christmas 2008, they narrowed their focus on three ideas, sport being one. “We wanted to compete head-on with Wii Sports,” Andreas admits. “We knew we could do so much more with Kinect than you could with Wii.”

      Because the launch titles were aimed at the family market, Rare chose the more popular sports. “We put a bowling prototype together in three days: can we significantly improve on Wii Sports’ bowling? Could we allow people to run at the screen with the ball? We realised we could improve on it.

      I think that quote is hilarious. They never mention how exactly they improved upon Wii bowling. Personally, I can't see how it could be better because the controller is why Wii bowling feels so intuitive. It gives feedback straight to your hand, both audio and rumble. It may not feel like a bowling ball, but it comes closer to simulating the experience of bowling because there is something to physically connect you with what you're seeing on screen

  • The feature is the result of conversations the magazine had with a number of key developers and researchers behind the project, and unprecedented access to several Wii consoles in the break room.
    • by elrous0 (869638) *

      Wouldn't it be nice if the developers were suddenly compelled to tell the actual truth in an interview? It would go something like:

      Interviewer: Where did you get the idea for Natal/Kinect?

      Don Mattrick: Steve Balmer saw that the Wii was making a shitload of money and told us to copy it. That was the genesis.

      Interviewer: Why did you decide to go with the body motion idea?

      Don Mattrick: It was a way to rip off the motion control thing without violating any of Nintendo's patents.

      Interviewer: So, where will

      • This has nothing to do with the Wii other than they both detect motion. I know it's fun to think everything is "ripped off", but the way Natal works and the way the Wii work are completely different.

        The idea of motion sensing is broad enough that claiming anyone who does it is copying the Wii is more than a bit silly.

        If you want to say it's copying something, it's more like a next generation of the Eye Toy.

        • Yeah, and Window's 'Recycling Bin' wasn't inspired by Apple's 'Trash Can' in the least bit. They're fundamentally different. Personally, I only use Windows because Macs are so environmentally unfriendly. They can't even recycle!

          On a more serious note, Kinect is a rip-off of both the Eye-Toy and Wii, but I'm sure the Wii is what financially motivated the project. Microsoft is a market-share company, they love pie charts where they have the largest piece. I don't think Eye-Toy had anything they were envious o

  • by EXTomar (78739) on Thursday October 07, 2010 @01:41PM (#33827050)

    Why does Kinect seem familiar? Microsoft saying "It will change the industry" and "Big players are developing it" and "You'll wonder how you ever did anything without it!" and "Everything will change after this". Oh yeah, this is what they said with Windows Mobile 6.

    The more reports I get back the more it seems like just with Windows Mobile 6 that marketing is over promising features. That isn't to say Kinect is "snake oil" because of a lot of it does seem to work but that it is rough...."rougher" than they want to let on. So we'll get a big advertising blitz, Microsoft will declare it was a huge success, and then summary die because it is expensive and never quite work as smooth as they advertised while the competition runs wild. All of this is like WinMo6.

    Anyhow, there is some merit to the tech but it feels like it is going in the wrong direction. Its like the belief one can effectively replace a keyboard with voice recognition. VR is useful in itself but not as a keyboard replacement! As an HMI issue, gesture controls found on Wii "work" because the interface is simplified not because of waggle. Replacing waggle sticks with Kinect without doing the requisite "simplification" is going to be a disaster. I wish they would abandon schemes like "replacing the controller for games" that are more smoke and mirrors than practical execution. Go with practical stuff like if my console notices I put the controller down to answer the phone, door, kids jump in my lap, or whatever, pause the game. If the console notice I'm no long in front of my TV for an extended period of time, go into hibernate mode. Stuff like this is more useful than trying to figure out how build a fighting game by waving my arms and kicking with my legs.

    But in any event, $150us is too much for all of it. If it was built in at the start that would be one thing but it is too late now.

  • I'll play Kinectimals in my Garanimals while eating Lunchables with my runcible spoon.
  • by mick232 (1610795) on Thursday October 07, 2010 @02:40PM (#33827804)
    Yesterday I watched a TV show on German TV in which they used the Kinect system. It was broadcast on a major channel watched by millions. Two players had to play against each other in a quite unspectacular game. It was embarrassing, both due to the boring gameplay and the technical weaknesses of the system. During the first game, suddenly the split-screen switched to a single screen such that only one player could see his avatar. Nobody knew why and the TV show host quickly reacted and said "well, now you had a training run". After the second run one of the players complained that his moves were not recognized at all. He kept jumping all the time but the cameras obviously did not capture these jumps.
    • by hedwards (940851)
      Now that you mention it, wasn't there already a game show from the early 90s that featured MS' brilliant technology? Oh, whatever was it called? [wikipedia.org]
  • Seriously, it looks dumb, it apparently doesn't work that well with numerous reports of lag and what not and it's an over priced add-on aimed at Wii owners on a teenage spastic's system. I sense failure and that's why MS is sending out press releases about shortages. They're making less units to reduce to risk and create fake supply issues.

    Ballmer has fucked up MS, imo.
    • by frank378 (736832)
      Bombing....maybe. Seems like it would depend on how fun the games are that use this controller. I think Nintendo sold a lot more Wii consoles because there was a long period of "shortages" for whatever reason (consoles being sold in Europe where currencies were stronger. etc.) and my first guess is that perhaps MS is trying to recreate some of that hype for their own product.
  • Sounds like a great thing to pick up on Craigslist for 75% off, when the early adopters figure out it is boring and doesn't work with Madden.

  • Data point of 1 (Score:2, Interesting)

    by russryan (981552)
    I was in Best Buy last weekend and they were demonstrating the Kinect. My 9 year old daughter, who doesn't like to play console based video games, started playing one of the demos. It was sort of like Breakout, but you kicked or punched the balls instead of using a remote. I had a hard time getting her to leave.
  • Did any of you see the demo of "Dance Central" at E3 this year? It was amazing! Dance Dance Revolution has sold millions; the dance and excercise market for video game consoles is not small. No other console can compete with the ability to simultaneously track arms, legs, head, and body for use in a dance or exercise game. I'm convinced that once this is out there and you can try it at your friend's house or the store, you'll see that all other dance and exercise games are obsolete. The full body immersive
  • Both MS & Sony want to extend console lifetimes past the 5 years they have been since the 80's, to a 10 year cycle. The problem is, the hardware can't keep up with that cycle.

    Both Sony & MS are finally either breaking even on the consoles, or making a little profit now from the hardware (not counting research costs, errors, etc) so they want to stretch out the life of these products as much as they can.

    And they will, of course, fail. Move, Kinetic can NOT keep their sales going for 5 years. No a

  • I guess they got the idea from Nintendo. First thought that the new thing they had will be a complete flop. After a year they saw that hey it works and now 3 years later, they have their own product. Just that.. it's 4 years too late.
  • and I enjoyed it. I got to play the river race game (which I admit was meh), and joy ride (which I REALLY liked). First racing game I ever actually enjoyed. That being said, I look at the voice interaction as well, which everybody seems to miss. I look at RTS games (a genre that is seriously lacking on ALL consoles), and realize that voice interaction + body language is a great way to quickly play an RTS (even fast than mouse scrolling and hotkeys even). I am also hoping to see some peripherals come ou

Things are not as simple as they seems at first. - Edward Thorp

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