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XBox (Games) GUI Input Devices Microsoft

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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  • Re:A lot of hype... (Score:3, Informative)

    by hoshino (790390) on Thursday October 07, 2010 @11:46AM (#33826236) Homepage
    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.
  • by 1000101 (584896) on Thursday October 07, 2010 @11:48AM (#33826268)
    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.
  • 3DV Systems (Score:2, Informative)

    by Mathinker (909784) * on Thursday October 07, 2010 @12:33PM (#33826908) Journal

    3DV Systems, an Israeli company, so it seems: []

    Probably find more info with a search on "3DV Systems" on the GOOG.

  • Re:A lot of hype... (Score:3, Informative)

    by riskeetee (1039912) on Thursday October 07, 2010 @12:36PM (#33826966)
    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.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 07, 2010 @01:04PM (#33827344)
    Having played a demo of about 5 games I can say that it works just as shown. I only played bowling, Your Shape: Fitness Evolved, Kinectimals, Kinect Adventures and Joy Ride. I watched Dance Central, which people seemed to really like but I didn't try it myself. I saw dozens of people play with various clothing and lighting, there were many stations set up with only the lighting already in the room, nothing special for the demo units. I didn't see any issues. I get that you hate it and MS, but if you haven't even tried it yourself it seems rather silly to throw a hissy fit about it. MS makes plenty of bad products, but this one works as advertised, even if the game lineup isn't to your liking.
  • 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.

  • by PaladinAlpha (645879) on Friday October 08, 2010 @07:36PM (#33842486)

    On-board processor was dropped [citation needed]

    Here, [] here, [] here, [] and here. []

    Depth camera runs at 320x240 so it can't detect fingers? Maybe not, but it's doing infinitely more skeletal recognition than Move is.

    Actually, Kinect only allows skeletal recognition for its own Avatars [] -- that functionality is not available to games developers. Both consoles are doing an equal amount of skeletal recognition in the SDK exposed to developers -- none.

    Not ambitious? PS3 or PC could do the same thing trivially with two cameras? OK, then why aren't they?

    Because, quite simply, everyone else knows it's not worth it. In fact, Sony was offered the Kinect technology and chose not to use it [], specifically because they knew its marketability is limited.

    Sony has already tried the no-controller camera-driven games with the EyeToy, which bombed. There have been all kinds of toy programs using webcams, which are all forgotten. Adding a depth camera does not fundamentally change the interaction -- in fact, it barely affects it at all. In userspace, Kinect is EyeToy, is doomed. You cannot play engaging games without a controller.

    Overpriced? Perhaps, but I have a hard time believing that Microsoft is pricing it significantly higher than they have to - they want it to be a success and the know it's up against a less expensive competitor.

    If they cannot sell two cameras and a toy motor for less than $150 I'll eat my hat. Do you really believe, for instance, that they "can't sell" a 250GB hard drive for less than $129.99 [] when normal 250GB hard drives can be had for less than $50 [] (a third of the price, ultimately)?

    Basically, it sounds like you don't think they're going far enough, but I think if they went as far as you want them to they would completely price themselves out of the market. At some point you have to compromise ship something practical.

    If I put a box of trash up on eBay for only a 10% markup over what it all cost me, how many people do you think will buy it? The market doesn't care what you spent. It cares what the price is and what they get out of it. $150 is going to sail right over everyone's head. You may bookmark this post and refer back to it when the Kinect line is officially discontinued (I will give it say Summer of 2012, after Microsoft loses a lot of money, which is what their games division has been doing all along.)

Never try to teach a pig to sing. It wastes your time and annoys the pig. -- Lazarus Long, "Time Enough for Love"