Chris Lewis, the VP of interactive entertainment business at Microsoft, recently compared Natal to technology you would see in movies that take place in the future. The specific quote was “We’ve all seen similar things in films set in the future.” He’s absolutely right. Natal boasts fancy technology and an impressive “wow” factor, but is at heart impractical and not needed.

Here’s a couple examples of future movie tech that Natal reminds me of.

Demolition Man’s Graffiti Countermeasure System

To hell with washing graffiti off the old fashioned way, let’s install a system of metal rods that shoot out from the wall and clean that shit off with electricity. For those that have seen the movie, do you remember what happens if you get too close to the wall when it does its thing? That’s right, it kills you dead.

The Fifth Element’s Police Patrol Magic Peephole

In The Fifth Element, the police use a special device that can see through doors at the inhabitants inside, which they use for routine questioning. Is it cool looking? Yep. Is it more practical than having them just open the door? Negative. Smoke you, Microsoft.

I’m not completely close-minded when it comes to Natal. It might be cool. They might show some games at E3 that have me drooling at the mouth for the unit. But the way they promote it as a “solution” to the game controller is way off base. The traditional controller does not ruin immersion, bad games do. And if all Natal is is a solution to a problem that doesn’t exist, then count me out.


  1. I find it somewhat amusing that many people think that hand complex gestures (with Natal) will be easy for people to quickly adapt to.

    They couldn’t be more wrong.

    How many people here use mouse gestures in their applications?
    A simple click of a button or slight movement of a mouse will always win until we have an interface so responsive that a twitch of a finger can open a context menu or highlight text. .

  2. From the Microsoft Patent on Hand Gestures for Natal:
    “A small set of very simple gestures [that] can offer significant bits of functionality where they are needed most.”

  3. Natal is meant to open up gaming to EVERYONE as an optional newbie friendly controller and as a gateway into gaming not possible today with the standard controller, you will see at E3 the advantages of Natal over current controllers. Not to mention Virtual Reality games that put you IN the game 3D. Natal is the first step towards IMERSIVE GAMING. Judge it after you know what it will do for you.

  4. I agree completely. Natal is just an over-hyped bandwagon stunt to capitalize on the casual gaming and mini-game craze. Every single “game” shown or widely mentioned for Natal is a lame Wii-wannabe. They have not shown one single hardcore game because they can’t get them to work well with the tech and make them more immersive than just using a plain old controller. Conversely, hardcore games on Wii work with the tech, but no one wants to play them since most people bought their Wii to play casual games only.

    Unfortunately, no one who wants to play casual games is going to get a 360, its a hardcore gamers platform only with mostly violent or adult-themed games thus far that will scare away parents who have hopped on the “violent games make my kids violent” train. Much safer for them to buy a Wii, if they haven’t already.

  5. I’m excited for Natal. Providing the games that are made that will use it are actually good games and not just shovelware that’s utter crap I’ll be sold. I suppose I’ll know for sure once I see the pretty much finished product at E3.

  6. I can’t help but get the feeling that a mob of fat asses are opposing this because they can’t use their “Eli73 COD4 skills” in a game that might actually involve something tangential to athletic prowess. This isn’t just stick flailing like Wii. This is total body control. Imagine how hilarious it will be to see a bunch of Avatars unable to kick above knee level.

    I’ll love getting to beat this crap out of some obese “hardcore gamer” with a gamerscore of 60,000 in virtual handball…or Mocap Boxing…(seriously, Konami…port that game ASAP…)