Xbox 360's Project Natal and the PlayStation Move aren't expected to launch until this fall, but already Microsoft and Sony are jostling for position in the motion-control market. Earlier this week, Sony released an advertisement promoting the Move and lambasting the Nintendo Wii and the controller-free Project Natal. Now, a high-ranking exec at Sega is predicting that the Natal will draw some top-notch content.
“My guess is that in the next two years plus, you will see some brilliant innovations [with Natal]," Michael Hayes, the president of Sega West, said in an interview with the gaming magazine CVG. Hayes went on to stress that Sega would be supporting both Project Natal and the PlayStation Move – he said that his company would release "several" games compatible with the systems "from around the end of this year and into 2011."
Some analysts have argued that consumers will be slow to pick up Project Natal or the PlayStation Move, which would in turn make it risky for developers such as Sega to throw their muscle into the motion-control market. But Hayes noted that "Microsoft and Sony are talking very big numbers. If they can achieve that, it will make these devices very viable,” and in turn ratchet up the quality of the content.
In a Sony advertisement released yesterday, a fictional Sony employee named Kevin Butler greets viewers from the future – sometime in the fall of this year, after Project Natal and the PlayStation Move have already been released. Butler pulls no punches, ridiculing the Natal for its controller-free interface.
"[The Move has] what we in the future call buttons, which turn out to be pretty important to those handful of millions of people who enjoy playing shooters and platformers," explains Butler, who is played by the actor Jerry Lambert. Microsoft and Sony are positioning Project Natal and the Move as a natural evolution of the motion-control system – a next-gen Nintendo Wii for the hardcore gaming set.
"The migration path from the Wii household to the PlayStation 3 household is a pretty natural path, partly because of the experience that you can get on the PlayStation Move but also because of the content that we find on PlayStation 3," Peter Dille, senior vice president of marketing for Sony Computer Entertainment, said earlier this month.