Video game rumors! They're the grist of the gamer blogosphere. And here is a new one: Project Natal, the forthcoming motion-control system for the Xbox 360, could be priced at $149, which, depending on what you're used to paying for video game peripherals, is either right on target or relatively high. And here is a second rumor: Project Natal, the forthcoming motion-control system for the Xbox 360, won't be called Project Natal after all.
What will Project Natal be called? Who knows. It just won't be called that.
Let's start with the first rumor. It comes from the team at Edge, which has a solid record when it comes to tech gossip. Edge says that Microsoft has definitely settled on the $149 price tag, but also says that Microsoft will offer an Xbox 360 bundled with Project Natal – or whatever it's called – for 300 bucks. (Keep in mind that Sony has said its Move system will cost less than $100.)
As for the name, well, maybe we all should have known that Project Natal – which is meant to ship in October – was going to need a new name. The "Project" part of it – it's all wrong! So temporary. So scientific. So geeky. Allow us to suggest some alternate titles, for your enjoyment (listen up, Microsoft): The Microsoft Hand Thingie. The Look Ma, No Controller.
Anyway, Microsoft has big hopes for its new motion-control system. And so do game developers. Earlier this year, Michael Hayes, the president of Sega West, said in an interview that his company would release "several" games for the Natal. “My guess is that in the next two years plus, you will see some brilliant innovations [with Natal]," Hayes predicted.
Meanwhile, Sony has ridiculed Project Natal, which will not require a controller. Instead, a depth-sensor, a camera, and a microphone allow gamers to control onscreen action with full-body movements and voice commands. A recent advert for the Move offered the following riposte: "[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."