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EnzoX24's avatar

How do you fel about the Microsoft Natal?

Asked by EnzoX24 (1986points) June 2nd, 2009

Having just been announced yesterday, word of Natal has been spreading quickly. In case you missed it, here’s a video describing it better than I can: Natal

And just to show how far they went with it, here is Milo

Is this the next step in technology, a gimmick, or the dawn of Skynet?

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17 Answers

dynamicduo's avatar

Natal itself looks cool, that demo of Milo isn’t really anything new, a lot of companies are making advances in native language recognition. Their proposed tech demo in that video is indeed a simulated demo as it notes, because doing things like mapping out where each body part is and where it will be is quite hard (let alone encompassing for people missing a part), but once they get that down and package it all up for devs to use, we’ll see much more cool games using this. The first generation will probably be buggy/silly as the Wii was, but eventually cool things will arise.

Next step in technology? Not really sure, cause the technology isn’t anything new, it’s just integrating and distributing it to the mass market that’s new here. I doubt it’s a gimmick though, no more than motion controllers in general are.

Skynet… already exists. It’s the Googlebrain.

applesaucemanny's avatar

Oh that one thing for the Xbox? yeah it reminded me of the eyetoy for PS2 and the wii fit

hug_of_war's avatar

I think it’s cool, but microsoft always finds a way to muck things up.

nayeight's avatar

I was just talking with my sister about how creepy that milo kid is. It really scares the shit out of me thinking about the things these companies are capable of.

chelseababyy's avatar

I think it’s awesome.

StellarAirman's avatar

I’m very skeptical that either one will work anywhere nearly as well as it shows in the videos. The Natal demo is obviously complete faked with pre-rendered videos and people mimicking along with it and is just an example of what they think it’ll be able to do eventually.

What they don’t show is the person saying “Play movie” and the Xbox thinking they said something entirely different or them standing too close or too far away from the device or turning at the wrong angle and it losing the orientation of where they are standing and becoming worthless. It’s a gimmick for now, just like the Wii was and still is in some ways. When I have the option I still almost always choose to play the Wii like a normal controller. The motion sensitivity is still too poor and inaccurate for a lot of games. A camera trying to interpret human movement on the fly is going to be a whole lot worse. In the skateboarding game how is it supposed to know if you’re doing a kick flip or any of a dozen other moves that look very similar without know exactly how you are flipping your ankle or spinning the board?

Milo is a tech demo at best, no real game there so far. That reflection in the water thing is cool as a tech demo, but I would get bored with it in about 20 seconds unless it somehow has some effect on the gameplay. They ask him questions that they know he has the answers to so it looks very human-like, but a person walking up to it would quickly run into the walls of his abilities to understand the world and the person he is talking to.

Also these types of accessories are worthless if the developers don’t embrace them. It works for the Wii because the motion controllers are the default control type so the developers have to find a way to make them work. When it’s an expensive accessory that people have to buy, only a fraction of 360 owners will buy it, so developers don’t want to make games for it until there is a larger installed base, but people don’t want to buy the device until there is more games that support it. It’s a catch-22 that makes these sort of add-on accessories very difficult to be successful with.

So far I only see both of these things as a gimmick just like the EyeToy and all the other crazy controller prototypes that have come out over the years that don’t actually work and never have any games developed for them.

TheRocketPig's avatar

It could be interesting, I don’t think it’s going to replace any conventional game playing… but I mean honestly what is it’s existence hurting? I think it can only bring a little bit more to our gaming table.

EnzoX24's avatar


I’ve read reports of people who have used the games they have demoed and yes, it does work as it was reported.

tehrani625's avatar

I really like this idea, it makes my xbox more of something that I would leave on and use whenever I get board or need to talk to someone (it has video chat too). I think that the facial recognition, voice recognition and video chat when combined will be a killer feature. Then if you could jump into a game or power point presentation it would truly be useful and entertaining. If Microsoft adds a web browser to the 360 then the wii and PS3 are going to look very old and tired.

Ivan's avatar

It’s a big gimmick. You can’t play video games without multiple controls. Sure, you might be able to play tennis and baseball relatively well with it, but you will never be able to do anything in-depth.

Sony unveiled a similar technology today at their press conference. The difference is that it doesn’t recognize body position, it just recognizes the position of a controller you hold. This allows for way more precision. No, it can’t track the position of your entire body, but it does give you very precise control of particular game objects. They showed a demo for its first-person-shooter capabilities, and I think it actually has some potential. It’s sort of like the Wii-mote except for way better. It’s complete, one-to-one motion detection, rather than the Wii’s remote which just senses when you do a certain task, like swing it or shake it. It looked pretty cool, but I imagine it will fail just as hard as the Eyetoy did and as Natal will.

Kenyan's avatar

Just seen tha vid. That Milo kid is freaky

nayeight's avatar

@Kenyan Im glad someone else agrees with me. I thought he was really creepy too. He had shifty eyes…

Ivan's avatar

Peter Molyneux has a history of promising truly extraordinary things in his games while they are still in development, only to disappoint with the final product. I wouldn’t expect anything truly revolutionary from Milo.

Didn’t they already try something like this with Seaman for the Dreamcast?

StellarAirman's avatar

Yeah I had Seaman on the Dreamcast, it was pretty crappy. Didn’t really do anything they claimed it would and the interaction you did have seemed completely random.

Like I said, Milo will be great at the questions he’s programmed to have answers for, which will of course be limited to what the designers decide he should respond to. Outside of very simple conversation it’s going to break down and the illusion will quickly be broken.

Ivan's avatar

I agree.

I also own Seaman, and it’s a pretty crappy game.

They say it can recognize tone and facial expressions to gauge your mood. What if I were a pedophile and wanted to have sex with Milo, what would he say then? I guess that’s an extreme example, but I imagine it wouldn’t be that hard to find a situation in which Milo’s comprehension skills break down. The girl in the demonstration drew Milo a fish. What if I drew a picture of me killing Milo?

Wow, I guess all my examples result in ruining Milo’s life. Maybe I should stop.

Kenyan's avatar

@nayeight. Did you see the part where she touched the water and when she gave him the peice of paper. Crazy!!!

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