What sort of things are possible if Project Natal works as promised?

Jason Cross:

The possibilities there are huge. They could certainly do object recognition – a game could not only model and mimic you, but could know when you pick up a cup or soda can. At a most basic level, in social networking environments you could have an avatar truly do what you’re doing including munching on chips exactly as you do or taking a sip of beer or whatever. At a more advanced level, you could build object recognition into games – literally take a sip of water or whatever you have around (or mime it with an empty cup) to drink a health potion. With that kind of notion as a starting point, imagine what they could do with recognizing other objects. Imagine the real-world and marketing implications of recognizing specific products. Get a bigger energy boost from drinking a Mountain Dew!

I’m a believer. Even if the gameplay implications end up being Wii-grade—amusing, joyful, occasionally engrossing but typically lacking any verisimilitude of real behavior—the ability to to control media playback with simple gestures and voice controls is going to be a big deal. The first time someone flips through a list of Netflix streaming with their hand all the neighbors will be buying Xboxes.

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

16 Responses to What sort of things are possible if Project Natal works as promised?

  1. historyman68 says:

    Imagine not having to find the damn remote to use the TV or DVD – I don’t even have a TV and I find that possibility exciting!

    Or, maybe not exciting but at least practical?

  2. Agies says:

    @4
    Tycho from Penny Arcade said it best:

    “The first time it failed to recognize [my wife] or her voice, and I mean the very first time, she’d never use it again. People who are not Goddamned nerds don’t endure variables like this if they don’t have to.”

  3. Bloodboiler says:

    I doubt Natal can do object recognition. I would be supriced if it can even handle trackin gamers of all size and shape. Sooner or latet we’ll see YouTube videos of Natal failing to recognize amputees, black and/or too fat/tall/small people.

  4. zapan says:

    I think you pointed something very important, in the future, microsoft will not just advertise their own products. With the yet to be demonstrated objects regognition, some games may in the end require that you buy products from other companies : you want to end this level ? Have a diet coke ! You want to possess the super-weapon to defeat the boss ? Scan your can of pringles ! The possibilities in terms of royalties and joint benefits for junk food and teen clothes companies are endless.

  5. Category says:

    @9 – Due to the scanning they use, I don’t see shorties, fatties, or blacks as being an issue for natal – but you might be onto something with amputees.

    How will it deal with disabilities? Or the wheelchair bound? How many games will there be that require leg movement to complete – will there be optional control methods?

  6. E M says:

    It will be closed, proprietary, inscrutable and for all intents and purposes a black box. It doesn’t need to actively monitor all the time to have that capability. Furthermore, to get the functionality it requires, it will constantly be sending information to various parts of the Internet, making monitoring it for nefarious intent difficult.

    This is not to say that I think the totalitarian policies which we seem as a population to rush to approve are any less troubling…These are decidedly bad as well. It’s not an exclusive situation. I just find it odd that people, many of whom I’ve come to expect healthier skepticism from, are delighted with this device in particular.

  7. EM says:

    I do not understand how anyone thinks that giving Microsoft control of a camera facing into their living room is a good idea. Project Natal plus your television provides a superset of the surveillance devices described by Orwell in 1984, in the hands of a private company (which seems less trustworthy than any vaguely democratic government).

    Only, rather than hiding from them, people are RUSHING to get them.

    We live in very strange times.

  8. asiajunk says:

    You’re giving Microsoft too much credit as usual. Per their usual FUD, they see a major competitive threat via the Wii and demoed some (purchased, though they deny it – http://www.engadget.com/2009/06/04/microsoft-says-3dv-acquisition-didnt-influence-project-natal/) technology. No ship dates, no actual product details, etc.

  9. Agies says:

    I’m not convinced it’s actually an upgrade from the Wii. By putting sensors in your hand the Wii is able to gather data about the attitude of your hand. Imagine swinging a golf club, the Wii remote can pick up on the break of your wrist at any given point during your swing while Project Natal can at best make educated guesses based on what it sees, and that presumes that your back swing is visible to the camera. Project Natal makes for good press demonstrations but I don’t think it represents the future of gaming (especially not at the rumored price point). I’m interested in seeing where it goes but I don’t think people will be air driving any time in the future.

  10. GTMoogle says:

    Please, no one ever let Cross near a game design session. Invite Joel to UI design meetings tho.

  11. brianary says:

    Pico computing: projected or unrolled-OLED/eInk display + cheapish cam for sign-language-variant as primary input (as with the projected keyboards already available) with advanced gesture support.

  12. autobulb says:

    @14: You’ll still have to use a remote to turn on the TV. Or to turn on the Natal box, unless it’s always on which would seem like a waste just for the convenience of not getting up one time.

  13. Marlet says:

    the possibilities are endless but i just hope they make it like the trailers show, would be awesome
    Free iPod | Free iPhone

  14. kaiza says:

    I think there’s a whole lot of potential in this for teledildonics and adult gaming – just imagine, a two (or more!) player game based on the karma sutra, for example!

  15. autobulb says:

    “The first time someone flips through a list of Netflix streaming with their hand all the neighbors will be buying Xboxes.”

    I never understood this method of control. It might be a novelty to wave your arm in front of your face to control what’s on the TV, but practically it’s far easier to hit the right or left button on a remote. It kind of reminds me of the Ipods with the scrollwheels. I’d much rather hold down 1 button to scroll through a list of options, than to constantly be rotating my thumb.

  16. Anonymous says:

    I do not understand how anyone thinks that giving Microsoft control of a camera facing into their living room is a good idea. Project Natal plus your television provides a superset of the surveillance devices described by Orwell in 1984, in the hands of a private company (which seems less trustworthy than any vaguely democratic government).

    This thing isn’t sending your living room to Microsoft, any more than your digital camera is. If it did secretly try to send your living room to Microsoft, any geek who monitors their local network would figure it out in about 5 minutes. The day this thing comes out, it is going to be taken apart, analyzed, dissected, and subjected to the most critical of review (unlike your more “democratic” government security cameras you would prefer to have watching your living room). There is nothing remotely Big Brother about this.

    The point of 1984 wasn’t the cameras. 1984 was allegory about the Soviet Union in 1948 (he flipped the last two digits around). Orwell used allegory in many of his political novels, because European Literati of the day where heavily Marxist and he would not have been able to be published if he outright criticized the Soviet Union. Most people totally freak out about the irrelevant sci-fi details of 1984, and then happily support the totalitarian policies most democracies are adopting nowadays.

    The only problem with this device is that most video game players are completely happy to use a standard game controller.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

 

More BB

Boing Boing Video

Flickr Pool

Digg

Wikipedia

Advertise

Displays ads via FM Tech

RSS and Email

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License permitting non-commercial sharing with attribution. Boing Boing is a trademark of Happy Mutants LLC in the United States and other countries.

FM Tech