Microsoft: Natal Focus On “New Original Games,” Not Motion Control For Existing Ones

Microsoft: Natal Focus On “New Original Games,” Not Motion Control For Existing Ones

Microsoft says that it’s planning on bringing “entirely new original experiences to life” with the addition of Project Natal’s controller free add-on later this year, not on reworking already existing games to make them Natal ready.

When Microsoft first showed off the controller-free Project Natal tech at E3 2009, it did so with both new content—Milo, Ricochet, Paint Party—and existing games—Burnout Paradise—with new motion-sensing control. Later, Natal-ready versions of Beautiful Katamari and Space Invaders Extreme were shown at Tokyo Game Show.

Microsoft’s Aaron Greenberg told Kotaku at CES that we should expect more of the former, the new, built from the ground up Natal experience than traditional content repurposed a la Burnout Paradise.

“What we want to do with Natal is bring entirely new original experiences to life,” Greenberg said. “These are going to be brand new original games and brand new entertainment experiences that never existed before. Because there’s nothing else like it, developers are going to be making brand new content for us.”

That said, Microsoft is open to all possibilities when it comes to Natal implementation.

“There may be some opportunities over time, where because you have millions of sensors in living rooms, that there may be elements of games that will integrate Natal into it,” Greenberg added. It’s unlikely that Microsoft would frown upon Natal integration in, say, the upcoming Xbox 360 game Halo: Reach, as developer Bungie has hinted at in previous interviews, later clarifying that it wouldn’t do so until it “makes sense.”

“If you were going to make a Natal game, it probably wouldn’t be Forza 3,” Greenberg said. “So what would be a fun racing game that you would play controller-free would be different than what you would play with a steering wheel or controller.”

What Greenberg doesn’t foresee is a batch of motion controlled Wii games cleaned up and recoded to be Natal games.

“Because we are doing something completely original, I don’t think you will see Wii games ported over,” he said. “That’s one of the nice things about not doing the motion sensing controller, we’re going to have original concepts.”

“When you think about games and new experiences that will appeal to people that maybe have never played games before, I think you do get into a new category with the types of experiences we think about,” Greenberg noted. “I don’t think that puts us in a Wii category, because we’re still a high-definition console, we still have the online community—Live will be very much integrated into these experiences—so I think there’s a lot more richness that we’re able to bring to life with it. I think the type of games will be different.”

And, at this stage, Microsoft is focusing on those game being traditional retail games, not Xbox Live Arcade games or Xbox Live Indie Games.

Greenberg also says that we should think about Natal being used beyond games, including “lifestyle experiences, entertainment experiences and the ability to navigate the dashboard.”

“It’s not just about playing games,” he said.


  • Read: “We’re going to introduce a bunch of games that will be about as interesting as the eyetoys and the wii-balance boards… i.e. bugger all. Wait for the next consoles motion support to see how it’s done properly as this, is a test.”

    • Agreed. Voice recognition is just as important I feel. EndWar did it pretty well even if the gameplay was pretty simple.

      Shame Natal won’t focus on already released games. Natal and Dead Rising anyone? 😛

  • I find it amusing that when wii came out microsoft said people would get bored with motion controls and it is a gimmick, now they are making something that uses all of you not just your arms.

  • What?, why?, literally the only thing the natal had going for it was the fact that it could bring motion control to the Xbox. “What we want to do with Natal is bring entirely new original experiences to life,”. That’s just fancy executive speak for “These games will look, play, and function exactly like the Wii”. If we can expect “Games” or an “experience” like the ones from the tech demos that we have seen so far then I’m having a hard time seeing who this will actually appeal to. The people that want motion control already have that with the Wii. People that have a 360 don’t want some crappy game made to imitate, they want to play their favorite games with motion controls.

  • This isn’t to say developers wont add support for their games. I think what they are saying is, they are more encouraging new games and not old titles. MS could be referring to their own published games aswell here.

    I mean, isn’t it up to the developer and publisher on what they create with it, whether they create anything at all. They can release a motion-supported version of an already released game if they want – but then maybe MS won’t allow it for the Xbox which in most cases they wouldn’t prevent so.

  • Microsoft kind of know that their gamers tend to be a little more hard core than people on wii.
    I doubt their going to fuck with that.

    People who want a wii bought one, people who want an xbox have probably bought their second one by now… so I’d imagine they know they’re treading a fine line.

    Whilst I don’t envision anything too great. the idea of scanning items into the xbox, to use in-game appeals to me.

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