Report: Microsoft Drop Natal Chip

Microsoft has dropped a chip from its upcoming Natal motion control hardware, reports website Games Industry. The chip processed data for Natal's "bone system". In its place, Microsoft will use a software solution.

Back in late December, David Ellis and John Davison from the 4 Guys 1UP podcast mentioned that this is something Microsoft would do.

This decision, sources tell Games Industry, do not effect the existing 100ms system lag. However, the decision to go with a software solution will enable Microsoft to update in a regular and consistent fashion.

According to Games Industry, the majority of the processing chip work will be done by one of the three main Xenon processors. A percentage will be lost, but most games don't use 100 per cent of processing power.

"The full Natal hardware/sensor combo always looked like an expensive proposition in a market where Microsoft really needs to turn a profit," Digital Foundry editor Richard Leadbetter told the site. "The notion of offloading the processing to the 360 CPU in the name of lower costs and easier upgradability makes sense.

"Patching up older games to run with the new hardware now looks rather unlikely unless they have the CPU time to spare, but hopefully this will serve to focus developers on Natal-specific concepts as opposed to revisiting old classics."

GI points out that in support material Microsoft distributed for the recent keynote, the company hinted there was no longer a single chip solution, stating, "A proprietary software layer makes the magic of 'Project Natal' possible."

The decision to use a software solution will also ensure that Microsoft can release Natal at a competitive price point.

Microsoft drops internal Natal chip [GI]


    “Patching up older games to run with the new hardware now looks rather unlikely unless they have the CPU time to spare."

    I'm pretty sure MS specifically said they weren't going to 'patch in' support into older games. They wanted 'new' experiences only, or something like that.

    I remember them saying that Ben, but did they actually say they didn't WANT them. Or encouraging developers to create new games etc...

    Judging by that L4D motion control article, i guess some popular games that would fit motion control could get patched to work.

    I don't know if i'm scared because of the chip drop or not. Will it actually affect the price for the consumer or is it just so MS don't make a loss with Natal?

    Hope it doesn't affect gameplay too much even though they state otherwise.

    Does anybody else hope that Natal interactivity doesn't make it into every freakin upcoming game?? I enjoy beers and games after a day of work and Natal mapping out me takin a sip of beer or responding to my voice talking to my wife sounds like it'll ruin my gaming experience

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