Microsoft fires Natal back at Wii

June 3rd, 2009 - 5:44 pm ICT by John Le Fevre  

Microsoft has fired back at video game leader Nintendo with Natal, a new hands-free control technology that does away with the need for a traditional controller.

The company hopes that the hands-free technology will enable its Xbox 360 console to regain the market lead from the Nintendo Wii, which updated the traditional controller with a device held by the player that is tracked by the console.

Microsoft’s so-called Natal technology goes one step further by eliminating the controller altogether and using sophisticated motion-tracking technology to discern the player’s movements.

The device tracks players’ voices and body movements and recognizes their faces. It includes a camera, and software.

Film director Steven Spielberg unveiled the new system on the first day of the E3 video game confab in Los Angeles.

“The gamer in me went out of my mind. I felt like I was present for a historic moment,” Spielberg said about his initial experience with Natal.

Microsoft did not say when the system will become available but a video showed the potential in martial arts, racing, skateboarding and trivia games.

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