Contoller free gaming for the XBOX 360: Project Natal is entering the game arena!


Gaming with no controllers? Sounds like the kind of thing dreamed up by people who spent to much time watching the Fifth Element. Nonetheless, this exciting proposition is to become a reality- and it’s going to be a lot more intuitive and involved than the ill fated Eyetoy.

What you’re looking at is a system which allow your body to be the gamepad- as your various wiggles, kicks and actions will be decoded by the system and interpreted into game action. Essentially the aim is to allow you to become a giant Wiimote- but how do they plan to do this?

It’s all to do with the Project Natal sensor, a device which combines an RGB camera, depth sensor, mic and processor in one. Simply stand in front of the camera and your movements will be tracked and translated- in 3D! The issue with previous incarnations of this type (the Eyetoy again) were that they viewed the body in 2D which led to slow reaction times and jerky gameplay.

Project Natal is totally wired up, so you get to use your whole body as a tool, and it will respond to voice commands-apparently even changing emotion should affect your game progress (I’m guessing panicky commands when dying should boost rage meter?).

Commands can be issued by anyone who steps in front of the sensor, and not just keywords wither- whole sentences can be understood! You can also set up the device to recognize your face through its processing unit, so when you stand in front of the sensor it will log you into your personalized XBOX live account.

Steven Spielberg, has been brought on board to comment, “With ‘Project Natal,’ we’ll see games that bring everyone together through technology that actually recognizes us.” Well, it does sound like a plot from his novels- next step, Project natal goes on a killing rampage? Um, probably not.

Here’s a great video by the Beeb explaining how the system will work.

I’m excited! No date so far, but hopefully we’ll see it by December.

Related: GALLERY: The Top Ten Science Fiction books I’d like to see as games – out of phaze

Zara Rabinowicz