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Project Natal Release Details Emerge 173

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the watch-me-dance-computer dept.
scruffybr writes "Today the first information about the pricing and launch of Microsoft’s Project Natal has emerged. The pricing for the hardware will be much much lower than many had anticipated, coming in at around £50 when sold separately from the console. The idea being that it’s low enough that people will purchase on impulse."
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Project Natal Release Details Emerge

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  • As to what PN is... (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 11, 2009 @12:21PM (#30061420)

    For the confused: Project Natal [wikipedia.org] (per Wikipedia).

    • by sopssa (1498795) * <sopssa@email.com> on Wednesday November 11, 2009 @12:29PM (#30061570) Journal

      Wonder why summary left out the release date as it's a lot more interesting. Trying to get us to read TFA now?

      As for the hardware launch, November 2010 is being touted as the month of release, with around 14 games expected to be released in conjunction with the new device.

      So actually not that far in the future and with some games supporting it too. For example Wii's MotionPlus still only has 3 games in PAL region.

      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by davester666 (731373)

        So if everybody will just PLEASE STOP BUYING WII'S!!! Dammit!

        If you really want wireless controllers that you just wave around, just hold on another 12-24 months and we promise, and this time we really mean it, we will make something really great. It will be totally great.

        If we decide to actually follow through.

        • It reminds me that there was once a Mattel toy that you would wave around to find and kill invisible aliens. Supposedly the aliens could move around which was great for the programmer since there was nothing in the toy that could detect which way it was pointed or its orientation. It just used a pseudo-random number generator to determine if you "hit" the alien.

      • by smartr (1035324)
        How much money would you put on the system actually being out in November 2010? What ratio of "revolutionary" games come out on schedule? I can't name any myself. Never mind Microsoft's stellar ability to put out full feature products on time...
      • Yeah, but do you really think a year from now there won't be more Wii Motion Plus games? I think Nintendo has a pretty substantial lead, and it will be very hard for Natal to catch up. But more competition is better, so lots of luck.

    • by natehoy (1608657)

      Certainly does add some new air guitar possibilities...

    • Seems like it has a potential to be mighty useful for some pet projects, like robotics or general motion capture (for whatever reason...), and with a pleasently low price.

      Of course the "custom processor running proprietary software" is a bit unfortunate, even if totally expected and undestandable. Who knows though what perversions we'll see in the protocol...

  • long way (Score:5, Funny)

    by jDeepbeep (913892) on Wednesday November 11, 2009 @12:23PM (#30061440)
    *sigh* And I still recall when I thought having a plastic gun for Duck Hunt was cutting edge.
    • by oodaloop (1229816)
      And an actual robot to help you play! How many games today have that?
    • Re:long way (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Nerdfest (867930) on Wednesday November 11, 2009 @01:08PM (#30062152)
      Conversely, I was playing skeet shooting on Wii Olympics at a party last night and was thinking that things really hadn't changed that much.
    • It was, the gameplay has went downhill since then.
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        As has American grammar, apparently.

        • What the hell, I checked my grammar in Microsoft Office before I posted. Damn you Bill Gates!
  • by grapeape (137008) <mpope7@kc . r r . c om> on Wednesday November 11, 2009 @12:25PM (#30061486) Homepage

    If its that low, Natal actually has a real chance of making a dent in their user base. Addon peripherals are always risky and usually end in less than stellar support but this sounds cheap enough to be bundled not only with the console but with hot titles much like Sony has done with Singstar and the Mics or Eyepets with the camera.

    There are already 14 development studios confirmed to be working on natal titles, including Lionhead, Rare, Activision Blizzard, Bethesda Softworks, Capcom, Disney Interactive, Electronic Arts, Konami, MTV Games, Namco Bandai, Sega, Square Enix, THQ and Ubisoft. Not a bad lineup for a peripheral, sounds more like a console lauch than a peripheral introduction.

    • by $1uck (710826) on Wednesday November 11, 2009 @12:29PM (#30061556)
      I think you will see more of this, the console makers want to extend this "generation" out longer than previous ones. Instead of creating next gen consoles Sony and MS seem to be working on enhancing the current crop with things like this. I just hope that when the next generation does come around that they will be backwards compatible with all the games and addon hardware.
      • I think you will see more of this, the console makers want to extend this "generation" out longer than previous ones. Instead of creating next gen consoles Sony and MS seem to be working on enhancing the current crop with things like this. I just hope that when the next generation does come around that they will be backwards compatible with all the games and addon hardware.

        Sounds good to me. The jump from cart-based consoles to the Playstation was completely astounding. Playstation to Playstation 2, also astounding. I haven't seen the PS3 up close but the jump between Xbox and 360 didn't feel as huge. I think they really should have held off another year or two so that the difference would be more astounding. The difference between generations shouldn't feel gradual, it should feel like night and day.

        • I actually think this is more because the jump in graphics technology has started to reach the point where it's "good enough" to do basically any kind of game you want. The jump from the PS2 to the PS3 is just as big, it's just that it doesn't seem as important anymore.
        • by drinkypoo (153816)

          I haven't seen the PS3 up close but the jump between Xbox and 360 didn't feel as huge.

          I've been comparing Xbox and 360 and I think you're nuts. I got a nice big TV and GTA4 and comparing that to GTA:SA is definitely a major iteration. I hope dearly that after dicking around with this episodic stuff for a while (I'm someplace in the middle of lost and the damned right now and finding it mediocre, mostly because the missions I'm stuck on right now are pissing me off) they bring us a larger world to play with, much as they did in San Andreas. What really strikes me is how I can go from 480p to

      • by sincewhen (640526)
        Yes, I suspect this reveals that MSFT & SONY are devoid of fresh ideas for video gaming.

        While they have, with this generation, pushed the hardware so that it can produce quite realistic graphics, improvements from here on will only be incremental. Better hardware will yield diminishing returns in graphics quality.

        Sadly, they don't seem to have anything else to bring to the party.

        Seems to me that Natal is a response to the Wii, but I suspect it will be a novelty and won't be used for any "serious" ga

    • Maybe (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Alaren (682568)

      I'm intrigued by how much your post reads like a press release (or astroturfing), but you've got good karma and a low UID so...

      The biggest thing Natal has going for it is the continued success of Wii peripherals (as distinguished from plastic non-peripherals like steering wheels and tennis rackets). But Wii Fit and the Motion+ add-on have seen pretty significant success despite a relative dearth of games for those peripherals (so far). This is par for the course with the Wii--first-party titles continue

      • by grapeape (137008)

        Your right, nothing is confirmed but the number of 3rd party prominent players hyping things up on their own kind of assures me that there is at least some substance there. Wii Fit and Motion Plus are great examples and I think your on to something...MS probably does need to bundle in some sort of game likely a mini-game collection similar to wii sports, even the kickball demo and that Milo thing would do...just something that gives you a "natal" experience out of the box. Im expecting game bundles from M

      • I thought the Natal video looked very interesting. The mapping from the people moving to the screen was smooth.

        I actually felt sorry for Sony when the guy in their video couldn't hit the ball. I thought it was fitting he finally got it (and really just barely) with a Stop sign. Now that was ironical.

      • by drinkypoo (153816)

        You're not low UID until you hit five digits. In any case, all I would say is that if I can get it with a game for a hundred bucks, I'll buy it. And by that I mean, if I can get it with the game to have. Any worse deal than that, I would have to chew on carefully.

    • by grumbel (592662)

      If its that low, Natal actually has a real chance of making a dent in their user base.

      I doubt that price really matters that much. The important part is the software. In terms of price the Wii for example was horrible, but it had software (Wii Sports) that people actually wanted to have, so they didn't care to pay $250 for what was not much more then a Gamecube which you could get for half as much. Same with Wii Fit or GuitarHero/RockBand, neither of which is cheap, but as long as it does something that people really want it doesn't really matter.

      What worries me with Natal is that they so fa

    • by ookaze (227977)

      If its that low, Natal actually has a real chance of making a dent in their user base.

      In which user base? In MS user base?
      This has no chance on Wii user base: they have a Wii, not a XB360, and I doubt the XB360 + Natal will be £50. Get real people.

      There are already 14 development studios confirmed to be working on natal titles, including Lionhead, Rare, Activision Blizzard, Bethesda Softworks, Capcom, Disney Interactive, Electronic Arts, Konami, MTV Games, Namco Bandai, Sega, Square Enix, THQ and Ubisoft. Not a bad lineup for a peripheral, sounds more like a console lauch than a peripheral introduction.

      It sounds like a very bad launch if the goal is to attract the Wii user base. Absolutely none of these studios have any good track record making games for the Wii audience, that could attract a user base. Those are the studios making the shovelware on Wii!
      Only Sega managed to make a system seller on Wii, but that was with help from Nintendo.
      K

  • Speculation... (Score:4, Informative)

    by xtracto (837672) on Wednesday November 11, 2009 @12:30PM (#30061578) Journal

    Yeah, 7 comments and nobody has mentioned that this is just speculation from some "tip" heard by mcvuk web page (which is down right now) and that pretty much all game news sites have been running?.

    I'll believe it when I see it.

  • by FTWinston (1332785) on Wednesday November 11, 2009 @12:32PM (#30061612) Homepage
    Pfft. Real people use beans.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Colbert said it best. [kotaku.com]

    "Now a child who owns a skateboard and has the skills to ride a skateboard, will no longer have to ever ride a skateboard again."

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by hattig (47930)

      "Now a child who doesn't own a skateboard, and doesn't have the skills to ride a skateboard, will no longer have the ability to play a game involving skateboards."

      You know, I press buttons on a controller because I can't actually fight/fly planes/race cars at 200mph/pilot spacecraft/do magic ... don't take these away from me!

  • by BJ_Covert_Action (1499847) on Wednesday November 11, 2009 @12:43PM (#30061802) Homepage Journal

    ... coming in at around £50 when sold separately from the console. The idea being that it’s low enough that people will purchase on impulse.

    Maybe I am just a cheapskate...but isn't 50 pounds a little above the 'impulse buy' margin? Usually impulse buys for me run in the arena of $20.00 or less. 50 pounds converts to, according to google, $83.27. That's approaching that dreaded $100.00 limit. When I am walking through wal-mart stocking up on whatever I need, I rarely, if ever, see an $80.00 item and say, "Ooooh I need that!" and throw it in the cart. That's a week and a half's worth of groceries... I don't know, maybe I am the exception to the rule, but I think 50 pounds is a little on the high side to term it an 'impulse buy.'

    And yes, people can fill in all the snarky responses about, "Oh, well, since YOU wouldn't spend the money I guess NOONE would...its not like anyone else has DIFFERENT buying habits..." and so on. I am not trying to say that nobody will fork over eighty bucks for the Natal, but it just seems a little high to be deemed an impulse buy type item...I mean hell, I won't even impulse buy new release games that I am excited about and they retail for $60.00.

    But like I said, maybe I am just a cheapskate.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Tony Hoyle (11698)

      No it is.. £50 is a lot for what sounds for all the world like a wiimote ripoff.

      £50 with a bundled game (where the game is £30-£40 anyway) makes more sense.

      • Re: (Score:2, Flamebait)

        Wiimote rip-off? Maybe a wii-mote killer, actually. Especially since Nintendo has hardly been using the wiimote to its full potential and most gaming on the wii is basically shovelware.

        • I don't think 360 fanboys have any idea how much dominance the Wii has in the marketplace.

          Put it this way

          - Nintendo sells the same amount Wii consoles every month than ALL OTHER HOME CONSOLES COMBINED - that includes the 360, the PS3, the PS2.

          - This trend has been the same for pretty much the lifetime of the console, which means the Wii has sold over 20 MILLION more units than the 360.

          - Unlike Microsoft, which still loses money on each 360 sale, Nintendo makes $6-$7 on each Wii sold, before anyone buys a si

          • Yeah.. and what's the attach rate? I have a Wii and an Xbox. I have bought maybe 3 games for the Wii since I got it and rarely play it. I buy like 5 games a year for the 360. And I'm not the only one, look at the numbers.

            Face it - people are getting bored with the Wii and the sales trends for it demonstrate this.

            • by tomhudson (43916)

              Yeah.. and what's the attach rate? I have a Wii and an Xbox. I have bought maybe 3 games for the Wii since I got it and rarely play it. I buy like 5 games a year for the 360. And I'm not the only one, look at the numbers.

              I bought mine at the end of February, when they FINALLY had some in stock.

              So, immediately bought a half-dozen games, a second controller and nunchuk

              A week later, bought more games, a wii fit, 2 more controllers and nunchuks, batter packs + rechargers for all the controllers and a batt

        • Wow, I get modded flamebait when the only current-gen console I own IS the Wii? What's with the Nintendo fanboys on slashdot? I fully stand by my criticism of the Wii. You have to be pretty sad to mod an honest criticism of a video game console down because you take it emotionally....

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by natehoy (1608657)

        I'd say it's more the "next generation" wiimote.

        Keep in mind that I have never, ever owned a gaming console. But the wiimote was, by all accounts, a game changer. Instead of pushing buttons, you moved something you held in your hand. But it's still a handheld controller, and is in some ways a ripoff of a standard game controller - the "only" changes were that you had fewer buttons and you used actual motion of one arm to control the device. And it had a nasty habit of making holes in expensive large-scr

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Zerth (26112)

          It will be implemented badly. They've already stated it will only do gross motions and have limited resolution. It's the 2d camera version of the Sega Activator [techeblog.com].

          While a lot of people like flailing about, I rather prefer to be a tool [penny-arcade.com] and play from the couch.

          Finger/hand tracking would be awesome. Limb tracking, not so much.

          • by tomhudson (43916)

            They've already stated it will only do gross motions

            Oh, so it's an interactive pr0n add-on ... thanks for clearing that up. Now I don't feel so ridiculous inviting people to come over and play with my Wii.

        • by ookaze (227977)

          I'd say it's more the "next generation" wiimote.

          Keep in mind that I have never, ever owned a gaming console. But the wiimote was, by all accounts, a game changer. Instead of pushing buttons, you moved something you held in your hand. But it's still a handheld controller, and is in some ways a ripoff of a standard game controller - the "only" changes were that you had fewer buttons and you used actual motion of one arm to control the device.

          It's not the "next generation" Wiimote at all. On the contrary, I think it's bound to fail hard because it was made for completely different reasons than the Wiimote.
          Typical Nintendo tailor the controller to go with their games. The Wiimote was made to go perfectly with their games for everyone, meaning it was made to be fun for the most people.
          Natal is a reaction trying to coop the Wiimote success, by being "more advanced" ("next gen" like you say), meaning it's done for technology first.
          MS (and Sony) seem

      • This is only Insightful if you think the cell phone "sounds for all the world like a walkie talkie ripoff". They both send messages over radio, but that's about the extent of it. OR, they both allow motion to be projected to the game, but that's about the extent of it.
    • by bryansj (89051) on Wednesday November 11, 2009 @12:52PM (#30061918)
      You can't convert £50 into dollars using the exchange rate for something like this. If it follows the standard trend then it will be $50 in the US and £50 in the UK.
      • by chrysrobyn (106763) on Wednesday November 11, 2009 @01:00PM (#30062034)
        I think OP was onto something when he defined an impulse buy as "in the area of $20.00 or less", and I don't disagree. The whole point being that £50, regardless of how you convert currencies, isn't an impulse thing. Admittedly, after looking at what MS charges for other XBox 360 accessories, anything short of $100 is a bargain.
        • I believe the Microsoft rule of accessory pricing goes something like this ... take an item's reasonable price and multiply it by at least two and you get the ballpark figure. For example, I would pay only thirty bucks for a wireless controller ... after the Microsoft formula, it's fifty bucks (it used to be sixty). Take 120gig hard drive. I'd pay sixty or seventy bucks but after the formula, it's 150 bucks. Pay forty bucks for a wireless adapter? It's ninety bucks (for the G version).

          Their pricing
    • by natehoy (1608657)

      I think it depends on what you are shopping for. If I'm in the market for a handful of new games at $60 each, adding in an ~$80 controller doesn't sound all that bad, and could be an impulse buy pretty easily.

      When and where it will be marketed, it's cheap and attractive enough for an impulse buy for the type of person they are marketing to in the context of what they are likely intending to buy. It's the equivalent of putting bags of $1 candy at the checkout line or a $10 DVD bin near the DVD players. Or

      • by ookaze (227977)

        I think it depends on what you are shopping for. If I'm in the market for a handful of new games at $60 each, adding in an ~$80 controller doesn't sound all that bad, and could be an impulse buy pretty easily.

        When and where it will be marketed, it's cheap and attractive enough for an impulse buy for the type of person they are marketing to in the context of what they are likely intending to buy.

        This is nonsense. Lots of people talk like the audience they want to attract already have a XB360. In which case they wouldn't need to attract them. Makes no sense at all.
        This news is only of interest to XB360 owners, not to any audience they want to attract.
        So this news makes no sense except if the goal is to prevent XB360 owners from buying a Wii.

    • would not look at phone, cable/sat, etc, contracts the same way.

      I know people paying more per month for cell or tv service than this device costs! It is all about context. To some of us $100 is impulse, to others its "do I eat" or can I put it on lay away, and to some its a "tip".

      This is a great price in the realm of video controllers, let alone the possibilities it opens up. Think of it as the razor, they will get you on the blades (games)

    • If you say your buying habits are probably not the norm and that you might be cheap, and the product is only "a little" high to be deemed and impulse buy type item, then the item is probably an impulse buy type item based on your own suggestions. In addition, you generally wouldn't convert the price of something in £s to US dollars to see how much it would cost in the US. It doesn't work that way. The cost is actually differs a lot by region. You would be looking at closer to $50 ot $60, the price of
    • "Impulse buy" is a relative term. It's not an impulse buy in the same way a candy bar is, certainly. But it's barely more expensive than a game, and that puts it in the range of impulse buys for any console owner.
    • by u38cg (607297)
      Impulse products in marketing don't depend specifically on price: a set of alloy wheels for your new car is often an impulse product, despite the crazy mark-up. It becomes an impulse buy when you buy a console, a couple of games, and ooh, what's this? A shiny that is lots of fun? And I've already spent $300 on this...
    • by Xest (935314)

      I don't think price has much relation to impulse buying to be honest. I've turned away from impulse buys of Wii games at £20 after resisting the impulse and deciding I wouldn't play them, but my £250 netbook was really an impulse buy because I wanted something smaller than my laptop to take on holiday for 2 weeks but have really never used since.

  • by JeanBaptiste (537955) on Wednesday November 11, 2009 @12:55PM (#30061950)

    at that price it could be 3000 USD by the time it comes out...

    • Don't worry. While it is true that the USD has been tanking, the pound has been dropping even faster. Their economy was more reliant on finance than ours.
  • Link dead. (Score:3, Informative)

    by jargon82 (996613) on Wednesday November 11, 2009 @12:57PM (#30061986)
    "Account has been suspended"
  • Well... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by frito_x (1138353) <hippiej@cantv.net> on Wednesday November 11, 2009 @01:03PM (#30062076)

    Reminds me of the Wii that supposedly had plenty of developers on board to make new and exciting games for the then-revolutionary wiimote... we all know how that turned out.

    one of the funny things in the natal tech demos i've seen on youtube is how one of the presenters takes cheap shots at the wii's "waggling" of the remote and how stupid and silly blah blah blah... and then watching them arm-waving and making awkward poses to "draw" an elephant (pretty silly IMO) i wonder how much different natal is going to be.

    Not that much, judging by the demos i've seen so far. Hope i'm wrong, though.

    • "...we all know how that turned out."

      If you mean being one of the most successful (and more importantly profitable) console in the past 10 years and current leader of it's console generation by a near FACTOR OF TWO, then yeah, I bet Microsoft hopes it does half that well.

      In fact if it did half that well they would finally maybe start catching up with Nintendo's market share.

      • by abigor (540274)

        They've sold a lot of consoles, but not a lot of games. Wii owners don't seem to buy games, many of which seemed geared towards kids. That's what the OP was getting at. Of course the Wii console itself has been wildly successful - no one disputes that.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Cochonou (576531)
          They've sold about 360 million of games. Compare this with 166 million of games for PS3, and 288 million of games for the Xbox 360.
    • by raddan (519638) *
      I guess I'm living in the dark ages because I don't have a console (well, actually, I have an SNES), but how did the wiimote turn out?
      • by cowscows (103644)

        It's doing alright, depending on what sorts of games you enjoy playing. Despite all the talk about "changing the way we play games", Nintendo has gone pretty middle-of-the-road with the Wii, hence the Wiimote including buttons and not being 100% reliant on movement. In fact, Nintendo has released games for the Wii that are primarily intended to have you hold the wiimote sideways and basically use it like an old-school controller.

        The motion sensing is really cool and fun when it gets integrated properly into

        • by raddan (519638) *
          Good post. Maybe I can talk the wife into getting a wii someday. She seems morally opposed to video games for some odd reason.
  • demo with kid on the dock. I hope it lets me shove him off the docks and into the pond.
  • Your TV with a camera. They should build one into an LCD TV next, and give it a catchy name like Telescreen.

  • I haven't tried it.

    But the demo videos at http://www.xbox.com/en-US/live/projectnatal/ [xbox.com] strike me as extremely weird and creepy.

    I play games on my Wii almost every day, and didn't have the same problem with it. Maybe it's just having used a physical controller for 30 years seeing people play without one at all strikes me as wrong.

    Maybe it's that, while I'm comfortable with manipulating controllers I'm not comfortable with manipulating my body. Insert the standard nerd jokes here, but it's true: I'm not good

  • I figure 2 weeks of general release before we're getting stories about people throwing themselves out of windows with Natal.

    Not so bad if you're in a house, but God help the guy on a penthouse balcony.

  • by jridley (9305)

    It'd be nice if ANY of the duplicate-posted slashdot stories about Natal linked to a page that wasn't crushed or suspended, so I could find out WTF Natal is.

    Ah, wait. I see a link up the page. AAAAND, it's something to do with gaming. OK, not interested.

    • by nedlohs (1335013)

      "microsoft" and "console" in the summary and "games" and "xbox" in the tags wasn't clue enough?

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