Nintendo turned down Natal

According to a ‘top insider’ for CVG, Nintendo ceo Satoru Iwata was originally offered the tech behind what we now know as Project Natal back in 2007 but turned it down because he thought it would be too expensive for consumers. With a room full of other top Nintendo executives, Iwata was shown an early demo of a motion tracking camera complete with voice recognition by 3DV Systems and he was pleasantly impressed. However, Iwata had concerns about the “latency during gameplay,” and how the technology would be “[unable to be sold] at a Nintendo price point.” Microsoft have never verified 3DV’s part in developing Natal but CVG believe that the similarities between what the insider spoke of and what we’ve seen of Natal prove their involvement.

If this is indeed true, then Iwata quite possibly made the right decision. Project Natal started off as a new and exciting way to interact with video games but the latest rumours are that it may be no more than a glorified version of Sony’s Eye Toy. That’s not to say the tech isn’t impressive or has the potential to be a lot more but Microsoft have allegedly gutted the camera of its processing chips leaving the Xbox 360 to do all the calculations. The result would be graphically inferior games and a price of around £50 for Natal itself. Nintendo’s dominance in the casual game market shows how they’re not in any real need of a new technology to drain their resources in developing. Microsoft on the other hand are desperate to conquer this profitable genre and Natal could be just the thing to help them along the way. However, most of their previous attempts – Viva Pinata, You’re in the Movies, Lips – haven’t lured in as many as Microsoft would have liked and the majority of hardcore gamers are sceptical of Natal’s abilities. I guess the best way to find out is to get some hands on (or rather hands off) time with the peripheral later this year when its said to be released. Until then, there’s always Milo


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