Love him or hate him, Peter Molyneux seems to be the champion of Microsoft’s Natal. In an interview with Game Reactor he gave his views on the power of Natal and what it could mean for the gaming community. He also voiced some concerns; strange considering his involvement with the project. For myself, yes Peter talks a bit too much and perhaps a little too highly of his games, but at the same time he’s passionate about games and creating games that have a lasting appeal. Say what you will, Fable is a great series if a little strange at times.
It’s that passion I think that leads him to believe that Project Natal is the future of games. However, he noted in this interview that it’s a little more for the casual gamer then the hardcore. Us hardcore types are so used to the controller in our hands that it’s completely second nature and it does not create a barrier between us and the game, be it story or emotional engagement to the characters. For a casual gamer he believes not having anything in your hands eliminates the complexities and with it the frustrations of the controller on the casual gamer. Not that he says it’s completely in the casual gamers hands much like the Wii is – he just cautions that “if you’re thinking about the next iteration of the FPS – you’re not thinking broadly enough.”
He goes on to say that much like the mouse revolutionized how we interact with our computers, Natal will revolutionize how we interact with our consoles. He compares it to late 90’s TV, “it became stale and then suddenly we had programs like Lost and 24.”
Another word of warning from Mr. Molyneux is that like any new product it will take time for Natal to find its legs. He believes the first generation of games will take on some of the obvious choices for a controllerless game. He seems hopeful that there wont be just one game like Wii Sports for the Wii, that defines the project without anything else to prove the technology.
This got me thinking about what’s possible for Project Natal. Granted, being in marketing my mind tended to wonder in that direction. We know that Natal can recognize faces and pull up profiles on you once it does recognize you, we also know that it can read gestures and emotions (remember Milo). It seems to me this is the next step in advertising and brand marketing. Think Minority Report; you walk into a mall and instead of a poster outside a store front there’s a fully Natal integrated presentation board. As you walk by it scans your face looks you up online, sees your internet activities (minus the NSFW sites of course) and can immediately talk to you about what you like and things that would interest you in said store.
That’s just one application I can think of for this thing, though my thoughts on it as a gaming platform are rather limited. What do you think of what Peter says about it being the evolution of the mouse? (or is that the touch screen) and how do you see Natal affecting the gaming community? also beyond that, what else can this technology be used for? tell us what you think!
Source: Game Reactor
Side note: Fable 3 at X10! with huge changes that will potentially upset the fans. Any thoughts? Molyneux seemed worried and excited.