Project Natal: Everything we know so far

The known knowns, the known unknowns and the unknown unknowns on Microsoft's groundbreaking piece of Xbox kit.

With Microsoft's Project Natal conference set for 3am GMT Monday morning, we round up everything we know so far about Xbox's new motion-tracking gaming system.

What is Natal?

Project Natal was first demo'd at E3 2009. An add-on for Microsoft's Xbox 360, Natal uses an RGB camera and a depth sensor mounted on top of your TV to track your position in your living room real time, interpret your motions and feed them into Xbox games for full arm-and-leg-flailing control. It also tracks and monitors your face and registers your voice for improved Xbox LIVE chatting.

The name "Natal" is the codename given to the project by its developers, although it is rumoured that the finished product will be called the "Wave".

When will it be released?

The final version of Natal gets its debut at E3 2010 at a special Microsoft press conference at 7pm in Los Angeles (3am in the UK) on Sunday, 13th June (or Monday, 14th June in the UK). As yet no public release date has been confirmed. Microsoft said at this year's CES that we could expect a release before Christmas, but Foxconn, the company that builds the Natal units (and also Apple's iPhone and iPad), are rumoured to begin shipping units in August. Further, a Microsoft marketing exec in Saudi Arabia let slip in a TV interview that customers can expect to get their hands on the system "sometime in October".

How much will it cost?

The cost of Microsoft's Natal unit has been kept a pretty closely guarded secret, but the Danish offshoot of GAME (game.dk) may have let it slip when they put up a Natal pre-order page, with the price at 1,299 DKK (about £145). Meanwhile, you can reserve your own UK Project Natal at GAME's UK website for £20 (for a place in the queue, not for the device itself).

Rumours from accross the pond suggest that the device will cost US customers about $150, or alternatively will be available as part of a bundle with the cheap-o Xbox 360 Arcade console - the bare bones 360 with a mere 256MB of hard disk space.

What games can we expect?

Since its debut last year, games so far have been limited to demo'ing Natal's features (read: lots of kicking of balls, painting of walls and conversing with 3D children from the uncanny valley), but soon after the 2009 conference Microsoft released details of the developers who would be working on titles for the new system.

The developers and publishers involved with Natal is a pretty comprehensive who's who of the gaming industry, and includes Activision (Call of Duty franchise), Blizzard (World of Warcraft), Bethesda Softworks (Fallout 3, Oblivion), Capcom (Resident Evil, Dead Rising), Konami (Metal Gear Solid), Disney, Electronic Arts, Square Enix (Final Fantasy), Ubisoft (Assassin's Creed, Tom Clancy franchise) and THQ (Red Faction).

In terms of actual titles, so far we've only got confirmations on racing pedigree Burnout Paradise and horror-thriller Alan Wake, but expect a host of games to land before this year's holiday season. In the meantime, take a look at some of the hints developers have been dropping about what we should be looking out for in the near future.

Unfortunately for gamers who already own an Xbox, it's unlikely that current games will work with Natal.

Read More about Project Natal on T3:

Microsoft Xbox 360 Natal first play at E3

Project Natal to hit Xbox by Christmas

10 Project Natal games we could see in 2010

Project Natal launch expected in October

20 Project Natal games we really want to see

EA readies Natal and Move titles

 Official site: Xbox.com

Comments

Be the first to comment…

Back to top
Close
T3 Newsletter
Sign up to recieve the T3 newsletters by entering your details below

Your Details

As you're registering with us. we'd like to think that you'd enjoy receiving the following emails; if you'd rather not receive them, please untick the boxes:

I would like to receive other emails from T3, Future Publishing Limited and it's group companies containing news, special offers and product information
I agree to the terms of use and privacy policy and confirm that I am over 16 years of age *
Close
Log in or Join

By clicking below you agree to our terms and conditions and our privacy policy

Log in to T3.com with your preferred social network

Log in with your T3.com account

CloseJoinPlease complete these additional details

Join T3.com with your preferred social network

OR

Join T3.com

Please tick this box to confirm you are 16 years old or over

Just so we know you're human

Newsletters

I would like to receive T3 email newsletters, packed full of the latest tech news, competitions and exclusive offers.

I would like to receive other emails from T3, Future Publishing Limited and its group companies containing news, special offers and product information.

I would like to receive offers from carefully selected third Parties. We will not share your data with the third party.

Close Edit your profile

Change your password

Newsletters

I would like to receive T3 email newsletters, packed full of the latest tech news, competitions and exclusive offers.

I would like to receive other emails from T3, Future Publishing Limited and its group companies containing news, special offers and product information.

I would like to receive offers from carefully selected third Parties. We will not share your data with the third party.

Social networks

You have authorised these social networks to interact with your T3.com account.

Please ensure you deactivate or revoke access to this website from within your social networks settings to ensure all permissions are removed.

Close Forgotten your password

Forgotten your password?

Please enter the email address that you used to sign up and we'll send you a new password

Close
Forgotten password
Don't have a T3 Account? Join now