Monday, May 24, 2010

Project Natal, is this the future of gaming?

Since the Wii was released back in 2006, motion controls have become the "new craze" in the gaming industry and I believe the Wii helped make Microsoft's project Natal a more viable endeavor.

When Microsoft announced their mysterious project Natal I was very skeptical since I thought it would be another copy cat of the Wii's motion controls like the Playstation Move. But the more I learned about Natal, the more intriguing this project became. Then I thought to myself, could gaming really be done effectively without the use of some kind of controller but rather with the movements of the users body? Personally, I believe that people who have been playing console games for quite some time, me included would feel rather odd playing games without the need of a controller, it would be a very foreign gaming experience. Since I have not used Natal I am unsure if there would be some kind of learning curve, hopefully there isn't a steep one because that may deter some consumers, but hey I guess most games have some kind of learning curve anyway.

Well learning curves aside, the thing I am most worried about and I would expect many gamers to be concerned about as well is the fact that Microsoft may follow Nintendo's marketing strategy. What I mean by this is Microsoft creating a massive game library for Natal consisting mostly of "shovel ware". Basically, shovel ware are games that are pretty much meant for the casual gamer since they are mainly composed of relatively short and simple games which usually lack good stories (or stories all together) or really engaging gameplay and can be really low quality. Regarding the Wii, all its shovel ware was its biggest downfall since most of the games seemed like they were created solely to make a quick buck for the developers and that they lacked an entertaining gaming experience.

My prediction is if project Natal is not marketed to the average gamer but to the casual instead(which I think is very likely to happen), Microsoft will have its work cut of for them. The Wii has already been dominating the casual gaming market for a few years now, as a result Natal will seem like an imitation of the Wii to the average Joe. To be honest I would like to see Natal succeed and help move gaming forward since it is a pretty neat idea, but if they market it to the casual gamer, we will have another Zune on our hands.

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