Microsoft Lets People Play With Natal

Project Natal Demo

There are two of them at Gamescom in Cologne, Germany. And yes, people can play with them. It’s the new Natal hands-free controller for the Xbox 360, unveiled by Microsoft in June at E3.

The demos let people play Burnout Paradise, holding an imaginary steering wheel and moving feet backwards and forwards to control the speed of their vehicle in the game.

Natal uses an infrared sensor that detects the person, how far from the screen they are, and matches to an existing gamer profile. If there’s no match, the user is asked to create a profile. The sensor calibrates itself to the room temperature and detects warm bodies, plotting 48 different points on the body, and will even adapt as gamers grow or change body shape.

Kudo Tsunoda, the Xbox 360 general manager who’s also creative director of Natal, told the BBC:

“If you take a young child, they grow at quite a fast rate,” he said.

“However, these changes over days or weeks are slight. So if there are small day-to-day changes, Natal will recognize that and update your profile.”

“Clothes, people, size, lighting – we’re making Natal so it will work in all conditions.”

“And, yes, you can even log in and play Natal in the dark.”