Ballmer: Natal is “the most exciting product we’ll bring to market this year”

Wednesday, 28 April 2010 07:01 GMT By Patrick Garratt


Here it comes. Microsoft super-boss Steve Ballmer’s playing hard-sell with Natal on a current tour of South America, pegging the motion-sensing system as one of the firm’s biggest deals in 2010.

Ballmer trotted out the following, speaking to a group of execs in Bogota, Columbia on Monday:

“Perhaps for me the most exciting product we’ll bring to market this year, and it really fits in this context, actually comes out of our videogaming group. You might say, why would I talk to a group of CEOs about videogames? Because the technology actually is very general purpose, and we’ll see come into the rest of our lives pretty soon.

“It’s a technology that we call Natal. It’s a little camera and microphone that sits on top of your TV set. And if you want to control the TV, you don’t go get some remote control or big fat gaming thing. If you want to look through TV channels, you just gesture, and the computer recognizes your voice, it recognizes your gestures. You want to see the next sports program, you go like this, it will cycle you through. You want to play a game and you need to jump, you jump. I’m not going to jump too hard; a little bit too high altitude here in Bogota for that, at least for me. But it recognizes you, it knows your voice, who you are, your gestures, what you’re doing.

“And if you think about that in a lot of settings, why am I carrying this thing? I’ve already forgotten three times where I set it down. I should just be able to go like this, and the camera should recognize that gesture and control the slides for me, and let these kinds of things freely happen.”

Get used to it. Natal is going to be a huge part of Microsoft’s E3, with the firm planning an entire evening dedicated to the device on Sunday, June 13, ahead of the show’s main 360 conference the following day.

The camera ships towards the end of the year. Full thing on ZDNet.