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

Wednesday, 28th 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.



  1. Dannybuoy

    “big fat gaming thing”… 360 perfectly summed up in four words

    #1 5 years ago
  2. JimFear666

    coming from the same guy who said that blu-ray will be on 360…

    #2 5 years ago
  3. Blerk

    Interesting that he talks about Natal without ever mentioning the 360.

    #3 5 years ago
  4. Tonka

    It will take a shit year if Spazzball is the most interesting they have to put to market…

    #4 5 years ago
  5. Bulk Slash

    Do you think Natal works better if you bellow at it and kick a chair across the room?

    #5 5 years ago
  6. Erthazus

    Success of the Natal is 50/50. I don’t see Natal as something really cool because it’s not sensitive yet. It’s not that awesome and it looks like a Playstation Eye to me at best.
    They don’t show us decent demos so there is something wrong about it and i think i can do just fine with my remote, because doing ape shit with my gesture is cool for about 3 minutes then i don’t care.

    On the Sony’s side, i was impressed b E3 2009 demos, but not in to software for now. For me it looks like a gimmick software and some cheap marketing how is this is not a WII Remote.
    they really impressed me with the technology, but marketing and games sucks ass.

    Sony and Microsoft still have a chance at E3, Gamescom, TGS to sell me one of these two devices. They just need a decent software.

    #6 5 years ago
  7. Gheritt White

    Natal for general purpose use is *far* kore exciting than its use for gaming. If they could build Natal directly into the telly, then I’d be more than happy to use it to browse the channel guide or switch inputs.

    Gaming does need some sense of tactility, for which I think the PS Move is better suited.

    #7 5 years ago
  8. Erthazus

    Patrick Garratt or someone else POST THIS PLEASE:

    (!) PRE E3 (!) lineup has been revealed by famous Russian blogger FATAL. FAST!

    @7 i really don’t see that good. I mean it’s great for 3-5 minutes to browse movies or other stuff in your TV but then, it’s much easier to do with the remote.
    It’s just you need your hand to browse something, but with remote you use only fingers.

    I see Natal doing something good in the living room if it will be sensitive so i can browse movies and e.t.c. using my fingers. then it’s a deal and i see that in next gen Microsoft’s Xbox 720 Natal or something.

    #8 5 years ago
  9. Gheritt White

    Erthazus – that list is 90% bullshit. It’s not worth a story, ‘cos it’s almost completely made up.

    #9 5 years ago
  10. Erthazus

    @9 really? This list kinda makes sense except Bad Company 3, Mass Effect 3, Forza Motorsport 4, Call Of Duty MMORPG :D and Fahrenheit 2.

    A little bit strange, but who really knows.

    #10 5 years ago
  11. Eregol

    Natal – The most exciting thing coming to 360 this year.

    Doesn’t say much about the rest of the output really.

    #11 5 years ago
  12. Gheritt White

    Erthazus – trust me, that list is almost wholly inaccurate, although I couldn’t say for sure about EA’s games.

    #12 5 years ago
  13. Patrick Garratt

    @8 – That’s mostly bollocks. Some of it is true, though.

    #13 5 years ago
  14. Erthazus

    You are probably right.

    If you look here, even David Jaffe says that it is bullshit with Twisted Metal: Harbor City

    #14 5 years ago
  15. Tallon 4

    In EGDE (may 2010 )I read there are some problems with Natal:
    - performance issues (problems as lag, differentiate
    between users’furniture and user, microphone tech
    results )
    - MS has shown nothing that demonstrates a practical
    translation of an existing game format in Natal
    form( execept for holding a steering wheel )
    - Sony’s Move is finalised and in the hands of developers
    and 20 Sony teams are working on titles while
    Natal hardware seems to be far form perfect.

    They wonder if MS is pushing it too far with Natal.

    If that really is true….NATAL will be dead before it hits the streets.

    #15 5 years ago
  16. reask

    I mean how lazy will this make us.
    Switch the telly there will you please.
    No you do it im picking my nose so go away.

    #16 5 years ago
  17. Erthazus

    @15 i don’t think so that this is truth. MS can’t fuck it up. Soon is E3 and E3 will probably show demos of existing products.

    #17 5 years ago
  18. The Hindle

    So some of that list is accurate, some is bullshit. Id say Killzone 3 will be shown but not Resistance 3. God of war 3 afterlife seems to be pretty valid as well.

    #18 5 years ago

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