Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer thinks “controller-free gaming and entertainment experience" Project Natal is probably the most exciting product the company will bring to market this year.
Speaking to a group of executives in Bogota, Columbia this week, Ballmer was keen to stress the non-gaming applications of the motion sensing technology, much like Xbox Live general manager Marc Whitten did last week.
“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," he said. "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,” Ballmer continued. “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 recognises your voice, it recognises your gestures. You want to see the next sports programme, 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 recognises you, it knows your voice, who you are, your gestures, what you’re doing.”
Microsoft will hold a ‘World Premiere’ Project Natal event at E3 on June 13.