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Details on Microsoft's Project Natal and XBox 360 Relaunch

50°
283w ago - Microsoft is bringing more to the Xbox 360 than simply a new way to play games; you might be seeing a significant upgrade to the console's graphics thanks to a couple of new initiatives.

Project Natal, which will launch at some point next year, is set to bring a new way to play video games.

Microsoft's Shane Kim has already stated that the controller-less peripheral will receive a launch as big as the Xbox 360, but apparently the company will be providing even more momentum.

To quote: You may not know it, but Microsoft shipped a new Xbox 360 development kit to studios earlier in the year. One striking difference was the inclusion of one-gigabytes of RAM.

Like the PlayStation 3 1GB development kits, the extra memory can be used to properly test your game. This was a problem for Xbox 360 developers before now, since extra memory from the 512MB pool would have to be put aside to test their game engine.

No, this does not mean that Microsoft will be releasing a new Xbox 360...
 

Microsoft's XBox 360 Console Bypasses Iranian Firewall

50°
283w ago - In the aftermath of the Iranian election, the Iran governement has attempted to filter the content of electronic communication. Some Web sites being blocked completely and Internet overall being slowed.

Initial exposure of the recent events have been taking place on services such as Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube. However some could find alternative means of communicating to those outside the country.

To quote: Craig Labovitz of Arbor Networks Inc has written a [Register or Login to view links] on what specific traffic is being blocked and/or filtered, noting that "Interestingly, game protocols like xbox and World of Warcraft show little evidence of government manipulation".

With the Xbox 360 offering video chat among the features of being an Xbox Gold subscriber, this could easily be an upcoming popular way for loved ones and news outlets to deliver messages to and from the country.
 

Rumor: XBox Natal is Actually Microsoft's Next Console

200°
285w ago - Earlier this week gaming blog [Register or Login to view links] quoted Microsoft's Shane Kim as saying that the launch of Natal, Microsoft's new controller-free motion control technology, would be as big as the launch of a console. Not surprising. That's because Natal is going to be a new console.

On this week's [Register or Login to view links], 1UP discussed Natal, and how the new technology is actually the cornerstone of Microsoft's next evolution of the Xbox.

To quote: Microsoft will not only release Natal as an add-on for the Xbox 360, it will come standard with the next Xbox console. Yes, there will be a new Xbox console next fall.

However, the new console won't just be an Xbox 360 with a camera, though - we've heard it will be considered a new platform and carry a new name (Xbox Natal?). It's not clear what sort of upgrades we might see, but some have suggested it will be an slight upgrade of the current Xbox 360 technology.

Current Xbox 360 games would be playable on it, but future games would be able to take advantage of the added muscle. Similar to what we see in the PC space, games played on the more advanced Xbox would look or perform better, but publishers will still be able...
 

PlayStation Eye More Precise Than Microsoft's Project Natal?

500°
286w ago - No doubt the major talk of E3 2009 was all about the motion-sensing technologies demoed by Sony and Microsoft at their press conferences.

Microsoft's Project Natal's major selling point is full-body recognition and the promise of a controller-less game experience, while Sony's PlayStation Eye-powered motion tech aims to turn a single controller into any virtual item imaginable (i.e. swords, tennis racquets, whips, whiskey bottle, etc.).

To quote: Sony's director of marketing John Holler told [Register or Login to view links] that the PlayStation Eye is "more accurate and more precise" than Microsoft's motion-sensing tech, and, even though Project Natal's full-body scanning capabilities is "impressive," it also, allegedly, suffers from "depth issues on the Z-axis."

This assessment is obviously impossible to confirm until some impartial testing can be done, so we'll just have to take Holler's comments with a PS3-emblazoned grain of salt for now.

What's perhaps more interesting about this whole ridiculously premature debate about technologies that are still years away from landing in living rooms is that Project Natal certainly does seem designed to out-casual the casual gaming genre Nintendo ushered...
 

E3 2009: Microsoft Execs: Natal is Not Derived from 3DV

250°
286w ago - Microsoft's Shane Kim has said that the systems making up Project Natal have been in development "for a long time", and distanced the full-body motion-sensing camera from the company's acquisition of 3DV Systems.

Following the announcement at the platform holder's E3 conference on Monday, many assumed that Natal's technology and 3DV's (seen in late 2007 prior to the company's acquisition) were one and the same, but Kim told VentureBeat, "At Microsoft Research, we have had a lot of working going on for a long time."

His colleague Aaron Greenberg was even more direct. Asked whether Natal was derived from 3DV technology, he told Eurogamer to quote: "No, we built this in house."

"None of those rumors did justice to what we were actually doing with Project Natal. People expected a controller you put in your hands," Kim said to VentureBeat.

"We have done a lot of work in natural user interfaces. Voice recognition is one of them. That's why we have been able to deliver development kits for it this week."

Microsoft hasn't gone it completely alone though, as Kim admitted "it's a combination of partners and our own software", and some have theorised that acquisitions like 3DV's were designed to insure the company against similar patents.

"You have...
 
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