Thursday, June 11, 2009

Yes, Project Natal Works with African Americans

The Youtube channel for Project Natal was just recently updated with more videos.

http://www.youtube.com/xboxprojectnatal

Here are just some of the videos there:










Some time this week some misinformation was being spread on NEOGAF about how the system couldn't 'see' African Americans, citing how N'Gai Croal was having trouble with using it. There was a video on the Youtube channel with other personalities like Sugar Ray Leonard trying out the system, but many were saying that the video was 'edited' to look like they were enjoying themselves. Natal's detractors were also saying that if you watch the videos, you'll see the players crashing into walls in Burnout, hinting at serious problems with Natal.

My take on this is: I didn't see any problems with the video where Sugar Ray Leonard and the others were trying out the technology. Maybe it was edited, maybe it wasn't; but it seemed to me that they were being fairly honest with their opinions about the technology at the end of it.

Even if it were true that problems were being experienced by the ones who were demoing Natal, I don't think it's fair to start dismissing the technology based on that. For one, it isn't out to market yet, and based on other videos I've seen it will likely be out sometime in 2010. So if some problems were encountered by the ones who demoed the system, I'm sure that it will undergo even more tweaking so that such problems will be avoided. As it stands, the technology for the most part actually WORKS, and over time I think it will just get better and more accurate at detecting user movements. The version of Natal shown at E3 2009 was a preliminary version which is likely to see more improvements as time goes on.

More videos were released today and, interestingly enough, there are people of all sorts of ethnicities in the videos. Some of the videos even featured people who weren't the athletic type but are able to manage to use Project Natal with no problems.

I think a lot of the ones who want to see Project Natal fail are too heavily invested in the other console platforms. To these people, I say: I think the best attitude to have towards this new technology is one of open-mindedness. Personally, I've made the same mistake about new game technology like Nintendo's Wii, and I admit that. Nintendo was right about one thing: gaming's mistake is going too much for the core gamer, it has to keep on expanding its reach to a broader audience if it is to gain acceptance as a respectable form of entertainment with the mainstream.

So keep an open mind. This is far less about which hardware maker will win the 'console wars', and more about the next step in the evolution of gaming technology. I'm more interested in that whenever I think about Project Natal. If Natal succeeds, even more innovative ideas in games will be created, and I think that's a great thing for the gaming industry as a whole.

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