Update on Project Natal

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Microsoft’s Project Natal controller-free gaming system moved a step closer to its rumoured 2010 release after several high-profile video games publishers and developers announced at the Tokyo Games Show that they were working on titles for the platform.

Microsoft says the enthusiasm of developers and publishers highlighted the “widespread enthusiasm” for Natal, a gaming system based on the Xbox 360 that enables players to do away with a conventional controller and instead make natural gestures to control on-screen action.

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Several major publishers, including Activision, Blizzard, Capcom, Electronic Arts and Sega, will announce at this week’s Tokyo Games Show that they are working on games that will complement the Project Natal platform and work with its gesture-controlled interface.

It has raised speculation that the gaming system could be in shops by the end of next year, which could as a result spark a new console war with rival platforms Sony and Nintendo.

“Project Natal could fundamentally change the way players experience sports games,” said Peter Moore, president of EA Sports. “Some of our top development teams are experimenting with these tools with the goal of delivering a completely fresh take on genres like sports and racing.”

Project Natal was unveiled at the E3 games show in Los Angeles in June. It is designed to work with existing Xbox 360 games consoles, and uses a camera, depth-sensor and microphones to track the movement of a player and replicate it on-screen.

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“We see enormous opportunities with Project Natal,” said Yves Guillemot, chief executive of Ubisoft. “With the 3D camera, your body becomes the interface. Any barrier related to the use of pad controllers that may have existed for potential gamers is now abolished.”

For video of Tokyo Games Show go to the Inside Xbox section of on your 360 Dashboard.
Day 1 includes the Project Natal update, Crackdown 2 footage and Alan Wake

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