Please support Game Informer. Print magazine subscriptions are less than $2 per issue


Microsoft: Natal Is A Risk Worth Taking

by Jeff Cork on Jan 20, 2010 at 08:47 AM

For every person who shouts about how innovative Microsoft’s Project Natal is, it seems as though someone else is ready to dismiss the much-hyped device as a glorified Webcam. Sure, it might be fun to mess around with, but Microsoft is playing it safe by relying on what’s essentially retooled tech. In an interview with Eurogamer, Phil Spencer, corporate vice president of Microsoft Game Studios, deflected such criticisms.

“[If] there isn't risk in Natal then I don't know what's keeping me up at night,” Spencer told the site. “We're trying something completely new where there's no device in your hand. We're trying to build a set of new games, new experiences that will have the same quality metrics of our past games, but really entice both existing 360 customers and new people. It's a huge challenge, a huge investment and it's fraught with risk.

“At the same time, when I look at Live and I think about the innovations in the XBLA space and the games that we've pushed forward, I actually would have agreed that a couple of years ago I thought some of the things we were doing online were not differentiated enough. But when I look at the last year and the set of games that has come out from us in the Live space - we brought that XBLA focus into the first-party studios about a year ago, and I think the change in the quality of games that have come out is remarkable."

Later, Spencer makes an interesting comparison between the pre-Natal landscape and the Xbox before the launch of Live.

“[Y]ou should expect that over the years you'll see Natal experiences show up on almost all of the games - similar to the way you do with Live today. At the beginning of Live it was all about sports, racing and shooting games. Now if you found a game that didn't have some kind of Live functionality it would seem like it wasn't a complete game. I think Natal is likely to get there as well.”

What do you think? Are consumers ready to adopt Natal in the same way they latched onto Live? Is that a fair comparison?

Read the interview in its entirety here.