Microsoft: Major gamemakers developing for Natal

September 24, 2009 9:03 AM PDT

Microsoft has been pretty quiet about its Project Natal since showing off the motion-capture technology at E3 earlier this year.

However, a lot has been going on behind the scenes, particularly in getting developers to build games that can take advantage of the technology, which lets a player control a game with their body as opposed to a joystick. In an announcement at the Tokyo Game Show on Thursday, Microsoft noted that nearly all of the big names in video games are working on Natal titles.

Microsoft’s list includes Activision, Capcom, Disney, EA, Konami, MTV, Namco Bandai, Sega, Square Enix, THQ, and Ubisoft. Game makers have had development kits in their hands since June, Microsoft said.

“‘Project Natal’ gives the industry’s creators and storytellers the freedom to dream of new experiences and to tell stories never before possible,” Microsoft Senior Vice President Don Mattrick said in a statement. Microsoft has yet to announce further details on Natal, such as when it will be released and how much it will cost, but many expect the add-on to debut next year.

Microsoft has said that Natal, which consists of an RGB camera, depth sensor, and multi-array microphone, will be sold as an add-on to the existing Xbox 360 console.

“Project Natal could fundamentally change the way players experience sports games,” EA Sports President Peter Moore said in a statement. “At EA, 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.”

Ubisoft, meanwhile, talked about the opportunity to reach new audiences.

“With the 3D camera, your body can become the interface,” Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot said in a statement. “Any barrier related to the use of pad controllers that may have existed for potential gamers is now abolished.”

Microsoft’s own game studios are also working on several projects, the company said.

To get an idea of how Natal looks in action, here’s a video report I did earlier this year after getting a chance to try out Natal firsthand.