Tech Watch


With the U.S. release of the new iPhone 3GS on June 19 (and the general, overwhelming ubiquity of Apple products), it’s time to give Microsoft some props.

The Electronic Entertainment Expo, or E3, kicked off last week with the unveiling of Xbox’s newest baby: Project Natal. This new technology allows for controller-free game play with a system that can identify a person’s body in a 3-D realm. This means you can jaunt around your living room — right, left, forwards, and backwards — using just your body as the gaming character controller.

Not impressed yet? Just wait. The technology used in Project Natal also recognizes individual faces and voices. So in a multiplayer scenario, Xbox can distinguish you from your friends after you’ve let the camera scan each person. It can even distinguish equipment you already have around the house (i.e., that skateboard you haven’t picked up since high school) to use on the screen.

But wait, there’s more. Using what is assumedly a combination of an Internet and phone connection, you can buzz your friend across town (state, country) and, just like a webcam, sit, chat, and access cyberspace together. This also takes Xbox Live to the next level, letting you play via the screen with the guys down the hall.

This Wii on crack has die-hard gamers in frenzy. The hands-free, controller-free gaming system means the rise in less in-depth, plot-focused games and the future of first-person shooter games for Xbox 360 is in question.

But developers and fans of this ultra-futuristic gaming and social-networking system stress that this is also a system for non-gamers — and with it’s wide-ranging allure, the system will undoubtedly sell.

And who wouldn’t want a console you turn off just by saying, “Good night”?

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