James Ireland On February - 2 - 2010

Five reasons why Natal could fail

Some have coined 2010 as the year of the Brave New World in videogames. With the release of the PS3 motion controller and Project Natal from Microsoft, a polarised shift from games controllers to controller-less style games will be emerging. How will Natal fair in the market?

At the moment it’s pretty hard to say but we’ve comprised our list of five reasons why the peripheral could completely bomb.

5. Existing install base catchment

Fanboy's may not be happy.

Let’s face it. The majority of 360 owners are hardcore gamers. There is probably less than a 10% share of existing customers whom own an Xbox 360 for the sheer delight of its casual offerings. So with that in mind, hardcore gamers are very unlikely to embrace Natal unless they can implement it in a form that improves the gaming experience, rather than hindering it.

Even with the support of Peter Molyneux, the peripheral struggles to catch the minds and hearts of the hardcore gamer and just how many Nintendo Wii owners are likely to make the transition because an Xbox jolly come lately approach to the casual market? Not as many as Microsoft would like to have you believe.

4. Failing to meet expectations

It was a set up!

One of the biggest stumbling blocks Natal could meet is that the system is just underwhelming. It’s now a 100% fact that the Milo presentation was a forgery, a set up and that the experience isn’t as immersive and seamless as Microsoft would like you to think. In fact the Milo presentation has set Natal on such a high pedal stall that if it doesn’t deliver then the peripheral has the possibility of collapsing like a flan in a cupboard. Let’s also be frank that Microsoft has also been very coy in only allowing certain press to see the peripheral in action are these press corporations ones likely to sell advertising space to Microsoft when this comes out? Most likely!

3. Support drops from developers

If sales get bad, developers could pull support.

Another big issue for Microsoft is sales, if initial sales for Natal are poor, or the game sales for it are poor then developers may well shy away from supporting it all together. Natal is really dependent on its price point anymore than £100 sterling and it would scare off potential consumers. If it can drop its production costs to sell at £50.00 with a bundle of mini-games then it has a real chance of capitalising and gaining the support it needs. We know that initially when the unit releases that over 10 games will be available on launch, will it be impressive enough to make people double dip purchase? We hope so, we really do but there is an underlying fear that Natal could go the way of Sony’s EyeToy or there very own Xbox Live Vision Camera which only had two dedicated games made for it. You’re at the Movies (which bombed) and Totemball (which totally sucked)

2. Hardware Faults

A possible red light for natal?

There is no doubt about it Natal is a complicated piece of kit. Which its multiple cameras and full motion tracking technology, there is bound to be hardware faults somewhere along the line. The production quality of Natal needs to be of the upmost quality to avoid another embarrassment to Microsoft in terms of its hardware failures. By using cheaper production methods they run the risk of deteriorating the build quality and that has the potential to be a PR disaster of the highest level. Microsoft will need to tread carefully to avoid falling foul once again.

1.. It loses it’s novelty

Wii music was ridiculously bad

Purchasers of Nintendo’s Wii accelerometer remote based console will know more than anyone that novelty wears off quickly. The Wii has become the cornerstone of dust for many owners and ardent Nintendo fans wished they kept to controller method at its core. Microsoft has to be coy with how they use Natal. It will need to adapt, provide new features and throw games in that offer something new to ever have a modicum of long term success for it. This once again in turn throws up the casual gamer question. Are those bored with the Wii going to run the risk of trying another gimmick? It’s difficult to tell but one thing for sure is that Microsoft are taking a huge risk that could either be one of the biggest gaming duff’s in history or perhaps one of the master strokes of modern games design.

Natal is due out Christmas this year and it’s product placement in terms of time of the year, couldn’t be better placed. We’ll have one on Christmas day, will you? Let’s hope it’s not a device that collects as much dust as our Nintendo Wii does at the moment. Here’s hoping!

Categories: Editorial, Feature

3 Responses

  1. xbox 360 Gamer says:

    i like this article because it sounds like your saying why could it go wrong but at the smae time on the same side of it , i really hope that it is not a fail, because i want one for christmas just to see the cool ways of controllerless.

  2. Same here, I want it to be awesome but Microsoft showing the same brickball demo and the thing only running at 30fps worries me.

  3. jethrough says:

    well my friends uncle is a big owner in microsoft and he got a demo of the thing and it comepletely sucks

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