updated 06:50 pm EST, Wed January 27, 2010
Nintendo chief thought Natal too expensive
Nintendo may have dismissed the technology that became Project Natal as far back as three years ago, an allegedly very high-placed insider said in a rumor late Tuesday. 3DV Systems, which created the technology and later sold it to Microsoft for the Xbox 360, is said to have pitched an early form of it to Nintendo in 2007. The latter's chief Satoru Iwata turned it down, however, as it was allegedly thought too expensive and too lag-prone.
The camera technology was eventually refined to where it became attractive to Microsoft, although it's heavily rumored that Microsoft has had to scale back its ambition and move most of the motion processing work to the Xbox 360's main processor rather than having a dedicated chipset. A final Natal peripheral may cost less than $80 and would be intended as a relatively trivial purchase.
Microsoft has already confirmed that Natal should ship for the Xbox 360 in the holiday 2010 period, but Nintendo has so far been reluctant to significantly alter the Wii's control scheme. Its most recent addition was Wii MotionPlus, an extra peripheral that adds true six-axis motion sensing in the Wii remote instead of the sensor-based detection from the original pack-in controllers. A sequel to the Wii is still considered distant.
Neither Microsoft nor Nintendo has agreed to comment.