While it seems just about everyone and their mom has weighed in on the Natal debate, when Wedbush Morgan analyst Michael Pachter speaks, people listen, whether it's to criticize him for his bold predictions or not. Pachter recently predicted that Natal would outsell PS3's Arc -- five to one in fact -- simply due to the fact that it will likely be cheaper. He's not the only one who thinks the device has potential. Co-founder of Naughty Dog, Jason Rubin, recently expressed his thoughts on Natal during the latest episode of GameTrailers' Bonus Round.
"I think Natal and things like Natal are going to revolutionize more than gaming," said Rubin. "Putting Natal in the Xbox gives it the opportunity to become a lot more than just a gaming machine. The things you can do outside of gaming justifies buying Natal. If Microsoft plays its cards right it can sell far more Xbox's to people who don't buy games."
Microsoft wants Natal to replace your TV's remote control. Is that what gamers want?
After predicting Microsoft's Natal to outsell Sony's Arc five to one, analyst Michael Pachter has said what he believes will be the price point for Microsoft's device. He expects the reason Natal will do so well is because it will retail for a lower price, which he predicts will be $50.
"My guess is for Natal, which is really important for them, they're going to price it at or below their cost," he said in the latest episode of his new show, Pach Attack. "Talking to my hardware specialist colleagues at Wedbush, it's about $50 in cost. Now I may be wrong, and I know we're going to get flamed by 13-year-olds with PhD's in Engineering who know a lot more about hardware than we do, who'd say maybe it's going to be seventy bucks, but I'd be very surprised if it was more than $79. I really think it's going to be $50."
Natal, set to make a big splash at E3, will be launching later this year.
Half-Life 2 developer Valve slammed "sh*tty" shovelware party games and said it would never place a "tiresome" mini-game for Natal in Left 4 Dead despite showing interest in the device.
Valve writer Chet Faliszek told CVG that the studio believes Project Natal is "really cool," but they hope other developers don't waste the opportunities it presents.
"Hopefully we've gotten past the point of mini-games," Faliszek said. "I'm sick of that [makes arm movement]. That's not a game for me anymore. Let's get some real interaction going.
"We have these technologies now that let us interact in different, really exciting ways. It's developers' jobs to do something with it. Impress me. Don't just make sh*tty games I wouldn't want to play if I had to use a joystick."
When asked if Valve would ever implement Natal into Left 4 Dead, the writer replied, "We'll see. You won't have to make the arm movement of sawing off a zombie's head in some tiresome mini-game. I can promise you that."
Later this year, Microsoft and Sony will be launching their motion-controlled devices, Natal and Arc respectively. There has been much speculation as to which will be more successful or if either will be successful at all. Wedbush Morgan Securities analyst Michael Pachter weighed in on the discussion, predicting that Microsoft's Natal will outsell Sony's device by a wide margin during the first year they're on the market.
"I think that the Sony motion controller will have some problems gaining traction, since it is not an 'in the box' solution," Pachter PS3Center. "That will probably limit adoption to one or two million at the outset.
"A year or so after launch, there will be 10 million [Project Natal units] out there, which will probably attract more third party support."
Natal and Arc are both set to make appearances at E3 later this year.
In a recent job posting noticed by CVG, it was revealed that Microsoft is currently working on bringing a "large franchise" to Project Natal.
"MGS is looking for a talented, motivated and experienced Sr. Level Designer who can create innovative game-play solutions for a large franchise," the listing reads. "The Sr. Level Designer is expected to implement major gameplay features to high quality, focusing on creating and implementing level designs. Qualified individuals are expected to be organized, with excellent communication skills, both verbally and written, and have a proven track record in AAA game design."
Any ideas on what it might be?
Microsoft is set to debut its motion-control device Natal later this year, and the company expects it to have a lifespan as long as five years.
"The richness of the technology is going to really enable experiences that never had existed before," said the Xbox 360's director of product management, Aaron Greenberg, while speaking with CVG. "And we're not just speaking about what we're doing this year, but I think two, three, four, five years from now as this evolves.
"Millions of consumers this Holiday will be able to experience Project Natal and this is just the beginning of something that will change the way consumers interact with entertainment and change way our publishing partners think about game development."
Greenberg also responded to comments that called Natal a "jazzed-up EyeToy."
"We obviously could have done a motion controller if we'd have wanted to do that, but we felt that would be a much more interruptive experience," he explained. "We had an opportunity here to really do something that's transformative and brings a whole new category of experiences to life.
"Now we're saying to creators: 'We can see when you move your hand, when you move your feet, we can track your body. I can stand in front of this sensor and it can recognise my face and know if it's me, or my brother or my sister.'"
According to Microsoft's Aaron Greenberg, Natal is still in "codename status," and a lot more information on it, including a possible "real" name will be coming at E3 later this year.
"I would say to expect us to share a news around E3 time," he told Joystiq at X10 last week. "But right now, we're obviously in a codename status. We just unveiled this thing about seven months ago at E3, so it's an entirely new category of games and entertainment.
"We are still in codename status, and we haven't shown any of the actual games. There's a lot more to share.
"We'll have more stuff at E3, more stuff at holiday — but a pretty good start to what we think will be our biggest year that we've ever had," he added.
For more information from X10, check out our coverage of it here.
Speaking with NowGamer, Wedbush Securities analyst Michael Pachter gave his thoughts on the console war, specifically with regards to Sony and Microsoft's motion-control devices. According to him, there's a few factors that will determine the "winner."
"The key to success with a retrofitted motion controller is penetration," said Pachter. "If price points are high, it is unlikely that Natal or Sony's motion controller will sell many units; if they are very low, they will sell a lot more. Without a meaningful installed base of consoles with the new motion controllers, developers will not be able to cost justify development of games that require motion control. Therefore, it’s a chicken and egg problem."
Pachter expects Microsoft's Natal to outsell Arc because it will likely have a lower price tag, meaning greater accessibility to a wider audience.
"My uninformed opinion is that Microsoft will price relatively low (around $50), and Sony will price higher (around $100), and that suggests that Microsoft will have greater success," he added.
Despite all of the rumors, Halo: Reach will not be supporting Microsoft's motion-control peripheral, Natal. In the studio's latest weekly update, Bungie finally but the kibosh on all the rampant speculation.
After mentioning the huge number of media assets released last week for Reach, they added, "Of course, with great assets comes great responsibility and since there are now a good number of understandable assumptions and gross misconceptions floating about, we figured we'd take a stab at dispatching a few of them with extreme prejudice.
"Halo: Reach is NOT a Natal title and is being developed expressly with the traditional Xbox 360 controller in mind."
For more info and more mythbusting, check out the update.
In an interview with Eurogamer, Microsoft's Phil Spencer said that the launch of Project Natal is a huge investment "fraught with risk" to the point where it keeps him up at night. Microsoft has received criticism for not taking such risks like Sony does when it comes to first-party development. The interviewer asked Spencer this, to which he responded by saying, "...I don't agree at all. This picks up the discussion about Natal very well, because if there isn't risk in Natal then I don't know what's keeping me up at night."