Two big announcements for Microsoft at the 2010 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas deal with the hyped up Project Natal and the proposed Xbox Live feature named Game Room.
Microsoft announced that Project Natal will definitely make its way to the Xbox 360 console sometime this year. The technology, which allows games to recognize player movements using sensors, may be released for the holiday season just in time to do battle with the Nintendo Wii.
Salinas gamer, Joseph Han, was amazed at potential of the new technology. He recalled a video taken from last year's E3 by Lionhead Studios' chief Peter Molyneaux who presented Milo, a character that interacts with users through Project Natal. In one portion of the demonstration, a user "handed" the onscreen Milo a drawing on a piece of paper. In an instant, Project Natal scanned the sheet of paper and relayed it to the character who was then able to complete his homework.
Holiday sales, recently ruled by Nintendo with its Wii, may face stiff competition as Microsoft and Sony close the innovation gap. Sony plans to release its motion controller sometime this spring.The motion controller, resembling a microphone and used in conjuction with a Playstation Eye camera, is designed to work with several existing PS3 titles as well as a rerelease of Resident Evil 5.
Microsoft's other announcement may bring back arcades in virtual form. Game Room lets Xbox Live users create virtual game rooms that others can visit. With plans to bring 1,000 games to the service, notably Atari and Intellivision classics, this year could be a giant year for online gaming.