Ballmer: Natal "most exciting" MS product

No need to carry "big fat gaming thing".

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer has described Project Natal as the "most exciting product" his company will release all year.

"Perhaps for me the most exciting product we'll bring to market this year, and it really fits in this context, actually comes out of our videogaming group," he told a meeting of executives in Columbia this week, as reported by ZDNet.com (thanks VG247).

"You might say, why would I talk to a group of CEOs about videogames? Because the technology actually is very general purpose, and we'll see come into the rest of our lives pretty soon... It's a technology that we call Natal."

Ballmer said that the advantage of Natal was that "you don't go get some remote control or big fat gaming thing", you "just gesture, and the computer recognises your voice, it recognises your gestures."

He seemed very excited about it, particularly applications beyond gaming. "And if you think about that in a lot of settings, why am I carrying this thing?" he said rhetorically. "I've already forgotten three times where I set it down. I should just be able to go like this, and the camera should recognise that gesture and control the slides for me, and let these kinds of things freely happen."

Microsoft has previously said to expect Natal to learn from your actions in future, possibly judging your sports affiliation by the colour of your "jersey", or shopping you to the feds for breaching the terms of your parole.

Project Natal is due to launch for Xbox 360 this autumn, and Microsoft is set to demonstrate it for the first time in nearly a year at E3 in June. The company is holding a World Premier Project Natal for Xbox 360 Experience event on 13th June, and will elaborate on its plans at its annual E3 conference the next day. We've already been told to expect the add-on's full line-up of software there too.

Digital Foundry tests Project Natal's latency.

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