Microsoft confirms motion-camera firm buyout

Business daily says chief of Microsoft's Israeli R&D center has averred long-rumored acquisition of suspected Project Natal tech-maker 3DV systems. [UPDATE] Microsoft now directly saying deal is done.

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In February, reports out of Israel and Silicon Valley indicated that Microsoft had purchased the Israeli startup 3DV Systems to acquire its Z-Cam motion-sensing technology. However, Microsoft has steadfastly refused to comment on any such deal. It also has remained mum on whether or not the highly responsive Z-Cam (pictured top) is related to Project Natal (pictured bottom), an eerily similar--and, at times, just eerie (see below)--motion-sensing camera peripheral unveiled at the Electronic Entertainment Expo.

That has apparently changed this week, according to an article in the Israeli business daily Globes. The newspaper's online edition reports that Moshe Lichtman, Microsoft corporate vice president and head of the software giant's Israeli research and development center--its third biggest in the world--has confirmed the sale. He did so in a Monday speech designed to bolster morale at the center, which apparently laid off 50 employees in January as part of Microsoft's massive worldwide staff cuts.

"Fourteen development projects are taking place at the center today, 12 of them completely new and destined to become Microsoft products in new markets," he reportedly said. "The R&D center helped Microsoft in buying the intellectual property of 3DV Systems, and in the wake of that dozens of the company's employees were recruited to work at the development center."

However, Lichtman remained tight-lipped when Globes asked him whether Project Natal was based on technology from 3DV and Prime Sense, another Israeli tech firm bought by Microsoft. "When there's something to tell, we'll do so," was all he would say.

[UPDATE] The day after this article went live, US Microsoft reps confirmed the acquisition directly to GameSpot. "Yes, we did purchase the intellectual property of 3DV," a rep said before switching back into recalcitrant mode. "Beyond that, we have no comment."

Discussion

67 comments
mastodonfatguy
mastodonfatguy

@ incubus420 u get scanned into the game b4 hand. havent u seen the demos yet on you tube? check em out

Incubus420
Incubus420

I think this will be cool. But Doubt it will be a 1 to 1 motion capture. I fail to see how it won't pick up my dog or stupid mother running around in the background. None the less this whole motion sensing craze is making me sick.

joevit
joevit

@wahyudil. Get off the monopoly train. they can only copy right chips and and the look of the cam. Not the tech in hole. If that were so, there would be no AMD, Intel, only IMB. Even Sony would would be in some crap by big N. This stuff is not new. Just new to the way it can be used. Motion sensing has been around for a long time.

meateater79
meateater79

May open many possibilities for the 360, though it would render my Wii even more useless than it already is.

wahyudil
wahyudil

is this mean microsoft want to monopoly the uses of camera based motion sensing tech?

black_knight402
black_knight402

I'm more cautiouse about Microsoft spying on me since theirs a motion sense camera that can invade my family privacy. Indeed its opening doors for technology but this product just seems to creepy.

XxKaramxX
XxKaramxX

cant wait for project natlia its going to kick sonys butt big time sony sucks big weners

Melty123
Melty123

Whatever it takes just make NATAL a good project for MC, game makers and of course for the gamers. Hope they make the best they can.

MrPush
MrPush

Yea thats a Dev Kit Console ...... ---- Ummm....Am I the only one that noticed the large silver add-on sitting where the harddrive should be ???

frodo10
frodo10

i fail to see the point of this

maesterangelo
maesterangelo

sony is sooooo screwed. this is breathtaking.

LosDaddie
LosDaddie

Thank you, MS!! I can't wait to buy NATAL :D

shkar
shkar

tight-lipped ,,,,,,,,,lol

kavadias1981
kavadias1981

The name "Microsoft" and the term "buy out" go hand in hand really, dont they. Looking forward to Natal though. Once that is released I will likely buy a 360.

MegadethAndy
MegadethAndy

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

Riprock
Riprock

Project Natal leap-frogs the Wii technology. It is more advanced and more capable. It will of course depend on how developers utilize it, which is why Microsoft provided dev. kits to developers long before E3. Where they got the technology answers some questions, but really doesn't change anything. I like the character interaction Lionhead demonstrated, but I hope I don't have to roll around on the floor or wave my hands all around to do combat - I still prefer the controller for that. I want to play a game, not exhaust myself with aerobics and contortions. But the technology and possibilities are all very cool indeed, even if Microsoft is somewhat cocky or the first version is incomplete and buggy. If you're worried, just wait for version 3. Otherwise, dream a little and let's see what developers come up with.

batman17
batman17

those are developers 360,s. That,s to play review copy,s without getting banned.

BCM
BCM

Ummm....Am I the only one that noticed the large silver add-on sitting where the harddrive should be ???

azone12
azone12

I have to say this seems like an interesting idea and i will most likely buy it but i am predicting it will be highly bugged and annoying like everything else xbox has not to mention expensive, vista and 70 dollar live anyone? it seems like microsoft is just copying and pasting an idea from nintendo and a means from some company to piggyback on the nintendo wii fanbase

joevit
joevit

@halosniper52. I was thinking that my self. It would be cool to talk crap to it. @Heffe2020. That's a dev kit 360. I have friends that work for game studios and they have them. Not at home but that's what they use at work.

nurse_tsunami
nurse_tsunami

Natal looks really cool, but I'll reserve final judgment until it actually comes out and there are some concrete games using it. It looks to have a lot of potential, but it will be up to developers to put it to use in meaningful ways and not some gimmicky method.

GatCloudX
GatCloudX

yea microsoft is getting cocky

Jatt_Warrior
Jatt_Warrior

wooaahh what was the fat silver block on top of the 360 elite lol. anyone notice that?

halosniper52
halosniper52

I want this Milo thing just to tell him to F*** off :) and see if he runs always crying or tells me to F*** off right bak that would be so damn funny.

joevit
joevit

@Mr_arizona Anyone else get scared of the thought that Milo will crawl out of the tv like the girl from the ring? Now I'm 100% on not getting this. Thanks. So so. Think of the sick things that can be done with this. No way, I'm not getting this.

maaly81
maaly81

I dont want to have anything to do with Milo, cuz if he start talking bout "How is your mother?" and "I like how your wifes bossoms look today", imma have to get rid of the 360

Heffe2020
Heffe2020

I want that hard drive in the video for my xbox .

Heffe2020
Heffe2020

I hope game developers get really creative with this new tech. I want a new xbox main menu that utilizes the new tech. Something like the way minority report computer menus were set up. That might not be possible, but its a good thought

Mr_arizona
Mr_arizona

Anyone else get scared of the thought that Milo will crawl out of the tv like the girl from the ring?

k2theswiss
k2theswiss

@NightRaVeN75 "I personally think Project Natal would be best with roleplaying games, for a live action roleplaying experience on xbox 360 for example maybe Fable 3 will use the technology where you swing your arm and your character swings his sword in response, you wave your hand, and your char casts a spell, you make the expression motion of a dance and your char dances" i would love a rpg thats very active with natal

major_falcon
major_falcon

Jeff_Boldt I agree with what your saying. Very well put. I was just responding to some of the people (aka crazy fanbois of every side) that this is cool and neat, but its not going to destroy the controller...just yet. And the yes I have seen the brainwave video...and it is truly amazing!!! Screw moving around and motion sensing, how about what you THINK is what occurs in the game! Haha! A whole new level of gamer concentration and depth of strategy will unfold. That is when the gaming industry become revolutionized. Heres the link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hQWBfCg91CU

chimpanchu
chimpanchu

How can you play FPS without device??? How do you shoot? Speak it out? "Shoot" "Shoot" "Shooooooooooooooot".......

Maxor127
Maxor127

This will go the route of the EyeToy into gaming obscurity and might become the biggest disappointment of all time.

VengenceZero
VengenceZero

It's very amusing to me how you tweens argue how the wiis motion sensing was a gimmick, now everything Microsoft or ps3 is so revolutionary. Yall need seriously need to get jobs and stop waiting on christmas. The usual gamer age may be 30 but their clearly not on here. Remember kids it's all a business, if yall put this much time into school them console wars you'll be alot better. I'm glad Sony and MS see the wii motion sensing as a untapped product, it's the bridge to the casual gamer, and that equals $$$$.

joevit
joevit

I'm not jumping up and down for this but I think a lot of people who are into the wii will get into this. But thats what I think. How ever, lets give it a chance. This 1up's PS3 and wii.

Jeff_Boldt
Jeff_Boldt

Facistinabag: the way natal is being marketed, yes it is designed to replace the controller for a lot of people. Certain game experiences will still require a controller obviously but microsoft is definitely going out of their way to make jumping into gaming on their system a heck of a lot more intuitive, most likely attempting to snag gamers away from the Wii. Nightraven with crazy up and down capitalization; for a game with a super duper amount of depth Natal wouldn't work very well, there's too many actions to map them to body movement. If you had 1 spell, 1 weapon and 1 dance it would work, but then that would be super duper boring. aaaannnnnd Major_falcon; I agree with a bunch of what you say but I think what microsoft is attempting to do is to open the door to revolution, not so much cause it. Eventually you'll be completely controlling games via thought and movement (games using real world ""telekinesis"" or brain wave reading technology already exist) and from there we'll be moving more toward matrix style gaming (hopefully without the brain rod) and all of this is feasible within the next several decades. Steps like natal are basically testing the waters for incorporating and refining other means of input to games and consoles and it's super exciting to see stuff like this. all hail the death of the console controller as it harkons a new era of advanced gaming. plz give me a holodeck with hot hologram hotties, chyeah.

XenoLair
XenoLair

Microsoft taking over i see.

NightRaVeN75
NightRaVeN75

I personally think Project Natal would be best with roleplaying games, for a live action roleplaying experience on xbox 360 for example maybe Fable 3 will use the technology where you swing your arm and your character swings his sword in response, you wave your hand, and your char casts a spell, you make the expression motion of a dance and your char dances

facistinabag
facistinabag

I hope everyones aware that Natal isn't supposed to replace the controller, clearly games like Conviction and CoD will continue to use a controller, it's just fancy alternative.

major_falcon
major_falcon

Very cool idea...but...think about gaming without the controller. How many games would even be feasible? FPS? Nope controller player will destroy you. RPG? Holy hell thats a lot of running in rl if you play for example Oblivion. Fighting? It would be cool for fighting games, but controller players still have advantage. RTS? Sure, if your given a hud and it can accuratly read your hand signals as mouse and keyboard signals. I'm just saying, this is amazing technology and will create a very cool niche in gaming, but it will not revolutionize it because the controller/ mouse is too important in the genres of games we play. Just a rant thats all.

HUNTER-VENOM
HUNTER-VENOM

People don't know how amazing this will be if they put effort into it. Some people think....how are they going to play FPS,RTS or even run in a game? you think Microsoft didn't think that themselves and are just going to ignore that problem?? Did you ever think they mite not make the same old FPS that we know now? people are hating on something that it COULD be AMAZING! before it's even come out just because it's Microsoft that's making it. I'm going to wait to see what they have to offer first and if they give up on it well so will I.

ldonyo
ldonyo

Is anyone really surprised? At least it should work properly.

smzel
smzel

Awsome!!now how muxh is this going to cost $$$$$$

wiidsduelpack
wiidsduelpack

Thanks Gamestop for all this info. This is great all companies are innovating new products and they are competing for your money. Want to see the reactions of Sony and Nintendo.

Linkman0714
Linkman0714

oooh very ingenious MS buy someone elses tech and use it as your own

PhilWil92
PhilWil92

So all this means is that they're serious about motion-sensing technology. Sounds like good news to me.