Xbox 360 motion-sensing camera in development - WSJ

Citing sources "familiar" with the project, <i>The Wall Street Journal</i> claims that Microsoft is indeed working on an optical add-on that will offer three-dimensional game control via body movements.

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Today, America's most widely read financial daily may have spoiled one of Microsoft's big surprises at the 2009 Electronic Entertainment Expo. This afternoon, The Wall Street Journal posted an article sourcing "people familiar with the matter" as saying Microsoft "is developing a new video camera for its Xbox 360 video game console that will allow players to control games with the movement of their bodies."

The brief piece went on to say that the add-on would not require any physical controller like the Wii, before speculating that it might--might--be shown at E3. After declining to answer the Journal's queries, corporate reps would tell GameSpot only that "Microsoft isn't commenting" on the report.

If the notion of a 360 motion-sensing camera sounds familiar, it should. So far, 2009 has seen an increasing number of reports that Microsoft is working on such a device. It all began in February, with reports that the Redmond, Washington-based software behemoth had bought 3DV Systems, a small Israeli company that produced the Z-Cam camera, which senses motion along the X, Y, and Z axes. Sources not only confirmed the deal to VentureBeat correspondent and Xbox expert Dean Takahashi, but also told him that the camera was "definitely" being used for a 360 add-on. The journalist said the camera's "motion detection was accurate, much more so than with the Wii."

After lying fallow for months, the 360 3D camera rumor resurfaced last week, when tech blog Engadet posted a photo of a motion-sensing camera peripheral hooked up to an Xbox 360. The controller's capabilities sounded virtually identical to that of the Z-Cam, with "full body and hand gesture control of games [and] characters" including the ability to "kick, punch, duck, dive, [and] jump."

The add-on will also apparently recognize "hand gestures like pinching, grabbing, and scrolling" and will also feature live video conferencing, among other features. According to reports on the tech site Ars Technica and the UK newspaper The Guardian, these abilities were the same as those displayed by the Z-Cam when it was at the 2008 Consumer Electronics Show.

Check back the morning of June 1 for GameSpot's live coverage of Microsoft's press briefing from the Electronic Entertainment Expo in Los Angeles.

Discussion

414 comments
GeigerdolylWodd
GeigerdolylWodd

Why don't MS and Sony just bundle together the dance pad controllers they already have for their respective consoles along with the cameras they also already have for their respective consoles and call it the motion sensing bundle.

Then push for devs to not only try them each but to be creative with those peripherals they already have. Creativity is the key ingredient here they are missing.

I'm sure those dance pads can be used for something more than just dance dance revolution and in tandem with the camera they could probably be used for more reliable in-game movement.

Why don't they do more with those peripherals they already have. I mean sure Sony is taking advantage of their Playstation Eye (the successor to the eye toy) but what of their dance pad controller why don't they just use that?

Instead of introducing another peripheral that will hardly be used and collect dust.

And Microsoft has really dropped the ball here in regards to following suit with what should have been a no brainer . ie why not use what you've already got. Or better yet put it to better use?

They could have saved the money they're dumping into developing these peripherals and held onto more of their employees instead dismissing them. That's my rant regardless of how true or false it may be... That felt good...cathartic even...

blink-jfg Posted Jun 2, 2009 9:05 am CT Don't I already own this 'new' peripheral and use it with You're In The Movies?

No blink that's what I'm talking about. I mean why not just use the xboxlive vision camera in tandem with the dance pad controller. I know the dance pad might take up both controller slots (as long as it's not wireless).

But why not? and it probably wouldn't take too much more for them to make it wireless they had one for the original xbox and the PS2

SSBFan12
SSBFan12

I wonder why everyone is making all of these stuff for the console that really shouldn't be made.

msudude211
msudude211

I'm surprised this didn't get more publicity...

asian_pride69
asian_pride69

Motion sensor eh? Oh yeah I saw that the other day.

PSFreak1
PSFreak1

i guess this was project natal

gmax
gmax

I wonder if it will be able to sense my motion.

blink-jfg
blink-jfg

Don't I already own this 'new' peripheral and use it with You're In The Movies?

Gamer4Iife
Gamer4Iife

I guess that 'motion-sensing camera' was project Natal...

Kai000001
Kai000001

kevin8se7en: I'm assuming alot of those XBox 360 games are rated M? Yet another reason I'd prefer Wii personally. As Nintendo has shown you don't need excessive violence to make great games.

Sharvie
Sharvie

I'd rather they put the effort into making better games. Not the Eyetoy 2.0.

Strife88
Strife88

This sounds like another eyetoy... original.

shinian
shinian

The first x360 camera faild. I think that the same fate will meet the motion camera.

dth_dlr
dth_dlr

Microsoft really don't need to do this. the 360 has done fine without motion sensing and doesn't need it to be successful.

vexum
vexum

kevin8se7en: tastes. not everyone is an x360 fan.

pakhair
pakhair

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

kevin8se7en
kevin8se7en

I still don't understand why the wii is still selling... Most game are pure crap like Kitchen Nightmares...????!!!! how is that a game?! The 360 is CHEAPER and has much better graphics (obviously). To me I always thought it was the controller that made the wii sales so big... but now 360 is coming out with if so if the wii (without a price cut) still outsells the 360... I will be baffled. The games on the wii suck too... I mean yeah there are a few good games based on mario and 2-3 others but thats it. The 360 has AT LEAST 25+ games worth buying. Bye Bye wii or i will be very confused...?

aaronobst
aaronobst

Isn't it a shame that everyone feels the need for motion sensing? It's just gimmicky bull****

hhap52
hhap52

3-d control movement? no way...

beardrewz
beardrewz

The wii wont last and sales are down already. The 360 camera sounds very very interesting. Not bad for a extra option on a hard core gamer console. You dont get the option with the wii to play kids games or adult games...only kids games.

Junior_AIN
Junior_AIN

Maybe will be something not so unusual when Nintendo debuts something and other company comes and make it even better. The problem of the Wii is not really the new controls, but the new controls badly used and in loads of crappy games. I say that hardly Microsoft will abandon core gamers, even trying to steal some of the market of casuals from Nintendo with alike approaches. So it's safe to say that this could be good for core and casuals, if that's that, I'm okay with it. Just don't transform it into a Wii.

sequekhan
sequekhan

Are they going to release a "tread-ball" to go with it, so we don't run through a window when we're charging through enemy lines? Effectively, you'd need to buy a whole new room for your house to incorporate this, but hey, we can ALL afford that ... lol no!

maybeehe
maybeehe

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

games100
games100

If the make a game with over a 100 mini games with the camera I will buy it. e.g. shooting targeting with your fingers. stuff like that is always a laugh.

pUNKxINxDRublic
pUNKxINxDRublic

Sounds interesting, I'd like to try it, wonder if it's any better then the wii controllers...

Hairy_Pirate
Hairy_Pirate

Before you know it the 360 will be the home to "real" gamers and soccer moms alike! This is a great move, and can benefit everyone! If Microsoft can sell this crap for less then the cost of a Wii, and hook a bunch of middle-aged women and kids into buying it they'll make tons of cash selling crappy party games. With increased revenue from under polished games the hardcore gaming side is bound to receive a boost with development costs for MS leveling out amongst all its games. As it is currently the PS3's camera is much, much better then the 360 vision cam. This should balance the playing field, and open up gaming to much more then the Wii's flimsy set-up.

itsnivlem
itsnivlem

just in time for the new fight night. cool.

melante
melante

Instead of saving costs by retrenching thousands of staff, Microsoft should just avoid wasting money in stupid ideas like this. IMHO, of course.

MagicOneUp
MagicOneUp

this is awesome!!! can't wait for this, i can finally have excuses to really beat up someone in street fighters.

damaster101
damaster101

Jokes i bought an xbox 360 to get away from the motion sensing, this is hardly necessary haha.

sscloud123
sscloud123

If they do this, aren't they risking isolating their staple...well lets be honest.. their ONLY market - hardcore gamers? And there's no guarantee that this'll pay off. I think its a bad move personally, people already have wii's for motion sensing thats what they'll probably stick with. You get a 360 for the 'Hardcore' games including (but not ENTIRELY limited to) its library of robust FPS games, not for motion-letsjumponthebandwagon-sensing which is what this move will almost certainly be labelled should they go ahead with it.

angelGP32
angelGP32

@ Klemna: for the same reason Nintendo does. Name one thing that the Wii and DS have that hasn't been done in one form or another before??

LynQ08
LynQ08

@ MandoWolf Yah as Nintendo pull way ahead leaving Microsoft in the dust

Miroku32
Miroku32

Even if Microsoft releases a motion controller or camera, they wont be able to beat Nintendo and the Wii, Nintendo got all the casual players meanwhile 360 and ps3 has almost all the hardcore gamers

nerd_assassin
nerd_assassin

@mpeg3s You're missing the point, it's a "motion-sensing" camera, which means that the motion sensing doesn't have to involve the controller.

heds777
heds777

This will be an EPIC FAIL. Just another eye-toy and that was ****. Why? Why?

mpeg3s
mpeg3s

I think this will FAIL as an accs. I'm hoping not. The thing MS is missing is that Nintendo has figured how to make a controller with one hand. It makes motion control more convenient and seamless. So they want it to work with their existing two handed controller? There will be less dual interactive games. Here's a Taken sound bite: Good Luck!

jedi-gamer
jedi-gamer

When this motion technology goes ahead, i wonder if all 360 games will be compatible with it or only future titles.

InuHanyou1701
InuHanyou1701

Microsoft... please make something worthwhile. The 360 is a great system but this adds no value to it.

Megavideogamer
Megavideogamer

Hmmm.... I think that MS is late to the motion sensor party. This will Bomb they might have a chance if they pack it it with the Arcade console with a new Fusion Frenzy 3 (with motion Controls). forget it this is destined to Bomb.

Csalbertcs
Csalbertcs

I see no problem in expanding into new fields, but Microsoft better have AAA hardware and software for this or it's going to be a flop, no matter how innovative or good it is.

theintrospect79
theintrospect79

I see it now. The microsoft keynote at e3. Bill Gates to announce the motion sensing device, goes out there and say's "This aint what we do", and unveil something huge. lol