According to a report at European site Computer and Videogames, Nintendo president Satoru Iwata was privy to the technology behind Microsoft’s Natal in 2007 — well before his company’s competitor announced their own version of the device — and turned down adopting it as part of the Wii hardware due to perceived cost issues.
“[Developer] 3DV showed off a camera that detected motion in 3D, and had voice recognition — but Iwata-san was unconvinced he could sell it at a Nintendo price point. He also had some worries around latency during gameplay,” an inside source at Nintendo told the site.
CVG’s report would lend credence to recent rumours that Microsoft were forced to remove a processing chip from Natal and opt for a cheaper, allegedly less effective software solution to process the visual data received by the device in order to maintain a consumer-friendly price point.
“What we witnessed at E3 was smaller and the facial [reading] stuff had improved, but it’s the same technology,” CVG’s source confirmed. “We remain unconvinced Natal will deliver on the more sophisticated elements of what Microsoft is promising at the price they’re aiming for.”
Shortly after Natal’s reveal at E3 2009, Nintendo managing director Shigeru Miyamoto said to Game|Life in an interview: “I’m sure you’re aware, but obviously this type of motion-sensing camera technology has been around for quite a while. Over the years we’ve looked at a variety of different technologies and seen what could be done with that, and ultimately made the decision not to take advantage of what they can do.”
Natal is scheduled for launch in the Fall of 2010.