Speaking of Natal, it should be out next year

On its earnings conference call, THQ confirmed what many expect--that Microsoft's gesture recognition technology should be on the market in late 2010.

Ina Fried Former Staff writer, CNET News
During her years at CNET News, Ina Fried changed beats several times, changed genders once, and covered both of the Pirates of Silicon Valley.
Ina Fried

After taking Natal for a test drive, CNET News' Ina Fried wants to know when the rubber will meet the road. One game maker suggests the answer is late next year. CNET News

Now that I have gotten a chance to try out Project Natal, Microsoft's gesture recognition technology, I have the same question as everyone else. When is it going to be on the market?

While Microsoft isn't saying, one game maker has spilled the beans. In its recent earnings conference call, game maker THQ said to expect it late next year.

"We have for example, Natal from Microsoft, a platform addition coming late next year," THQ chief Brian Farrell said on last week's conference call.

In an interview with me, also from last week, entertainment unit President Robbie Bach declined to offer any more details on Natal timing.

"I'm not planning on being any more specific today," he said.


Talking Natal
CNET News' Ina Fried talks with Erica Ogg about trying Project Natal for herself.

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In addition to the comments from THQ, Electronic Arts also indicated on its earnings call that it plans to support Natal.

Microsoft has also said it has plans for Natal that stretch well beyond just gaming or the Xbox. Chairman Bill Gates told CNET that it is a technology he sees moving onto Windows, while Chief Research and Strategy Officer Craig Mundie has shown some of the same gesture, voice, and facial recognition technologies as being key parts of the office of the future.