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Exclusive hands-on with Project NatalCNET News' Ina Fried got a chance to try out Microsoft's motion-sensing video game technology and talk to some of the folks who are aiming to help Microsoft transform the Xbox 360.
>>[background music] I'm Ina Fried with CNET news. I'm here in Redwood, Washington where I'm getting a very unique opportunity of getting to try out Microsoft's project Natal, which is the video [laughter] game controller. I'm here with Kudo who's one of the creative designers on the project. >>This prototype is just kind of like a 3D breakout where it's like I'm gonna smack the ball down towards the end of the hall, break the bricks. Let's get going and show you how it works. [background noise] You can see any movement that I make with my body is instantly done by my avatron screen. So I move my arms, the avatron moves it's arms. I move my legs, the avatron moves his legs. So there you go. Headed down and you can see I can use my arms. I can kick it with my feet. I can use my head. I can just block it with my body. Any part of your body that's playing is all the stuff that you can use to control the ball with. I'm sure it's super fun to watch me play but you know I think the best thing is, get in and check it out yourself. So if you want to pop in? [background noise] So you can totally stand in one place but you can also move side to side as well. Now if you noticed when you stepped in, right, there's like no calibration step, just as soon as I got out and you popped in it grabbed on to you so you can get in and play right away. You're playing, you're doing a really good job. I've got one more demo to show you. So this demo, we actually didn't build for Natal from the ground up, this one was just a proof of concept early on in the project where we really wanted to show that we are not going to have any problems with lager latency in the controls, right, so we chose a racing game. This is actually Burnout Paradise so it's something that's already been released. In a racing game if you have any delay in the control input, it's gonna go off really fast because you're traveling at high speed, right, so I'll just show you how this one works. You can just put your hand up to grab the steering wheel. Move your foot forward to step on the gas and boom you're off and driving. But you know again we talked about accessibility of control, this is the kind of thing where even a little kid knows how like cars are driven by grabbing the wheel and turning the wheel. And you know this is the kind of thing that if you tried to figure this out with an Xbox 360 controller, how do you drive a car? It's never gonna make sense. This is totally obvious. It's just like driving an actual car. >>Ina: So I'm on the wrong side of the road but I am driving, am moving forward. >>Kudo: What are you talking about? Your driving very well. Do the steering controls feel like when you're turning they're responding to your turns? >>Ina: Yeah so a little hard for me to go straight but again that might be more user error than the interface. [laughter and music] >>Kudo: Do you feel like as, oh there you go, as you've been playing you're getting better at the game as well? >>Ina: Umm as much as I ever do but yeah [laughter] it's definitely very natural and you know I had no training whatsoever. It's very intuitive. Alright well I think you get the idea. For CNET news I'm Ina Fried. [ Music ]