New, affordable Xbox motion controller slated for November 2010 release

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The Independent Tech

Microsoft's new motion-tracking video game technology, known as Project Natal, is set for release in November 2010 and will cost less than expected, even dipping below £50 ($83 / €55), according to British industry website MCVUK. The camera peripheral combines infra-red with video technology to accurately track 3D movement, with the potential to do away entirely with hand-held controllers.

The enthusiastic uptake of Nintendo's Wii motion controls since 2006 has prompted both Sony and Microsoft to implement a similar technology for their own consoles.

Both companies used June's Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) in California to announce the development of motion controllers for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 respectively.

Microsoft demonstrated Project Natal at the summer conference with a brick-breaking, ball-busting activity game, a virtual painting application, an endorsement by Hollywood film director Stephen Spielberg, and a preview of industry veteran Peter Molyneux's new virtual friend game, Sam & Milo. Project leader Kudo Tsunoda's enthusiastic demonstration led to the internet meme "Bam! There it is."

Sony, meanwhile, showed off their PlayStation Motion Controller with a behind-the-scenes, work-in-progress demonstration, illustrating potential in-game usage. The PlayStation Eye camera already incorporates motion tracking - 2007's enhanced board game The Eye Of Judgement and 2009's virtual pet game EyePet are good examples - and the Motion Controllers, which offer extended functionality and accuracy, have been chalked up for a spring 2010 release.

Nintendo, meanwhile, recently introduced a precision-enhancing upgrade to their controllers called the Wii MotionPlus.

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