Thursday, June 18, 2009

Natal? That's so PS2 and early PS3 Stuff Called Eyedentify

Until the two new technologies from Microsoft and Sony aren't deployed on the market, we will definitely won't know (with facts) who will come out on top, and who will have the better specs. Of course we could wait for them to come out, or in this case for our personal enjoyment, we could jump back in time when this technology was actually thought of. Yeah, you read correctly, the technology used rather awkwardly on our creepy friend Milo, actually existed in games for quite sometime. Let me jump to the PS2 era for a bit.

Back in the PS2 days, there was a peripheral called the Eye Toy. The Eye Toy was said to create innovative ways of playing video games. This was clearly not something gamers were so hot about, thus the Eye Toy never quite took off as the big thing it could of been. Because of that fact, Sony did not exploited the Eye Toy's potential further. Here we can start to presume where the Wii got its motion ideas from. Maybe?

In early posts you have clearly seen that Sony's "new" motion technology dates back to the Eye Toy's date, yet greatly perfected. You can clearly see a demo of it in this video that came on the Game/DVD disk on any copy of the Official PlayStation Magazine (OPM) when it used to be published.

Clearly, the technology existed way before Natal, PSEye, and the Wiimote. Interesting?! We think so, but this is not the end of things.

Now, we know Natal's supposed advantage over the PSEye or the Eye Toy is the fact that it can read depth. Okay, thats pretty cool, though not much of a technology advance. So since we can't really tackle that part, we move forward to Natal's supposed voice recognition abilities. I believe it was stated before that Natal did not recognize voice by itself, but rather the game or the software, or the Xbox 360 OS would recognize the voice. (With the help of an update of course). Well thats funny, the PS Eye is able to get voice feedback from the players, and is able to recognize voices when games utilize its ability. Interestingly enough though, many games use voice to control action. Zulu commands on some Rainbow 6 games, and the latest game using this being End War clearly showcase this fact, but to actually interact with a creepy kid with voice? Now thats amazing... Actually, if the PSEye had not created this before, it might have been great, but unfortunately, PSEye along with the PS3 were pushed out with a very interesting game that seems to mimic what Milo tries to do. The main differences being: less creepy, and back a few years ago. Here is the video of what I mean, and the game is called Eyedentify.

Well thats interesting, isn't it? The game recognizes when the player comes to screen, and uses detailed voice controls and recognition. I wonder if this is where Milo, Natal and all those odd names were derived from?

Of course, Sony has not exploited all the PS Eye capabilities. Just imagine if the PS3 next firmware update enables voice recognition across all XMB (in and out of the game.) Cool, I wont have to do much to change a song when I'm playing Killzone 2.

There are quite some interesting twist that Natal does, but at its core it really seems like a little better PS Eye with a huge software support. Again, we'll see when this wave of controls come out. If I may state my opinion though, the striking similarities of Eyedentify and Milo are very interesting. To me it seems like Microsoft's motto is hard at work: Microsoft - "We Copy & Paste."


  1. both vision systems and voce recognition has exsisted long before sony even exsisted. these are old researcha areas that neither ms, sony or nintento "invented".

    whats diffrent with natal and sonys motion controller is the implementation and accuracy, not the idea it self. thats something that neither compay denies. ms have multiple times said that the natal hardware isnt the big innovation, its the software. doing what they do at that speed and accuracy, thats where the news comes in.

    also, reading depth aint exacly easy.. they measure the time it takes for light to bonce back on the scene, thats in the order of picoseconds, somethng you need pretty bad ass sensors to do, try reading up on TOF cameras on wikipedia

  2. Don't fool yourselves. No one will buy into Natal. Sure some families might try it, but with the type of gamer on a paid for online subscription service that are foul mouthed forget any family setting for online play. Secondly, the Natal interface is basically useless for the 90% of gamers who game from their bedrooms. Lets not forget how we all started gaming. Sitting 2 feet from the tv which leaves little room for motion gestures. Natal was done almost a decade ago. Some little company pursued it then M$ took notice and ate them up. M$ couldn't innovate out of a wet paper bag.

  3. Yeah some of this tech is going to look great on paper; but when it comes down to it most of the people wont pay for it. This is the kind of tech that needs to be supported out of the box for any dev to really want to exploit it.

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