Project Natal: Removing The Barrier?
-Microsoft Game Studios Phil Spencer
That was a quote from a kataku.com article I read earlier today. While I think the controller may be a barrier for some, I think those people aren't going to play games anyway. Lets face it, Natal, Wii, and maybe the Sony wand are in development for the casual gamer, or those who haven't played at all. It seems as if Microsoft, Nintendo, and Sony believe this will bring in a new group of 50-60 somethings who would have gamed, only the darn controller didn't let them. Mark my words, there will be just as much a learning curve with Natal as there is with a standard controller.
When I showed the Wii to my mom, she did not just pick the thing up and go to town. I walked her through bowling, Mario Galaxy, even Red Steel when that POS came out. Regardless of motion control there is still a barrier because it isn't as natural as actually bowling, or actually waving a sword would be.
Now throw Natal into the mix; no controller at all! Personally that doesn't make sense. You now have no input command except your actions, which IGN, and others have pointed out may be a little off compared to what you see happening on screen. You have to ask how will one shoot in Mass Effect 3, Gears 3, Halo whatever. Fact is Microsoft and any other game studio will have to keep that controller in the mix. Why would they abandon their core gamers that the controller isn't a barrier for, and replace them with casuals or those who play once in a blue moon.
I guess what I'm saying is, why alienate the core and confuse the casual. The core will have to relearn to play without a controller, and the casual will have to figure out that when they move this or that way...this or that does or doesn't happen. I just hope that Natal adds more function and doesn't remove any that has worked so well for 25 plus years.