After years of speculation, Microsoft finally revealed their new controller at E3 2009 in early June. Xbox 360 gamers don’t need to hold any controllers with the new camera accessory as it can read your body functions in additions to several other nifty features. Many predict that the so-called “Project Natal” will make a dent on the Nintendo Wii, which is the fastest selling video game system ever. So can the Xbox 360 outsell the Nintendo Wii with the release on Project Natal? Let’s take a look at several factors.
The Nintendo Wii managed to sell at a record-breaking pace thanks to its mainstream appeal. Nintendo also made sure that their system got as much press as possible by parading it to several popular television shows. Microsoft is already doing the same with Project Natal. Even though it has no official name or release date, the new motion controller for the Xbox 360 has already appeared on Good Morning America and Late Night with Jimmy Fallon. Therefore, you can expect to have about the same mainstream appeal as the Nintendo Wii.
Project Natal may end up being too little, too late for Microsoft. The accessory will be released in the spring of 2010 at the earliest. By then, the Xbox 360 would be in its fifth year of its lifecycle, which usually mean it is nearing the end of its peak in popularity. The fact is that Microsoft would have done exponentially better if it had launched with the Xbox 360 years ago.
The Next Logical Evolution
Then again, Project Natal represents the next logical jump from the motion waggle of the Nintendo Wii. As stated before, the new motion controller for the Xbox 360 can read the movements of your entire body. Not to mention that it can also scan and recognize you face and voice. Microsoft should be able to draw in a few consumers who are looking the next step up for motion controls.
For Project Natal to be successful, Microsoft needs to price it low. The Xbox 360 current retails for $199.99, which is also the cheapest entry point into the market for next-generation video game systems. Project Natal should be no more than $99.99 in order to sell to current Xbox 360 users in addition to new ones.
Even if everything went perfectly with Project Natal, the Xbox 360 may never catch the Nintendo Wii. This is because the gap is way too wide with the Wii having a 20 million units lead worldwide. With or without Project Natal, Microsoft won’t catch Nintendo this generation.