Ex-Microsoft Studio Manager Predicts Failure for Natal - UPDATED

Andy Chalk

One Flag, One Fleet, One Cat
Nov 12, 2002
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Ex-Microsoft Studio Manager Predicts Failure for Natal - UPDATED


Former Microsoft studio manager Scot Bayless predicts that Project Natal [http://www.xbox.com/en-ca/live/projectnatal/] is doomed to failure because Microsoft refused to integrate the motion-sensing device into the Xbox 360.

Scot Bayless is an industry veteran with an impressive 32X [http://www.mobygames.com/developer/sheet/view/developerId,7384/] add-on for the Sega Genesis was released. In other words, he probably has a certain amount of insight into how things work (and don't work) in the videogame industry, and he doesn't appear too overly optimistic about the chances of Project Natal.

"When I met with Retro Gamer [http://www.microsoft.com] magazine. "Their response was, 'We're probably going to wait and see on that.' To which I said, 'Then you're going to fail.'"

"Plays like this always fragment and the disincentive to developers is powerful," he added. "When I'm spending tens of millions on a game, the last thing I want to do is lose 90 per cent of my market."

Bayless' pessimism could be deepened if Elite bundle [http://www.escapistmagazine.com/news/view/100957-Natal-Expected-to-Stab-Gamers-in-the-Wallet-at-149] and take my chances with good old-fashioned button-mashing.

Source: NowGamer [http://xbox-360.nowgamer.com/news/3276/ex-microsoft-studio-boss-natal-will-fail]

UPDATE: I received an email from Scot Bayless saying that his comments about Project Natal had been taken out of context in the NowGamer report. The original Retro Gamer article was about the 32X and his point "was about how difficult it is to succeed with console peripherals, not about the intrinsic merits of Natal."

Bayless also clarified that despite the tone of the quote, he's not by any means a disgruntled former employee. He left Microsoft in 2002, six years before the Natal meeting, under good circumstances.

"My comment was actually offered as constructive feedback. I was very impressed by the potential of Natal, but my experience at Sega taught me that splintering your target market with peripherals is an extremely risky proposition at best," he said. "Most console peripherals don't succeed. A path to either bundling or integration for Natal technology, however, could be transformative."


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Brotherofwill

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Jan 25, 2009
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Maybe he's just a little paranoid because X upgrades fucked up the Genesis so bad...but yeah, I get what he means. If I had a 360, I'd rent the thing for a week, and buy as last resort. If it was in my console then you couldn't help but have it and maybe even buy a game from time to time.

Why did he leave MS?
 

Simalacrum

Resident Juggler
Apr 17, 2008
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The man has a good point, actually... peripherals in the video game industry have a long history of failing, unless their integrated into the console... in the same way, I guess the Playstation Move could easily fail, too.

That said, times have changed - Guitar Hero was a smashing success (was), and Wii Fit has shown that add-on peripherals can work, too.

I guess it just comes down to how the casual audience react... and also how much support third party developers will give the peripherals in the long term.
 

DividedUnity

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Oct 19, 2009
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A shame. I liked the idea of Natal but then I realised I'd never be able to play games for anything longer than an hour or two at a time without getting serious exercise. Don't get me wrong exercise is good but its not why I play games, it's why I go to the gym.

Anyway he's probably right if the price is as they say. I doubt people are willing to pay that much for a peripheral if you can buy a wii for that price. Granted the Wii isnt great but it has it's moment.
 

Altorin

Jack of No Trades
May 16, 2008
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Yeah.. Natal HAS to saturate itself into the majority of 360 homes if it wants any chance for success. I'm not sure if that call for damnation is better or worse being from an ex-microsoft employee who may be bitter, and also was heading the 32X debacle, but it doesn't take an analyst to see that the Natal needs to be in almost every 360 household for it to have any chance of success.
 

Legion

Were it so easy
Oct 2, 2008
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To be honest the reason I believe it will fail is because it is aimed at the wrong audience. Those interested in motion sensor technology already have a console that uses it available, and the fact that billions own a PS3, 360 or a PC capable of gaming even though it doesn't shows people don't feel the need for it.
 

Jared

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Jul 14, 2009
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He coils be right. Also the price is a little daunting...
 

OmegaXzors

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Apr 4, 2010
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Did it dawn on anyone that "Project Natal" was offered to Nintendo when developing the Nintendo Wii? Do I have to continue to add that Nintendo rejected it?

Microsoft basically became the new KIA.
 

Galaxy613

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Apr 6, 2008
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Wii, $200.
Xbox360 + Natal, possibly $300.
Xbox360 Elite + 2 Normal Games, $300 (At least at TRU)

And plus, I already have a Wii, why would I want to spend $150, only $50 less than a full Wii, on a peripheral like that? Will Natal somehow unlock a marketplace of old classics like owning a Wii does?

I just don't really see the point of Natal is all.
 

Dorkmaster Flek

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Mar 13, 2008
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The Guitar Hero example is the exception to the rule. In that case, you had a killer app that required said peripheral, and actually came bundled with it. It was both convenient because you got the peripheral with the game, and actually worth the price premium because it delivered a unique experience that you couldn't get elsewhere. If they come up with a similar killer app for Natal, then it will sell.
 

unacomn

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Mar 3, 2008
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Hey, it's Abby.
She was honestly the only fun thing about Natal.

Molyneux was just plain creepy.
 

Andy Chalk

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Nov 12, 2002
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whoa, wait, microsoft is overpricing everything, while trying to milk as much money from ignorant consumers that don't ACTUALLY understand the value of what they're buying? NOOOOOO, that NEVER happens...

Seriously, fans of microsoft are fans of idiocy.
 

Pendragon9

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Apr 26, 2009
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The Natal might fail if priced too high.

Even Nintendo has had it's share of bad addons which were too bulky and too pricy.
 

Digikid

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Dec 29, 2007
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Heh. The guys is just sore at MS because he lost his job.

Natal is better than Sonys POS attempt which looks more like a sex toy than anything else.

LOL!!!!!!!!!!!
 

Delusibeta

Reachin' out...
Mar 7, 2010
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rembrandtqeinstein said:
I predict fail but then again I predicted Ipad fail...so what do I know.
Never underestimate the obedience of the Apple fanbois. They make the Call of Duty fanbois look like dissidents.
 

tighem

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Oct 9, 2008
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It'll need a price drop and killer game. Just like everything else. Until then...novelty item.
 

craddoke

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Mar 18, 2010
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Ahh... Curse of the Azure Bonds. I can still recall fighting those damned shambling mounds and otyughs - those SSI gold box games were awesome.

Regarding Project Natal, who really cares?
 

Bassman_2

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Feb 9, 2009
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Make up your mind! Bayless or Bayliss!?
Also, I neer hoped for Natal, as I would neer get an Xbox.