Last night in London Microsoft brought a handful of European journalists and local celebrities up to speed on its upcoming motion-tracking camera for the Xbox 360, codenamed Project Natal. It was essentially the same Dodgeball demonstration presented at E3 in Los Angeles last year, but this time one of the attendees might have just let slip the official launch date for the device.
According to UK television presenter and avid gamer Jonathan Ross -- who last year also accidentally revealed that Lionhead had started working on Fable 3 -- Microsoft's Project Natal is coming in October. Ross mentioned the date while sharing his impressions via his Twitter account, saying the device is "not quite there yet" but they have "until October and if they get it right… sky's the limit."
This may mean an October release or it may imply they can work on it through October in time for an early November release, which is consistent with earlier rumors and Microsoft's plans to get the tech out in time for the holidays. Speculation is that Project Natal will cost up to $99 and it will work with all existing Xbox 360 consoles out there. Microsoft hasn't officially commented on a price or exact release date, though.
On a separate report Silicon Republic said that Natal's motion detection "isn't perfect, but it's very close -- probably as close as it needs to be at this stage," adding that the device reduces the Wii to a mere gimmick. Russ Frushtick of MTV Multiplayer used the occasion to time Project Natal's responsiveness with a stopwatch, pinning the lag between movement and action on the screen to around a tenth of a second.