In the run-up to Natal's debut, more and more developers have gotten the chance to see Microsoft's upcoming motion-sensing peripheral in action. Among them is Bethesda' production director Ashley Cheng. Writing on his blog, Cheng said he was "blown away" by the potential of Natal and believes that Microsoft should take a page out of Apple's book and open up the device to non-gaming applications. In his view, Natal "seems wasted on games" but if the company were to provide access to the device's API then hobbyist developers could really take things to a new level.
Cheng's comments follow similar calls for 'openness' from Valve CEO Gabe Newell regarding the PlayStation 3, and Ubisoft calling both Natal and the PlayStation Move "revolutionary".
Indeed, Microsoft has expressed interest in taking its motion-sensing technology beyond console gaming. Without delving too much into details, Bill Gates said about a year ago that Natal will also come to Windows and that its depth-sensing camera won't be limited to gaming use, but for media consumption as a whole. He also said Natal could even find a place in the business world for interacting in meetings, communicate and collaborate.
Initially, however, the focus will more likely be on gaming. Project Natal should finally get a more consumer-friendly name at E3 in Los Angeles next month, where Microsoft is expected to officially launch the device.