Microsoft's taken steps to appeal to the casual crowd, sure. The first was NXE, which brought us all things like Avatars and Netflix, with subsequent updates adding Facebook, Twitter and Last.fm. These are experiences meant to broaden the appeal of the Xbox 360 to casual gamers, a group that Microsoft spokesperson David Dennis told GI.biz is pretty tricky to hook.
Project Natal will play a big part in Microsoft's continuing goal to interest more casual players, Dennis said. He compared the interactive, controller-less experience to having the broad appeal of a title like Wii Fit -- something Dennis calls "an experience done right" that goes beyond the core yet still manages to "capture the imagination of the core." It's this dual-catering that Dennis thinks Natal excel at, as he predicts the hardware will enable experiences that the core will look forward to, as well as "casual game experiences that are easy to jump in and play."
In the interim, we offer Microsoft this ProTip for appealing to more casual players: Make more games with "Party" in the title. Who doesn't like a party?