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Nyko: Project Natal not a threat, but a 'challenge'

Tracey John

When Microsoft unveiled its controller-free camera technology dubbed Project Natal during E3 last week, you'd think that gaming peripheral makers might start asking President Obama for a bailout.

But not so. At least not for Nyko. The manufacturer of third-party accessories, whose core business is unlicensed Wii products, doesn't see physical controllers going away anytime soon. In fact, Chris Arbogast, Nyko's director of marketing, has a hard time seeing casual gamers letting go of the Wii remote.

"People in the casual market like feeling something physical to keep your hands aligned," he said. "When you grab the Wiimote and swing it, it feels like you're swinging a baseball bat, versus pantomining swinging a bat. I think that if you take all [the controllers] away and you're just pantomiming everything, there may be some disconnect with realism there."

Obviously, working for Nyko, Arbogast has to stay positive. However, if Project Natal does take off, we wondered if the company has a Plan B. Arbogast said it might force Nyko to "think outside the box." "We'll have to think of other ways we can accessorize and augment the players' experience," he said. "Not with a controller anymore, but with other things to add to that camera functionality. It could be a whole new avenue of business that opens up for us because we'll be forced to challenge ourselves."

Luckily for Nyko, Project Natal is probably a long ways off, with analysts saying it won't trump the Wii just yet. Until then, you can enjoy another innovation in camera technology: the Nyko DSi Zoom Case.

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