With the news that Project Natal would offload the image processing to the Xbox console – as opposed to handling those duties in hardware on the device itself – and consume as much as 10 to 15 percent of the console's overall "computing resources," we became concerned that the potential for "supplemental" input in core games would be blunted. When asked what percentage of the Project Natal-enabled games in development would be Natal-exclusive as opposed to Natal-enhanced titles, Microsoft's Aaron Greenberg told Joystiq, "Our focus is on most if not all them will fall into that category of completely unique, brand-new experiences for Natal."
"We're going to manage the portfolio very carefully and our focus is going to be on bringing completely brand new original experiences to the market when we launch Natal," Greenberg said. "We're not looking at just adding little Natal components to games, we're looking at how do we actually bring an entirely new category of controller-free games and entertainment to the market so I think that's where we will continue to focus."
But that doesn't mean that other developers aren't able to supplement their game's input with Natal controls. After the release this holiday, "developers will have that out there at their fingertips if they want to enable those features," Greenberg told us. "But I can't speak to what that means from a game development standpoint. As far as I'm aware, there's no real sacrifice." But Greenberg wasn't just talking up "new games" and "new ways to navigate" the console, but Microsoft is mysteriously promising "new entertainment-like experiences that will be enabled" because of the new interface.
With the "focus" on "controller-free games" and not just adding "little Natal components to games" we're left wondering how Peter Molyneux's Fable 3 – which he confirmed will have Natal support – will implement that support. With a 2010 launch for both Fable 3 and Project Natal, we expect it will be one of the device's bellwether games.