MS Natal Will Extend 360's Lifespan, Says Microsoft

Dennis Faas's picture

In case you were thinking that buying Microsoft's Natal for the Xbox 360 was a bad decision because most gaming consoles only last 4-5 years -- think again. Microsoft has forecasted another few years of life for the game console, which made its debut back in November 2005.

Microsoft Natal Showcased at CES

One of the most popular devices at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) last week was Microsoft's Natal, a device that plugs into its Xbox 360 video game console.

Natal mimics the motion-sensitive gameplay of the Nintendo Wii, which has since its 2006 launch dominated the console market by appealing to the casual gamer/consumer. Users of Natal use their entire body to play games, and Microsoft promises it will be a big hit when the add-on arrives this Christmas.

Natal's Success Dependent on Lifespan of Xbox 360

Of course, the big question at CES was whether or not buying Natal was a good idea, considering that the Xbox 360 is now over four years old, roughly the same age as the original Xbox when it was phased out by, you guessed it, the Xbox 360.

Microsoft's senior director of Xbox product management David Hufford says consumers needn't worry: the Xbox 360 isn't going anywhere anytime soon.

"I think it's important to say that the Xbox 360 is the console of the long future for us," Hufford told his CES audience. "There is no need to launch a new console because we're able to give this console new life either with software upgrades or hardware upgrades like Project Natal. The Xbox 360 was designed for a long life, and I don't even know if we're at the midpoint yet." (Source:

Sony: Only PS3 Will Last 10 Years

Most definitely much of this talk is inspired by the release of Microsoft Natal -- without the Xbox 360, or widespread belief that the 360 will last, Natal is dead on arrival. However, also guiding Microsoft's re-affirmation of its love for the 360 is talk by competitor Sony, which has in recent months said it believes only the PlayStation 3 has the hardware to last a decade or more.

That's big talk for a console trailing both the Xbox 360 and Nintendo Wii in sales, particularly when the PS3's graphics often struggle to match the technically inferior Xbox 360. However, unlike its competitors, the PlayStation 3 does have a Blu-ray player under-the-hood, and as sales of Blu-ray flicks and players slowly creep up, that is steadily becoming a relevant bragging right.

Microsoft Says 70-80% of Game Developers to Work on Natal

As for Microsoft, it appears to believe Natal will help push its console that much further than the competitors. According to the company, developers are on board for the new project, too, with a reported 70 to 80 per cent stating that they'll produce games for Natal. (Source:

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