Natal possibly coming in October; 1/10 of a second lag

According to a tweet from UK television presenter Jonathan Ross, Natal may hit store shelves in October. Ross, who was given some hands-on time with the Xbox add-on, doesn't seem too impressed with Natal thus far, but seems pretty optimistic about the possibilities. Later tweets reveal a video of him trying to play the ball whacking game (see below).

It has been previously mentioned that Natal would ship in November. Perhaps Ross was just saying that all changes to Natal have to be made by October in order for Microsoft to hit the targeted November release. Either that, or he knows something that we don't. Let's hope for the latter.

Wossy Natal Tweet

With regards to the actual performance of the motion tracking technology, MTV's Russ Frushtick has recently posted an article about his experiences with it. Sitting through five demos with about 40 different movements, he was able to figure out the average lag exhibited by Natal. The fastest delay was .08 seconds; the slowest was .12 seconds. The consistent average is said to be a tenth of a second. Keep in mind, this was done with a stopwatch, so it's unclear how accurate Frushtick's calculations are.

He notes that the delay is not such a big deal, though users are sure to notice it a tad. He says that the lag could continue to diminish as better firmware is created for the device. In conclusion, he still feels that Natal will be a game changer, similar to the way Nintendo's Wii shook up console gaming. Below is the video of Jonathan Ross swinging away.

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I didn't read all the comments, so don't know if anyone posted this already, but.....
Did anyone see Smallville a couple of weeks ago, Chloe and Warrior Angel were playing Natal. MS have a bit of a love in with Smallville atm!

Does anyone know what the latency of the Wiimote is? I'm talking about how fast the wiimote can recognize that you've changed where it's pointing on the screen. If it's worse than the Wiimote then I'm currently not too interested in it.

I play games when I'm tired of a day of physical activity (work, etc.) having to stand up and jump around when I've been on my feet for 8 hours isn't appealing. I want to see what kinds of games they actually push with this technology.

I wouldn't be surprised if there will be an accessory similar to a watch with accelerometer that can find the average movement between the .1 lag a real-time readings. Defeats the original design but user experience should be as realistic as possible and number one priority.

I've said it before, I'll say it again. Natal is only going to be used for crummy, gimmicky games. There's some potential for the tech, but 1) this isn't fast enough and 2) companies are mentally handicapped.

None of the Natal vids I've seen have even remotely impressed me.

Is this an old vid? Because it looks noticeably laggy. Going by the number of frames between the action and what's displayed on screen the latency in that vid is about 250ms. It's kind of bad if you think about it, I can game on a server thousands of miles away with a lower latency than something a few feet away.

Personally, I hope Natal is used in some games in addition to a controller for functions like head tracking to shift where you're looking in game or other similar uses.

I'm sorry, but how did you get to "doesn't seem too impressed with Natal thus far" from "impressive"? Get a grip please Neowin.

TCLN Ryster said,
I'm sorry, but how did you get to "doesn't seem too impressed with Natal thus far" from "impressive"? Get a grip please Neowin.

Yes i was wondering that.

If the sky is the limit, they sure are missing out on a lot. :P

Still not convinced that it's any better then what Nintendo's doing. I don't like Natal, I much prefer the controller.

Shadrack said,
Does anyone know what the standard delay of a wireless controller is?

I've read 4 ms before. The problem is, it dips. There were moments where I've felt a lag before. But that was with precision movements. I just don't see Natal using that kind of precision in games or the dashboard. I know people will use it with shooters, but no way I'd every use it for that.

The fastest delay was .08 seconds; the slowest was .12 seconds. The consistent average is said to be a tenth of a second. Keep in mind, this was done with a stopwatch, so it's unclear how accurate Frushtick's calculations are.

Why not use a high speed camera and do some real calculations by analyzing the video? I have a stop watch right here and when I try to click the button as fast as possible, I get 0.15 seconds. Not a very good measurement at all. If that is what he is stating he used to come up with those numbers, I would argue they are probably less than what is reported.

That being said, 120ms is not very good in terms of input lag IMHO. They should be targetting 20ms, with 50ms peeks. Although most people won't be able to tell the difference between 100ms and 50ms, all these latencies add up. Playing anything online with a GOOD ping of 80ms, that added to the 120ms of input lag is a 200ms from input to server lag (at best). Thats seeping into 56k modem gameplay latencies.

Intersting article here about the lag factor in games.

http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/digitalfoundry-lag-factor-article

* The lowest latencies a video game can have is 50ms (three frames) - the PS3 XMB runs at this rate, but few games reach it.
* Most 60FPS games have a 66.67ms latency - Ridge Racer 7, for example.
* 30FPS games have a minimum potential lag of 100ms, but many exceed this.
* Game developers should test their own games using the camera technique in order to weed out bugs - West says that Heavenly Sword's response slows down to 300ms just by turning the character, and reckons it's a technical issue that should have been resolved before going gold with the game.
* Citing GTAIV as an example, West suggests that a 166ms response is where gamers notice controller lag, which could also explain the Killzone 2 furore too.
* Game reviewers should accurately measure latency for their reviews where controller lag is an issue, in the hope that sloppy game response times come under far more scrutiny.

bolix said,
Too much delay for high speed moves, don't like it. I want 1:1.

Would you like a million dollars and a portable 3D LED HDTV to go with it?

logiosasuna said,

1:1 is impossible. Even telephones have lag.

Well that's true, what I'm trying to say is to make it more responsive. A dancing game can won't mind the lag, but for example a driving game where you have to turn the wheel fast to the opposite side might have some problems.

Chrono951 said,
Why is the new trend in gaming to make you look like an idiot while playing?
And sitting there, staring blankly at the TV with a slack jaw and furiously-moving thumbs makes one look intelligent? :P

Chrono951 said,
Why is the new trend in gaming to make you look like an idiot while playing?

Since when did anyone give a damn what they looked like while they were playing games? Sheesh. Go find somewhere else to troll.

markjensen said,
And sitting there, staring blankly at the TV with a slack jaw and furiously-moving thumbs makes one look intelligent? :P

Haha, love this comment. :P

I think Natal has great potential.

jshimmy3 said,

Haha, love this comment. :P

I think Natal has great potential.

Agreed, I am mostly looking forward to what the PC can get out of this, Media Center with project natal would be the ultimate geeky tool :D

Maybe I just want to come home from a long day and relax in my comfy chair and enjoy a nice game. I don't want to be jumping around and waving my arms all about. I just want a controller, I don't need Natal or Wii or Playstation Arc (or whatever it will be called).

As for trolling, I never thought I'd be accused of trolling against Microsoft. Its my job to promote them, I just don't like Natal or any motion based stuff.

Chrono951 said,
Maybe I just want to come home from a long day and relax in my comfy chair and enjoy a nice game. I don't want to be jumping around and waving my arms all about. I just want a controller, I don't need Natal or Wii or Playstation Arc (or whatever it will be called).

As for trolling, I never thought I'd be accused of trolling against Microsoft. Its my job to promote them, I just don't like Natal or any motion based stuff.

Then play games that have a controller. It's about having more options, not forcing all games to need it (e.g. not RTS, not FPS).

Edited by Kirkburn, Feb 23 2010, 10:35pm :

ahhell said,

No. That's a horrible idea.

+1. Lets let sony make the mistake of making an FPS motion. I would rather play Reach in all its glory on a controller then motion.

1/10th of a sec delay is pretty damn good when you concider what it's doing, this isn't just following one single point or 2, it's full body, what did MS say back at E3? 32 points? Or maybe it was more?

Anyways, maybe they can speed it up or not, if not the games made specifically for it will be done so in a way that they take that into account I'm sure.

Hard to be that impressed when all they show you is the same demo from last years E3. Here's hoping they have some more good stuff at the next one to show people.

GP007 said,
1/10th of a sec delay is pretty damn good when you concider what it's doing, this isn't just following one single point or 2, it's full body, what did MS say back at E3? 32 points? Or maybe it was more?

Anyways, maybe they can speed it up or not, if not the games made specifically for it will be done so in a way that they take that into account I'm sure.

Hard to be that impressed when all they show you is the same demo from last years E3. Here's hoping they have some more good stuff at the next one to show people.

While yes, true, its technologically good, a 0.1 second delay would be very noticable. Its impressive, but inadequate for what its supposed to do IMO so far.

Heres hoping for improvements or compensation :)

MioTheGreat said,
This kind of device really needs an ASIC to do most of its work, and kick that lag down....

Does it not already have one? I'm not really up to speed on Natal, but logic would dictate that there would be one in the hardware :-S

Majesticmerc said,

While yes, true, its technologically good, a 0.1 second delay would be very noticable. Its impressive, but inadequate for what its supposed to do IMO so far.

Heres hoping for improvements or compensation :)

It would not be that much noticable.

While playing online 0.1 delay is actually good and almost not noticable. Latency start to be really noticable at 0.3 anyway for me.

But if the input latency is already 0.1 it will make online play almost not possible specially since latency over xbox live is already really bad.

LaP said,

It would not be that much noticable.

While playing online 0.1 delay is actually good and almost not noticable. Latency start to be really noticable at 0.3 anyway for me.

But if the input latency is already 0.1 it will make online play almost not possible specially since latency over xbox live is already really bad.

With online play though, lag is generally compensated for. If you fire a bullet in an online FPS, it will perform calculations to compensate for the lag, and detect whether someone/thing was actually hit.

Input lag is much more noticeable (even at very low latencies), just ask early adopters of wireless mice :)

Majesticmerc said,

Does it not already have one? I'm not really up to speed on Natal, but logic would dictate that there would be one in the hardware :-S

With the way they described its performance hit on the 360 (It will use a very non-negligible portion of the 360's CPU), I'm not sure they really have it down yet.

I mean, what I would think the 'best' solution would be would be an ASIC that literally takes a raw video stream and spits out nothing more than the limb tracking data. I suspect they're doing a LOT of work in software, or the hit wouldn't be as bad as it is. There's no doubt some kind of image processing being done on the 360. Of course, this kind of chip would take years to develop and have limited patch-ability.

Edited by Mordkanin, Feb 24 2010, 12:09am :