Project Natal vs PS3 Motion Controller

Posted by Canuck 102 on January 20, 2010

Project Natal vs PS3 Motion Controller

With both the PS3 Motion Controller (rumoured to be called “Arc”) and the Xbox 360 Project Natal having probable release dates for Holiday 2010, it is only natural to ask which one will be better. Since that neither of these technologies are out on the market, it is only fair to ask “Which one will have more potential?”

The short answer to the question is Project Natal by a landslide. Before anybody rips my head off, let me explain.

From what we know and a little bit of speculation, the PS3 motion controller works by having the Eye Toy “sense“ the tip of the wand that has a light attached to it. The controller will most likely contain at least one accelerometer to determine what angle the controller is on and help with keeping track of the motion. This allows for all 3-axis to be measured in a 1:1 motion and at what angle the remote is pointed on the screen. In comparison, the Wii remote uses infrared (IR) sensing technology as well as three accelerometers (one for each axis). These two technologies work together and apparently provides a 1:1 motion control. One advantage that the PS3 Motion Controller will have over the Wii is the ability to track the z-axis (distance from television to remote) accurately because the PS3 relies on both the accelerometers as well as the camera. To track motion in the z-axis, the Wii relies solely on the lone accelerometer.  Another advantage that the PS3 Motion Controller will have over the Wii is far better graphics (and hopefully more hardcore games). Since the PS3 has the same capabilities as the Wii and more, it is safe to say that the PS3 Motion Controller can do whatever the Wii remote can do and more.

On the other hand, we have Project Natal having the ability to track the entire body as well as voice. I am not going to waste any time on explaining why the voice feature may be used; it is a fairly common technology with obvious applications. What intrigues me was how the motion capture worked and what it could be used for. Project Natal is works via a special type of camera called a “time-of-flight camera.” It essentially shoots out signals, have them bounce back, and then reads them. Then with sophisticated algorithms, develops an image of whatever is in front of it.

This means that you could possibly hold any stick (like a wood stick, plastic gun, baseball bat, the PS3 wand, Wii remote etc.) and it could possibly be able to detect it, in 1:1 motion and at what angle you are at. Basically, Natal could be able to do anything the PS3 or Wii can do and so much more. Granted, with the recent leak that Natal could use up a portion of a processor on the Xbox, it seems like the PS3 will have better graphics.

Once again, I must stress that both of these technologies are not on the market and how they are going to work is not yet fully known, so this article is purely written about the potential of these add-ons .

Think I missed anything on either Natal or the Motion Controller? Have any more potential ideas for this technology? Leave it on the boards or in the comments.

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43 Responses to “Project Natal vs PS3 Motion Controller”

  1. […] the whole story here: Canuck 102 aggregated by […]

  2.  TheL1T1G4T0R says:

    Nice article my friend.

    A few things though…

    1) Sony could easily integrate voice commands into the games themselves. Will they do it is an entirely different question.

    2) Did you know that Microsoft’s “Project Natal” has a hard time accurately picking up the motions of dark skinned people?

    To add to that complication, that means you have to play in a room with the lights on or perhaps the motion will not be accurately received.

    This brings us back to the Wii which is out of the market. Sure it uses infared tracking but it can be played in the dark with just your television set. Despite your limb count or skin color, the Wii is accurate.

    Now you’ve just admitted that the ARC is supposed to be better especially since it uses a similar type of 1:1 motion control with accelerometers. That means it’s not only accurate, but able to pick up things in the dark no matter if you’re missing a hand or have dark skin.

    Potential is not really a fair question at all especially considering Natal wins a landslide.

    Perhaps a fair question would be:

    Which one will work better?
    As we’ve seen with Microsoft’s Red Ring fiasco, they put a lot of stack in quantity and not necessarily quality.

    Perhaps Natal will be different but if both were out right now, I’d be able to play with the ARC without any detection problems. The same can’t be said of Project Natal.

  3.  BigSmooth8 says:

    I’m personally more excited about Natal but I have to admit that the games will make a difference in the peripherals. It will all depend what company has the better game and how they use it. I like how Microsoft just took the idea of the eyetoy added a few bells and whistles and ran with it. And don’t get me started on Sony’s wannabe Wii controller.

    In the end the games will show us the way.

  4.  DA_SHREDDER says:

    Cmon Smooth buddy. We all know the only reason why you like Natal more is because your an xbot. LOL! Honestly, to me the best motion controls this generation will always be the Wii’s. It comes standard with the system and it actually has a dongle that lets you move around in a game like you would a regular controller. I just dont see how you can do that with Natal or the Dualshock3 in one hand and the arc in the other. Its weird. Try holding DS3 in one hand if you dont believe me.

  5.  Murphys Law says:

    @DA_Shredder, I must agree with you. The inclusion of the Wii motion controller at the time you buy the system is why it works so well. Its not that its so fantastic, but rather the entire system is built around it and not as just an add on. It is the core to the Wii game play and it will divide the PS3 and 360 game play as most wont have it.

  6.  Daniel Lawson says:

    Project Natal doesn’t have problems detecting dark skined people… that people still say this is rather amazing when there is video proof that this is not so

  7.  Mikey says:

    ^^It also does not have a problem in darkness because Natal shoots it’s own light source in the form of IR bursts.

  8.  Anonymous says:

    Natal does NOT have a problem detecting any skin color. But you you have reflective material anywhere in its view angle, it won’t work as it will interfere.

    Natal is also known to be laggy ( 100-200ms response time ).

  9.  Prince-Ali says:

    you guys need to realize natal does’nt work at a 1:1 ratio it has a split second delay, so it works at a 2:1 ratio, natal does not detect fingermovement so FPS’ are outof the question, NATAL isnt accurate in body part detection, andif u wanna get technical the ARC has more potential with what it can do as the only thing Natal could logically do is, racing games, fighting games, and thts it, imena how r u mentto play sprots games, run around ure living room leek a fool, and if the NATAL cnt accuratley detetfinger movement, howcan u shoot in FPS’, and how much roooommm do u need to play certain games like sports and adventure games on NATAL, it wont be possible so nbatal will sell, it probs will be fun but potential twise im sorry the ARC wins hands down, uguys areover looking the obvious facts…………….. oh yeahh one alst thing before i go u guys do realzie the PSEye has voice recognistion lool, u foools, i have one and i can sing clap and do whatever to my eye pet so once again please get ure facts streight!!!!

  10.  Jimmy2000 says:

    PS3 motion control will also use a small amount of the cpu. The point is that ps3 motion control is an advanced version of the wii remote. There is nothing new you can do with it. The same as wii… only better. Natal sounds interesting and different but we will have to try it first. If it is too laggy or if it uses too much cpu power then it wont do any good. Also natal will be cheaper and it will have a huge promotion from microsoft while ps3 motion control will be expensive (at least one conroller for one player and an eye toy).

  11.  TheChimpIsHere says:


    what about….the games, no matter how good a “games device” is, it needs to be supported with uhmmm…

  12.  qwe says:

    “To add to that complication, that means you have to play in a room with the lights on or perhaps the motion will not be accurately received. ”

    Wrong it works very well with dimmed lights, even if you switch it on and off. They showed it on the E3.

    The dark skin problem will definitely be fixed.

    I think Natal has more innovative than the PS3 “thing” which is a copy of the Wii remote. (everybody already know how it feels and how boring it is after 2 days)

  13.  you me says:

    what this dumba@#$ doesnt seem to get is that the ps3 next gen controller can do just what the xbox 360 next gen controller can do…the ps3 camera CAN track your body and it CAN recognize your face and it has a mic on it and can do voice recon…so get your f@$#ing facts right…(the only thing is that the xbox 360 camera has 2 lenses and therefore is better at tracking depth the the ps3’s camera but the ps3’s camera CAN still do everything that the xbox 360’s can do)

  14.  you me says:

    and as a matter of fact because the ps3’s next gen controller is going to be a camera AND two next gen controllers that you can hold in your hands that means you are going to be able to do MORE with the ps3 next controller(/s)

  15.  Ice says:

    Exactly, the whole situation about natal not recognizing black people has already been proven. Dumb ass for saying that but then again he’s black and living up to his reputation. And actually project natal even works in the dark and if you don’t believe me google it. And also to that DUMBASS that said it cant recognize black people, check out this video its your boy The Game…

  16.  Canuck 102 says:

    Project Natal not being able to detect dark skin people is an absolute myth. But, like all myths, there may be some sense of truth to it.
    The premise is that black is all the colours, so therefore it should theoretically will reflect less rays than a light skin and absorb more rays than a light skin.
    I have not done that math, but I’m going to assume that the difference percent difference of how many rays that will be negligible. Absorption constants are nearly 100% based on the material.

    And yes, I am also worried if it will work well. I’m hopeful, but seriously, I doubt this will work as smoothly as I want it to.

  17.  vanitygamer says:

    Although natal is very clever it will ultimately fail at satisfying the need of core gamers because of its serious lag issues. 30hz does not cut it for motion control. Arc can do 120hz and wii ir is 240Hz. see this vid to illustrate the point

    The truth is Natal can more than satisfy the casual market and i’m sure it will be a hit. But the Arc is better suited to those looking for precision control, in other words us real gamers.

  18.  Canuck 102 says:


    I think you need to look up what 1:1 actually means. Just message me, I have a great first grade math book to help.

    Also, finger movement will probably not be detected, but imaging buying a five dollar plastic gun that you place your controller into. For FPS, I agree that running around a room is stupid, but imagine an arcade game (or a part of a game) where you actually have to hide behind a couch and shoot. Could be awesome.

    How are you going to play sports games with the ARC as opposed to Natal? I’m just gonna say that playing Madden or Hockey on any motion controllers suck.

  19.  Socco says:

    Super post, Need to mark it on Digg

  20.  Joe says:

    @The L1T1G4T0R:

    Natal has no such difficulties detecting ‘dark skinned people’, as its based on infra-red. infra-red doesnt see skin colour.

    and that brings me to another point of yours – since its infra-red Natal works in near pitch black environments.

    Please do your research before you pretend to know what youre talking about :)

  21.  S. Bains says:

    Controllerless gaming has been done, it was Sony Eyetoy on PS2

    Therefore Natal = Nothing AT ALL

    Sony is going about it the right way with accelerometers in Arc or wand controller and camera. The question is all about the apps and games.

    Outside of Nintendo, most the Wii titles are shovelware albeit a few fitness titles from EA. Its all about the games.

    As for Nothing At All (or NATAL), how long can folks hold up their arms and hands to play games without getting tired, imagine a driving game where you hold out your arms, and hands and steer, tiring and boring. Not to mention the lag, not to mention 20% of the XBOX CPU is needed to process it, not to mention another RROD could happen with the console dying on a casual game!

    Give me a controller anyday!

  22.  Danny says:

    Is this a serious post? It is pretty much obvious PS3 motion control has much more potential, as the Playstation Eye is able to track the whole body as well, as well as the controllers, and more. Natal is just a very improved on eyetoy, where it seems as if they took all they know about cameras, saw all of Sony’s eyetoy tech demos(which includes a early ricochet type game on eyetoy!) and put it into one of their own. Also, it seems like Natal will be for mostly casual games, and more like six axis for hardcore games. In addition to that, the playstation eye already has a microphone, and is more than able to be capable with most and every game if wanted. Especially with the cpu taken out of Natal, and only being able to track in 30 fps, and now tracks less body parts, with using inferred ( problem with darker skin people), and everyone not having the space for the whole body to track, there seems to be many flaws. Until i see a real game played on it, issues like shown in E3 fixed, and it played in a non controlled space, i will give it a chance, but since the E3 announcement, the PS3 motion controller has since had more potential, capable of what the Wii and natal do combined.

  23.  dmij says:

    I think you missed that the absolute minimum lag on Natal is at least double what the PS3 “arc” will have. This is due to the camera only running at 30fps on Natal but at least 60fps on “arc”. There is no getting around that on Natal though the PS3 can possibly do better depending on the frequency of data from the accelerometers. Basically the accelerometer data can be used to work out the position and the camera is really there to just double check that the calculation errors have not accumulated too much since the last frame. Sort of like navigating using dead reckoning and then checking every now and then with a GPS to make sure you aren’t too far off course.

  24.  KILLA SAM says:

    I would like either Natal or PS3 to have body part strap ons with VR headset. The body strap ons would shock you everytime you get shot in the arm, leg chest or head. Sounds to me like somebody needs to get to work.

  25.  JQQQ says:

    Sonys arc seems way cooler. I loved their e3 demo, the bow and arrow was cool. Natal will only have boring games but the arc seems like it can handle more hardcore games. You need buttons its that simple, and the arc has buttons. I think the arc MC will longevity and natal will have shovelware. I do see MS doing different kind of games than everyone thinks though, I can see maybe a dancing game and some fresh ideas but nothing as immersive as the arc MCs. One thing i hope sony does implement is navigating the xmb with body motion and voice recognition to turn off the ps3 or recognize commands.

  26.  Joe says:

    You guys dont seem to realise that the PSEye can NOT do full body motion tracking, especially not in 3D. Natal can, and does.

    The PSEye is a 2D camera, and it can only take each frame and compare it to the previous frame to find differences, whereas Natal actually continually tracks your body, knowing where every part of you is even if you arent moving. Again, the PSEye cannot do this as it is not a 3D camera. All it does is take 30/60 photos per second, and allows developers to compare differences between frames to determine movement.

    neither the ‘arc’ nor natal will be used for ‘hardcore’ games as anything other than novelties. the difference is that natal can be used without having to hold a specific conroller – ie. i could be playing Halo Reach with the control pad, but could also have, for example, directional grenade throwing simply buy pretending to throw one with my arm. The playstation Arc cant do this, as to do motion sensing you need to use the Wand controller, and you cant possibly be using that at the same time as using the normal controller.

  27.  Tim says:

    I don’t think we can say for sure that Natal has more potential until we can actually compare it against the competition. I have watched different videos and read as much as I can concerning Natal and I’m not convinced yet that it will live up to some of the expectations that people are attaching to it. I’m not saying it won’t. Just saying that we can’t be sure that it will.

  28.  Pat08 says:

    Some people don’t look at the hole picture, PS3 motion controller wins, why it uses both technologies both Cam & Remote. So all the capabilities go in Sony’s favor, paid more attention ok?

  29.  Ray says:

    One thing: motion is not enough, we need buttons.

  30.  TheL1T1G4T0R says:


    Learn some respect. I can understand you have a differing opinion, but don’t call me out of my name. It doesn’t take a lot of balls to call somebody a name especially when you’re sitting behind a desk and keyboard.

    @ Joe

    Infared or not…the sources I’ve got my news from saw it live and it failed to work.

    The video that the above put on here showed The Game in a HIGHLY lighted room playing Natal.

    Like I said, infared or not, I have sources that say it did not work. Will it work? Probably.

    The point of my post is that potential is not a fair question.

    That’s like saying who has more brains…Joe or Ice? Just because you worded your reply better and Ice resorted to callow language doesn’t mean you are more intelligent.

    It doesn’t matter what the potential is if the product doesn’t work period. That’s the main reason I sold my last 360 and haven’t returned since.

    Natal has more “potential.” That’s easy and not a fair question.

  31.  TheL1T1G4T0R says:

    BTW Canuck…I mean no disrespect. I think your article was well written and it did exactly what articles are supposed to do. The number of responses and the posts of several “flamers” and fanboys prove it.

    Great job man. I hope you will be doing a follow up when both are released.

  32.  TheL1T1G4T0R says:

    Ah…one more thing. I thought I would leave you guys with a link:$1302807.htm

    If Natal was always picking up dark skinned people, why they need to come out and say such a thing? Clearly because the prototypes we’ve seen so far are not perfected or ready for market.

    Like Danny said…when I see, I’ll believe it.

  33.  Fad says:

    I think another Natal problem is you need a large room for you to kick or punch…

  34.  David Macphail says:

    I won’t disagree that Natal has more potential, however i can’t help but feel that Microsoft’s product is going to fall flat on it’s face.

    The idea of using you own body as the controller is going to be very difficult for some people to adapt to……especially if they simply don’t have the necessary room in their homes.

    It’s all very well saying “Natal will revolutionise the Fighting genre” but what happens when somebody try’s to pull off a 14 – Hit Spinning Dragon Kick and ends up flying through their china cabinet? Believe me – this WILL happen sooner or later. You think Wiimote – related injuries/damages are bad, just wait till people start playing Street Fighter or Mortal Kombat on Natal.

    Microsoft have a product that, put quite simply, the market isn’t ready for.

  35.  Juan says:

    My concern is about space and light. If you have to use your body for movement on natal, the room of almost 99% of our beloved teenager is pack with a bed, computer and a mess of clothes. how they will react to the game with not space. Do you think that their parent will let them play for hours on the family leaving room. what about the physical activities? we , gamer, are lazy… and one last thing… how to play lat night without your parents know.

  36.  DrKeithCurrie says:

    Games!!! Really enjoyable for everyone to kill time. Fighting games might be more enjoyable among two or more players. Above all Computer Games are the best way to kill idle time.

  37.  Guy says:


    Just to calm your mind:
    time of flight technology (the one employed by natal works excellent in the dark). It actually works much better in the dark then in the light, since strong direct lights can have an impact on the sensors (the same with any camera).

    This probably won’t be an issue at your house unless you have a 500W projector in your living room. When will this be an issue? Very strongly lit places like TV studios where many projectors are used. This is why Jimmy Fallon had to wear the red suit when demonstrating natal at his show (red color is probably least impacted by this, because of its relatively short wavelength).

    So you can probably relax pal. I mean, kudo tsunoda who’s heading the Natal project isn’t all that light skinned himself, is he?

  38.  Fabio says:

    Sony lost any advantage it had over Natal by delaying their own motion controller. However is anyone surprised it was delayed in the first place? All Sony does is promote products early on to gain attention that rarely ever come to fruition on it’s intended release date. The PS3 itself was delayed.

    Natal has all the hype going for it and developers like Ubisoft are all over it while supporting less of Sony’s motion controller. Microsoft does a better job at marketing, period.

  39.  Canuck102 says:


    Disrespect? I like and appreciate comments like yours. Inquiries/opinions with intelligence and respect.

    also, another techy note on the skin based thing. Visual spectrum is at a higher frequency of IR, so it shouldn’t affect it.

    And I agree, I’ll believe when I see it.

  40.  Me says:

    Yes these controllers will not replace the current controllers in hard core gaming until they are more revised. I personally own all three consoles and have my reasons for loving each of them. But I will tell you one thing, once the motion comes to the PS3 and Xbox 360 the WII will be most likely a door stopper. Face it the WII is a hell of a lot of fun with friends and family but the graphics are pretty lame. Imagine the same fun but with HD graphics. As for the comment made by ICE on L1T1’s comment. Let me guess ICE, you only have three teeth you have a child with your sister and married your other daughter that you had with your mother, am I correct?

  41.  HowItIs says:

    Natal is far from 1:1, it’s not even close. The lag is atrocious.

  42.  Wolf26pack says:

    I have to say I am more excited with the PS3’s “Arc,Gem” whatever they decide to call it in the end.

    I was able to play with project Natal behind closed doors in a test group and while I am white and it tracked me well all we played was the same demo that was shown at E3. Sadly they didn’t have the PS3 Motion Control to check out on that day :-( .

    The one thing that was glaringly clear was that Project Natal will require a huge space to play in & for me that is a huge detractor for it in my eyes. I just don’t have the room for it in my space. Like Juan has said above I have everything crammed in my room. I have a Bed,TV Stand,TV,Desk,Computer,4 Bookshelves & a table in a very small space. So sadly I cannot accommadate what project Natal would require with space in mind.

  43.  jim says:

    Well written article and great website. Very informative. Keep up the good work!

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