Despite a Q4 release date, it is unlikely that talk about Project Natal will do anything but build over the coming months - and this could be a pretty good reason why...
Speaking to CBC News, the Microsoft president of entertainment and devices division, Robbie Bach (pictured) explained:
"Part of the reason we showed Natal at E3 - which is actually a little bit risky to be honest because it's a new technology, very cutting edge and relatively early in its development - is that we wanted third-party publishers to know that it was real and we wanted them to have developer kits and to get them working on it. We have something like 70% or 80% of the publishers in the world already doing Natal-based games."
"Our first party studios are very focused on this," he added. "We want to have a few titles from Microsoft that show the way and then we want the breadth and power of the ecosystem from our partners to bring lots of new ideas, new innovations, new concepts to the marketplace.Xbox games don't go away; you have to think of all this as additive. I think it adds to the beauty of what's going on."
If Bach is playing things completely straight then 70-80 per cent adoption for a platform we won't see for at least another 10 months is incredible going. *Tries to control shaking hands and not get too excited. Fails*
In related (and less positive) news Microsoft has surprisingly missed the deadline to ship an amended version of Office 2007 following a patent dispute with Canadian software company i4i. Consequently it has had to remove all 2007 editions of the productivity suite from sale in the US, though it does sale availability will return soon.
Does this mean i4i wins? Far from it, though it does suggest Microsoft has a serious opponent on its hands. Expect a payout to see this settled before too long.