Microsoft has made a bold play by announcing a 'controller free' Xbox experience called 'Project Natal' using full body motion capture and voice recognition offering a jaw-dropping concpet of the future.

Natal, which will work with all current Xbox 360s, is a revolutionary 3D motion sensor that incorporates voice recognition, ending what Microsoft termed 'the barrier of the controller.'

Steven Spielberg was on stage to support the project – which was not given a launch date.

Doing away with the controller

"I often asked how can the interactive entertainment become as approachable as any other form of entertainment," said Spielberg.

"The vast amount of people are too intimidated to pick up a games controller. 60 per cent of people do not own a video game console so the only way was to make the tech invisible and then they can shine in the spotlight.

"It's not reinventing the wheel, its about no wheel at all."

"Today with cultural visionaries at our side and controller-free gaming on our horizon, Xbox 360 authored a new page in home entertainment history," added Don Mattrick, senior vice president for the Interactive Entertainment Business at Microsoft.

"For us, this E3 is about breaking down barriers — between generations, between games and entertainment, and most important, between video game players and everyone else — in a way that only Xbox 360 can."

Games and new social networking

Microsoft showcased a whole host of functionality whilst on stage, including a dodgeball 'Ricochet' game, navigating through the Xbox live menus and collaborative painting.

"Project Natal development kits will arrive at our partners today," said Kudo Tsunoda

It was a massively impressive concept from Microsoft, backed by one of the world's most admired directors, and if it is truly as powerful as the demonstrations suggest it could be as pivotal to the gaming industry as the Wiimote proved a few years ago.