Xbox Natal tech will head to businesses next year

Games console controller

Next-gen Xbox technology dubbed Project Natal is set to come to businesses within the next few years, according to Microsoft's chief executive Steve Ballmer.

Speaking at a event in London today, Ballmer said that the gesture and voice recognition systems are expected to arrive with Project Natal system for home gaming next year, removing the need for a controller.

While that technology could clearly be useful in businesses, Ballmer said Natal only really works from a distance of at least two feet away making it rather less useful for desktops. He said it's "better for the room environment."

While Microsoft is looking to sort that out, Ballmer did note that Natal tech could be useful for video conferencing or other "large settings", adding that could become available to businesses for such uses "shortly thereafter" it arrives on the Xbox console in 2010.

Ballmer said Natal would then move to desktops - within that two foot range - a year or two after that. "We've got to get it to Xbox first," he added.

He said Microsoft wants the "application scenario to be well nailed in the business environment and not just the home."