Los Angeles just over one year after it unveiled Project Natal to the public at last year's Electronic Entertainment Expo, Microsoft has given it a name. At a star-studded "world premiere" event featuring the French-Canadian circus troupe Cirque du Soleil, the software giant rechristened its camera-based motion-control Kinect.
The name seems to be a tie-in of sorts to the Microsoft Kin, a family of smartphones the company launched in April. Any details on connectivity were absent, however. Aaron Greenberg, director of product management for Xbox 360 and Xbox Live, told GameSpot that "Sunday is about entertainment, Monday is about information".
Greenberg's reference is to Microsoft's press conference on Monday morning, where harder information on Kinect is anticipated. Already confirmed for a November release, the Kinect could hit as early as October according to a loose-lipped Saudi Microsoft executive, though the system's price remains unknown. Also unconfirmed are rumours that the add-on will be bundled with the new slimline model of the Xbox 360.
Though he generally avoided divulging hard facts, Greenberg promised that Kinect will still "see you, hear you and recognise you", implying that the facial and voice-recognition functionality of the device remains intact.
The Microsoft Kinect will bring players closer to their avatars.
Greenberg promised that Microsoft's briefing on Monday morning would have a large emphasis on "core games". He called out Halo: Reach, Gears of War 3 and Fable III by name and said all three will be on the show floor at Microsoft's booth at the Los Angeles Convention Centre. Crackdown 2 will also be playable on the show floor.
At the Kinect naming event, Microsoft also announced that Disney would be an official partner on the project. It also showed a brief snippet of a Star Wars game that will use the motion-sensing system but did not offer any concrete details about the project. Also, USA Today is listing four new games that will use Kinect, including the Wii Sports-like Kinect Sports. The athletic mini-game compilation will reportedly include boxing, bowling, beach volleyball, soccer, ping-pong, and track and field events.