Microsoft renames Project Natal to Kinect; images, demos revealed at E3

Microsoft has changed its mind with the "Project Natal" title for their highly-awaited interactive gaming system, which they are now dubbing "Kinect."

Microsoft has changed its mind with the "Project Natal" title for their highly-awaited interactive gaming system, which they are now dubbing "Kinect" for Xbox 360.

Just as expected, Microsoft threw a lively party with Cirque du Soleil for the gaming device at E3 2010 (even though the expo actually opens tomorrow). The newly-minted Kinect has been shrouded in mystery and rumors for a year since the initial unveiling at E3 2009. The new name got out a little sooner than Microsoft would have liked, yet none of that matters much now.

Microsoft didn't appear to disappoint with more visuals as they also revealed both new images and several videos. That included demos of new Star Wars, yoga and MTV-produced music games, and something about a pet tiger simulator. Not only is the user interface designed to be hands-free, it's also got a little something called Video Chat, which appears to be a quickly rising tech trend this year following Fring/Skype video calling on the HTC Evo 4G and the iPhone 4's FaceTime.

[Image Gallery: Project Natal becomes Kinect for Xbox 360]

Unfortunately, no price was mentioned, and neither was a release date. Given how far along Microsoft has gotten with Kinect and how much they debuted, it's only likely that it will be launched this fall or winter in time for the holiday shopping season.

Although, given that it looks like a direct opponent for the Nintendo Wii (which retails for $159-$199 depending on the bundle), that previously rumored $149 price tag seems likely if Microsoft wants to get competitive.

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