The speculation is over as Microsoft has officially announced that Project Natal is now Microsoft Kinect for Xbox 360. 

The name change was revealed during last night’s performance by Cirque du Soleil in Los Angeles on the eve of the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3).

Don’t worry if you missed it because no one saw the event live except those in attendance however we get our chance tomorrow:

A commercial-free version of the Cirque du Soleil show will air on U.S. television on Tuesday, June 15, at 3:30 p.m. and 9 p.m. EDT on Nickelodeon, MTV and other channels. Later in the week, video of the event will be posted on

You can read the official press release from Microsoft, Kinect for Xbox 360’ is Official Name of Microsoft’s Controller-Free Game Device, but here is a small excerpt:

Previously code-named “Project Natal,” the Kinect label was released before the start of the Electronic Entertainment Expo in Los Angeles (E3) as part of a Cirque du Soleil performance that was inspired by Kinect’s technology.

The slim black Kinect sensor plugs directly into any Xbox 360. Despite its small size, the Kinect device contains a camera, audio sensors, and motion-sensing technology that tracks 48 points of movement on the human body. It has the ability to recognize faces and voices.

With Kinect, game-players no longer need to memorize different commands for a hand-held control. “You are the controller,” said Mike Delman, corporate vice president of Global Marketing for the Interactive Entertainment Business. “You simply step in front of the sensor and Kinect sees you move, hears your voice and recognizes your face.”

We are still lacking an official release date and pricing details but I expect that will be provided during Microsoft’s official E3 Press Announcement and Live Webcast which is scheduled for today, 14 June, at 10:30AM PDT or 1:30PM EDT.

You should be able to watch or at least find links to that event at the Microsoft Xbox Press Kit site.

So are you ready to get yours? I know I am!