What's in a name?
If you're Microsoft and banking on a hugely profitable Q4 that will breathe new life into your Xbox division the answer is one heck of a lot. At 2am GMT (who needs sleep?) we learnt that 'Kinect' will be the brand it hopes will do just that after USA Today leaked the official name for what we'd all known as Project Natal up to now.
Yes it's one of those dodgy Mortal Kombat/Crysis destructions of language that will screw up kids' spelling even more, and it's just the start with impending titles 'Kinectimals', 'Joyride', 'Kinect Sports' and 'Kinect Adventures' set to drive home this linguistic aberration.
Kinect isn't the only thing leaking ahead of E3 either. Beating the world's largest gaming expo by 24 hours is what appears to be a prematurely released ad (above) for a new slim line Xbox 360.
Set live briefly on Italian site Console Tribe, the seemingly kosher ad reveals the model will have integrated WiFi and a 250GB HDD as standard. These certainly aren't outrageous claims and given the Xbox 360's notoriously flaky reliability and noisy operation coupled with ever greater competition from the PS3 Slim it would seem a logical move - and one that has been rumoured for some time.
Is Microsoft about to take E3 by storm? It certainly looks that way - even if some of the surprise factor looks to have been lost...
Update: Microsoft has now confirmed Project Natal will from henceforth be known as Kinect. Let's hope we aren't waiting long for similar positive signs about that skinny 360...
USA Today Game Hunters
Xbox Slim via Kotaku