Albert Penello, senior director of global marketing for Xbox 360, has said that when testing names for Project Natal, Kinect was chosen as the favorite among consumers.
Speaking with IndustryGamers, Penello said that even with the name Natal out there in the wild, Microsoft wasn’t worried that mainstream consumers would get confused over the name change.
“It’s always one of the challenges: once the name gets out and people kind of get over it or react to it, then it sort of sticks,” he said. “Our intention was never to call it Natal. I mean… we thought about code names that might be more meaningful or could evolve into the product names, but Natal was actually the real code name.
Again, Alex Kidman sort of heritage from him and Microsoft city names as code names. So we said, ‘Let’s just be honest and just call it what we’re calling it,’ because you know it gets misinterpreted and it means different things in different languages. And it was really an industry thing.
“Yes, we got some mainstream press, but I feel like, again, we oftentimes forget that the consumer audience, the mass consumer audience, you know, they really get invested in things right before they launch and right when you’re about to sell stuff. So, we didn’t really see a lot of danger that people would be confused. The industry will figure it out right away, and we haven’t done any advertising, we haven’t done any of the marketing type of work.
“We tested the name, we actually did test Natal with consumers, and actually through all the testing this name [Kinect] won by a landslide”.
Microsoft always insisted Natal was indeed just a codename for the product, and Penello’s comments reflect those of Aaron Greenberg’s regarding the name change.