Xbox One Will Still Require Kinect 2.0

By William Usher 2013-06-19 21:18:55 discussion comments
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Hal 9000's little cousin has been on the receiving end of a lot of ire from the gaming community and it hasn't been without merit. Kinect 2.0 was originally a groan-inducing affair when Microsoft made it a prime feature for the Xbox One, but things really heated up when privacy concerns came into play especially, with the whole PRISM scare. There's now a congressional policy being looked at to curb corporations from willfully spying on you and gathering data on you without your explicit consent.

Well, things are still not going to change regarding the current situation involving Kinect 2.0 no matter how much gamers have screamed at Microsoft to make a change to the requirement. Even though the thing has been railed on for its catering to casual gamers and sporting tons of shovelware, the real worry is about privacy and its requirement for operating the Xbox One. Unfortunately, this won't be changing despite Microsoft extricating DRM from the Xbox One.

For those that don't know, the Xbox One's integrated Kinect functionality never really shuts off on the default settings and users have to go through a few hoops to ensure that the device isn't always watching and isn't always listening. This has caused a lot of groups to speak up in protest about the device, including the data protection commissioner from Germany who labeled it a "Twisted Nightmare" and the civil liberty director from Australia who labeled the required functionality of Kinect 2.0 as a surveillance device. It's hard to argue with them when they use buzzword phrases like "twisted nightmare" and "surveillance device".

Anyway, according to Joystiq, they managed to get a word from Microsoft's Chief Product Officer, Marc Whitten, who stated that...
"We still absolutely believe in Kinect. It's a core part of the architecture. Frankly, it's really critical that you build it as something that's always there, always part of the platform. So that game creators, experience creators can know they can rely on it. And you, the user, that there's always a consistent experience. That it's not just an accessory."

Much to the disappointment of Microsoft, many gamers only wish that Kinect was an accessory... one they could disconnect from the wall without worrying about losing any functionality from the Xbox One or its software.

Nevertheless, at least the DRM, the check-in and the lending game block are all gone and this has made some gamers excited about the potential console war competition. As we all know, competition is healthy for the market and keeps some businesses legit. Still, it's such a sad state of affairs that gamers are now excited to pre-order the Xbox One despite still having to make concessions on their own basic rights... especially their privacy rights. But let's never say never; perhaps there will be a firmware option to completely and entirely disable Kinect without the whole “standby” and “pause” feature. Based on the way the system is setup so far it's not a complete impossibility that the Xbox One and Kinect could get a couple of update overhauls to make things even more consumer friendly.

I imagine most gamers who jack off, sell drugs, kill someone or smoke meth in the comfort of their own living room, do so without worrying about being part of the PRISM program, courtesy of Kinect 2.0. However, there are still some people who worry about the dangers of getting hacked, having their information spread across the digital metaverse or worse yet, being forcefully opted into marketing campaigns for demographic-based ads. Ugh.


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