Microsoft Exec Says Kinect Could Gather Data About Players
The Kinect motion control system for the Xbox 360 is a system for playing games with the body instead of a handheld controller. According to a Microsoft executive, it might also be used to gather data about players.
Microsoft's Dennis Durkin said at an investment summit that the Kinect cameras could theoretically give advertisers information on how players look, play and speak. Durkin said that the Kinect could open up new marketing opportunities by virtue of how it works.
"We can cater what content gets presented to you based on who you are," Durkin told investors. "And over time that will help us be more targeted about what content choices we present, what advertising we present, how we get better feedback. And data about how many people are in a room when an advertisement is shown, how many people are in a room when a game is being played, how are those people engaged with the game? How are they engaged with a sporting event? Are they standing up? Are they excited? Are they wearing Seahawks jerseys?"
Naturally, such talk raised a lot of concerns about privacy and just how much information Kinect could glean about its players. Microsoft was quick to say that this would never happen.
"Xbox 360 and Xbox LIVE do not use any information captured by Kinect for advertising targeting purposes," Microsoft representatives told the Wall Street Journal. Indeed the Kinect Privacy and Online Safety FAQ specifically states that third-party partners who would have access to such Kinect data "are not permitted to use the information for marketing purposes such as selling you games or services, or for personalizing advertising."
Of course, those assurances aren't enough to appease privacy advocates who know the line can be blurry for many companies wanting to increase revenue. As with any time a camera is pointed at us, we'd be wise to wonder who's watching us on the other end.