Xbox One Marketer Flaunts Kinect Spying Capabilities

Written by Jon Sutton on Mon, Oct 7, 2013 2:00 PM

It’s been the elephant in the room for Xbox One for some time now, and Microsoft’s Yusuf Mehdi looks to be the one to set it stampeding.

The issue of course is the divisive Kinect 2.0, the all-seeing eye that’s set to be bundled with all Xbox One consoles come the ‘worldwide’ launch on November 22nd…

Microsoft have been keen to disregard the Kinect’s spying capabilities in recent months following recent allegations of collusion with the NSA; reports like that could be hugely damaging to the fledgling console’s chances after months of about-turns and anti-consumerist policies.

Despite this delicate situation, Mehdi - chief marketing & strategy officer - used a recent interview with AdvertisingAge to engage with advertisers on the potential for marketing in the home:

“We are trying to bridge some of the world between online and offline” He said, “That's a little bit of a holy grail in terms of how you understand the consumer in that 360 degrees of their life. We have a pretty unique position at Microsoft because of what we do with digital, as well as more and more with television because of Xbox. It's early days, but we're starting to put that together in more of a unifying way, and hopefully at some point we can start to offer that to advertisers broadly."

In spite of Microsoft’s repeated protestations that it doesn’t wish to use the data that Kinect collects from your living room, this is mounting evidence of an element of subterfuge in the quietly blinking box that could be under your telly…

Kinect has the ability to measure biometric responses to advertising, including picking up voices, noticing who is watching the TV, and even your heart rate. All of this information is sure to make potential advertisers' eyes light up. Here, for the first time, they can keep track of your every move and reaction whilst you view their premium advertising.

Microsoft’s director of product planning, Albert Penello, took to his now-familiar haunt on NeoGAF to defend Kinect’s capabilities, insisting “NuAds by definition is simply interactive advertising done on the platform. Using the functions of the console and Kinect to interact vs. just watching a spot. There’s nothing particularly interesting happening here unless you’re in the advertising business, and we’ve done a few on Xbox 360 today.“

This news is contrary to Mehdi’s comments with AdvertisingAge, as well as Lynn Watts’ (Xbox brand manager) slightly chilling confession of Kinects capabilities, saying , “How many people are in the living room? Are they taking any action based on the advertising they just saw? Can we watch the customers’ reaction, and if we can, do we have the capability of showing a different ad, or the same ad, depending on what the reaction was?”

So there we have it; keep your tin-foil hats at the ready. It really does feel like we've arrived in the future when TV is watching us back. I eagerly await my lightsaber for Christmas next year.

What do you make of Kinect’s capabilities for peering into the living-room?

Do you think Microsoft will indeed use it for focused advertising?

Does it seem an like an invasion of privacy to you?

Let us know your thoughts below!

 

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10:23 Oct-08-2013

Xbox One: The Ungaming Console.
Brought you by 7-Up: The Uncola.

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16:22 Oct-08-2013

ROFL good one ^^ :Đ
btw pls don't spam the message wall here if you can ;)

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16:47 Oct-08-2013

while I agree, at least it's something different, and funny XD

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10:22 Oct-08-2013

XBONE, now with 90% more ads. Since I am a gamer and not an advertiser, Xbone is the very wrong product for me.

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10:20 Oct-08-2013

This console is a mess. Buy at your own risk.

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10:20 Oct-08-2013

You are buying a spying machine and feeding it subscription money so they can sell your personal data, how can you support this crap is beyond me.

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10:25 Oct-08-2013

So many messages, LOL

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09:50 Oct-08-2013

So practically MS have now created another revenue scheme at the expense of us gamers! Well then if I buy an xbox one MS better pay me for watching ads or else they can take that spy box and stick it!

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01:14 Oct-08-2013

I won't have a damn spy box in my home. Screw MS!

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22:31 Oct-07-2013

Wait I lost track with all the backtracking and other Xbone mess... Does it still need the cam plugged in to play a non-Kinect game?

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23:21 Oct-07-2013

no, but it may be required to watch TV XD
seriously, so far it's been said that it's not needed, I wouldn't hold my breath though.

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19:17 Oct-07-2013

Big brother has a new name.... Kinnect 2.0

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19:01 Oct-07-2013

MS and NSA are watching you play DOA7 and fapping...

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19:03 Oct-07-2013

XD sounds about right, needless to say that is the funniest comment I've read today, and in this case, probably the truth.

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18:22 Oct-07-2013

oooohhh, called it :D I always called it a spybox, now it's clear, it IS going to spy on you if you have the Kinect hooked up, to get more ads that are targeted toward you, it's ingenious, but an invasion of privacy, and I think the informed will be more hesitant to buy an Xbox One, of course the only ones buying it now are the ones who don't think about what Microsoft HAS done, and what they could re-impliment without your notice.

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18:27 Oct-07-2013

just like facebook and keeping track of every webpage you visit and how long you stay there

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18:29 Oct-07-2013

precisely, why I rarely touch facebook :)

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18:31 Oct-07-2013

if you have an account then it keeps track of you even on web pages outside of facebook.

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18:59 Oct-07-2013

hmm, oh well :/ I actually use my facebook account on occasion, there are extensions to block that, so I might just get one for Firefox.

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20:15 Oct-07-2013

so xbone users become a product and microsoft sells them to ad agencies. yeah, it seems like they should be giving away kinects in a lab and paying people to be observed
..

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20:16 Oct-07-2013

more or less, yeah.

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17:16 Oct-07-2013

AHH! so this is why it was TV, TV, TV...

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17:18 Oct-07-2013

spot on

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16:52 Oct-07-2013

Why would I ever pay for a machine that serves me ads?!?!??!!!?!?!??!
WTF M$
If they would give it for free I would understand, but not after I pay $500

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16:57 Oct-07-2013

you can use the xbox one to watch tv so perhaps it has a functionality that replaces the ads on tv with ads more relevant to you. there will also be stuff in the xbox store where they are trying to sell you games and software.

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16:39 Oct-07-2013

I actually forgot all about the xbox one, it's really insignificant now

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16:49 Oct-07-2013

I forgot about both upcoming consoles, they pale in comparison to the PC master race.

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17:01 Oct-07-2013

exactly, a lot of my friends are agreeing.

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16:04 Oct-07-2013

I think it's funny that people are afraid of a camera and microphone sitting in their living room yet they carry a camera and microphone around with them in their pocket that is always on and connected to the internet.

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16:07 Oct-07-2013

The Kinect is always gathering data, so its always storing and transmitting data while a phone is not
Plus not every phone is being hacked by the NSA

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16:10 Oct-07-2013

can you really be sure about that? maybe that's just what they want you to think.
what about phones that have voice command features that are always on?

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16:16 Oct-07-2013

Come on, i can go on forever about conspiracy theories
That way everything you do is watched
Okay lets assume that everything is factory hacked and your data is being transmitted to evil no face corporation
But people dont know about it, but ^^^^^^^^^^^ this has happened in public in front of a camera, so its now known. So people will oppose it. Cant really protest against something you dont know is happening, but since this IS happening, people will definitely mind

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16:28 Oct-07-2013

I just don't get why people get so worked up over stuff like this. Companies like facebook and google are already keeping track of almost every webpage you visit by using the social media plugins on websites and using it to present you with more relevant ads. why do people care that microsoft is planning to do this as well.

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16:41 Oct-07-2013

Because they know about it? The Google bit is very annoying sometimes, like the ads here, they are mostly for the online store Flipkart with content showing the latest items i visited on the site.
People will get worked up as this is confirmed as in it will happen.

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19:24 Oct-07-2013

NSA, MI6 can spy on my phone all they want, at least they don't send me ads... At least I don't think they do :D

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15:42 Oct-07-2013

Yusuf Mehdi promoting a product he wouldn't dare use since he's a "celebrity".

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15:21 Oct-07-2013

what the F**K did I just read?? Xbox....advertisements...Kinect....
I DO NOT WANT TO BE ANNOYED BY ADS, if Microsoft plans are to sell you machine which will serve you ads and based on many factors, then no deal.
I'm so happy I have PC which outperforms following at least 3 generations of consoles.

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15:25 Oct-07-2013

gaming is a form of entertainment, and therefore should be enjoying;
if Microsoft forgot that thing or puts profit at first place, then last thing I gonna use of Microsoft is Windows 7. There is nothing else I would need of that company - LOL perhaps I'll switch to Linux completely soon, when few more tests and fixes are done. Goodbye Microsoft, you screwed Smartphones, Tablets, Windows OS, Office suite, Games Live, Consoles. You are done and have only few years left until you run out of money.

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15:36 Oct-07-2013

If only AAA titles made it to Linux
I will switch in a heartbeat

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15:57 Oct-07-2013

I wanna test plenty games soon;
when I was testing Kubuntu on my i3-2130, games like NFS: Most Wanted, The Witcher, Age oF Empires III, Burnout Paradise worked fine on the integrated gfx.

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15:58 Oct-07-2013

Maybe the SteamOS can help us steer clear of Windows and its bugs and ultimately Microsoft, i sure hope it does
open platforms are the way to go

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16:02 Oct-07-2013

I am really hoping in that,
can't wait to try Steam OS as soon as it's gonna be free to download :Đ

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14:31 Oct-07-2013

Thats it I aint supporting xbox anymore

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14:41 Oct-07-2013

You were before? :O

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14:45 Oct-07-2013

I did, though not since XONE was announced

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14:19 Oct-07-2013

It is an invasion of privacy, it'll be like the matrix or something, they know your every move, even know if you're telling the truth (depending on your heart rate, face expressions, etc.).
Thankfully, it's still up to us, if we choose to put this electronic spying agent in our living room, or not.

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14:20 Oct-07-2013

It is, for now. *leaves and mystical fog surrounds the area

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20:11 Oct-07-2013

george orwell, 1984.

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14:18 Oct-07-2013

sigh I may have to rent a bunker to get some privacy
It aint the nuclear age boys and girls, its the advertising age. An age where advertising will destroy our life as it used to be

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