xbox one kinect 2.0 – creepy, cumbersome, or both?

let’s try to look at this as objectively as possible, and for a moment, take off our tin foil hats and determine, what is the verdict on the xbox one kinect?

kinect doesn’t appear to be going away. (at least not until microsoft flip-flops again). so, let’s decide, is it creepy, cumbersome, or both?

MS has affirmed over and over that the data stored on the kinect (heartbeat, facial recognition, living room conversation, etc), will be managed by the user and NEVER shared with anyone. unfortunately, this affirmation is coming from a company who does not exactly have a pristine track record when it comes to sharing stored data with *ahem*, “others”.

but the data that it is able to collect, and how it could be integrated into games in the future, is curious. while we are not yet at the point of seeing where this integration could go, the concept has been explored in numerous predictions of the future. that being neither here nor there, as i am not a supporter of kinect, how much will we really be able to control what is stored by the kinect?

it has been repetitively stated that the kinect can be turned off completely. let’s put this in perspective. i can turn off my kitchen light “completely” as it is connected to an electrical grid, not a computer monitored grid. so, in saying the kinect unit can be turned off completely, without further clarifying the variables, is basically not to answer the question at all. which obviously, MS has become increasingly adept at in recent times.

perspective: the kinect is integrated directly into the operating system of the xbox one. so, it goes without saying that the kinect does not work exactly like a ‘kitchen light’ that can be turned on and off with a flick of the switch, completely unmonitored by a computer system. this begs the questions:

  • how frequently will you have to power off the kinect if you want it to remain off?
  • is there is an internal setting that allows for the kinect 2.0 to be kicked by on each time the console is powered on and then will have to be manually turned off each time by the user?
  • if the kinect can maintain a steady system state of off, will developers who utilize the peripheral for their game have a “backdoor” that will power it on when their game is loaded causing you to manually turn it off again?
  • if a user inadvertently clicks open an app like skype, not intending to use it, will this automatically override the “off setting”, since this app is designed for video/audio chat?
  • if the device is set to not record video, is it also set to not snap pictures? (have we forgotten about the original kinect taking nude pics of people playing dance central?!!)

i am not certain any of these questions have been addressed by MS, as they have just been content on saying, “you can turn it off”. if anyone knows of detailed specs, please comment.

all in all, if you are having to change and re-change and set and reset all of the kinect settings, isn’t that a bit cumbersome? is having to be hyper-vigilant about whether or not a recording device is on or off in your living room or bedroom a bit creepy and cumbersome?

while i am not a mad tin foil hatter, living alone and sometimes needing to travel from my bedroom to my laundry room after a shower to obtain a towel precludes me from have any video recording devices hooked up TO MY TV and/or a COMPUTER MACHINE that can broadcast them at anytime.

and let’s talk about the “xbox on” command. could a machine potentially mishear those words, flipping on the kinect camera? additionally, could the machine think it is hearing “xbox on”, when in reality someone in the room is saying:

  • “put your BOXERS ON”
  • “let’s GET IT ON”
  • “put your TOP ON”

any of those situations could have the potential to lead to a wildly embarrassing situation. ever use the voice recognition on your phone? case in point.



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