I’m thinking that either this man misspoke he was thinking of ideas that were spitballed early on when someone proposed putting a camera in the Kinect but later dismissed as being prohibitively stupid or maybe he just drank too much coffee and mixed up his own ideas with the actual plans, but this is what Dennis Durkin, COO and CFO of Microsoft’s Xbox operation, told investors last Thursday:
We can cater which content we present to you based on who you are. When you add this sort of device to a living room, there’s a bunch of business opportunities that come with that.
How many people are in the room when an ad is shown? How many people are in the room when a game is being played? How are those people engaged with the game? Are they standing up? Are they excited? Are they wearing Seahawks jerseys?
Over time that will help us be more targeted about what content choices we present, what advertising we present, how we get better feedback.
Be that as it may, it could deter sales of the equipment. That high school spy cam scandal comes to mind. Well, if Microsoft did in fact have intentions of doing anything along the lines of what he said, which by the way contradicts the Kinect Privacy and Online Safety FAQ, it will be a bit harder now that this incendiary cat is out of the bag. If you’ve followed Google news (I mean news about Google – which you could read through Google News), you’d know that doing damage control over this privacy stuff is an exhausting pain in the balls even if it was just a senior executive being satirical.
On the other hand, a FAQ is a FAQ, not an all-mighty EULA or an official privacy statement, and this information on consumers could indeed provide valuable information for Microsoft and advertisers and it might be the sort of thing consumers would forget about in a few days once people like me have other things to blog about. It might be worth sweating out some consumer outcry, especially if Google continues to act as the industry’s lightening rod. Heck, it might even be legal in some places.
And I doubt that what this man just said will spook more than a handful of gamers from whatever this Kinect thing does (what, is it an add-on to the Xbox for multiplayer stuff?), but I could be wrong. Would you be any less likely to use one if it meant that The Man could keep an eye on you? Not me, especially if they came out with a Chatroulette game. Hey, don’t knock it ‘til you’ve tried it.