Microsoft  is trying to clear up many of the concerns surrounding the Xbox One, one of the major concerns is privacy issues. The news that the Kinect sensor would have camera and audio that would allow the player to use the voice and motion features excited some. What raised the concerns of many customers was the fact the Kinect sensor did not turn off when the system itself was shut down. Microsoft spoke with Kotaku to address these concerns.

A spokesperson told Kotaku via email the following, “It’s not always watching or always listening,”  the Microsoft representative who is not named continued. “Yes, you can turn the system completely off, this would use no power and turn everything off.  We’ll more details about how it works later.”  This seems to be the standard answer  at this point coming from Microsoft about the Xbox One.  One, can only think what is meant by ‘later’ would  be E3.

Now, this recent statement by Microsoft goes against the version of the console that was shown last week at the reveal press event.  The version that was showcased was shown to be ‘always-on.’ This announcement managed to stir the concerns of enough people about the Xbox One and their privacy.

These concerns are valid, especially with some of features that are included in the new Kinect;  it can see in the dark, pick out human voices in a noisy living room  and read your heart rate by looking at your face.  Also revealed last week was that the Kinect would have to be plugged in for console to work.

Xbox One even when it is not in a functioning state the system  is still in a low-power state, ready to be turned on via voice command. This a feature that Microsoft showed last week, with the only shown method of turning the system off being to say “Xbox off,” which powers the console back down into is original low power  state. It would safe to say that voice commands in the low power state can only work if the Kinect is already on and always listening for the command.  It was this idea that raised so many concerns.

Microsoft did say this about customer privacy concerns, “We are designing the new Kinect with simple, easy methods to customize privacy settings, provide clear notifications and meaningful privacy choices for how data will be used”  The Microsoft rep then follows with this statement, “ We know our customers want and expect strong privacy protections to be built into our products, devices and services, and for the companies to be responsible stewards of their data. Microsoft has more than ten years of experience in making privacy a top priority. The Kinect for Xbox 360 was designed and built with strong privacy protections in place and the new Kinect will continue this commitment. We’ll share more details later.”    

Microsoft seems to be sticking to this line of messaging to customers but still with every answer that Microsoft gives, new questions arise,while some are still left unanswered. It is good to know that users can turn the power completely off on the Xbox One.

In comparison to the old Kinect which could be unplugged, baffled, and blocked along the players to maintain their privacy. The sensor of the original Kinect did not have to be connected to the console to function; as well it did not have to be facing the player. Most of the games in the Xbox 360 library did not need the Kinect to be played. The new Kinect for the Xbox One has much better sensors that can identify users in the dark and even track which controller they’re using. The Kinect can also tell when a player smiles or even when they turn way from the T.V. and adjust accordingly. What is left unclear is whether or not the new Kinect or Kinect One – the title Microsoft has given the new Kinect will have to see the player during gameplay.

Right now, it seems that Microsoft’s official stance is to give answer later hopeful at E3 which is now about two weeks way.

Source: Kotaku

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