Microsoft has moved to assuage fears that Kinect might do more than just let you play games.
Microsoft has issued a statement saying that it isn’t using Kinect to collect information about users so that it can personalize advertising content. This comes after Dennis Durkin, who is the COO and CFO of Microsoft’s Interactive Entertainment Business, suggested that that was exactly what the Kinect hardware could be used for.
Speaking at an investors’ conference in New York City, Durkin suggested that Kinect could tailor the content displayed on the Xbox 360 depending on who it could see and how many people were in the room, and adding, “When you add this sort of device to a living room, there’s a bunch of business opportunities that come with that.” Naturally, this prompted a number of questions about privacy and a lot of speculation about just how much information Kinect was sending back to advertisers, leading Microsoft to flatly deny that it’s using Kinect to collect any marketing data at all.
Targeted ads aren’t anything new – Facebook, for example, makes extensive use of them – but I will admit that they become distinctly more ominous when you add a surveillance camera into the equation. But while Kinect is designed to learn about you as you use it, Microsoft likely has much more direct ways of figuring out what content you like – like the demos you download, or what you buy from the Zune store – without having to watch you in real time.