The Xbox One is set for release sometime in November of this year, but the exact date has remained undisclosed at this time. With a price tag of $499, the new “all-in-one entertainment system” is supposed to provide entertainment outside of just video gaming. It seems that Microsoft has made an attempt to compete against Apple TV and Google TV with the new Xbox One. In recent news, there has been a backlash against the new system because of the new features that come along with it.
Microsoft actually listened to their customers and addressed two of the major concerns users had about the new system. (Huffington Post — Xbox One Changes) There has already been a change to the initial setup of the Xbox One; initially users would be required to have an internet connection in order to play a video game. Before this change, a 24 hour internet connection was needed to play a disc game.
There was also an issue with trade-in games because unlike the Xbox 360, users would NOT be able to play used games on the Xbox One. That too has been adjusted so that more people are willing to fork over half a grand here in November. (Xbox One Changes)
There is something that has caused a bit of a stir that, in my opinion, trumps both of the problems they have managed to already fix. The Xbox One also comes with the Kinect 2.0 which includes a microphone and camera that can recognize your height, number of users, has facial and voice recognition, and can even monitor your heart rate. (Extreme Tech)
This all sounds pretty interesting until we realize that the default setting for this camera is set to on and it only shuts off when commanded to do so. Some games will require the Kinect 2.0 to be on and this means that applications can require the same thing. (POPSCI)
Here is the link to the Microsoft Patent at the US Patent and Trademark Office which states exactly how the new regulations will change how we are able to use the consol for entertainment.
This Patent gives Microsoft the right to monitor how many users are in the room at the time of an application being used. Let’s say a user wants to rent a movie, this Patent gives Microsoft the ability to charge PER PERSON in the room and thanks to the camera on the Kinect 2.0, there is no way to “cheat” the application. If there are more than the allowed number of people set by the application in the room while you are trying to watch a movie, it will not allow you to do so until someone leaves. “The users consuming the content on a display device are monitored so that if the number of user-views licensed is exceeded, remedial action may be taken.”
Whether or not you are a fan of Microsoft, privacy issues like this should raise concerns for products like the Xbox One. Potentially, this device can monitor owners anytime of the day. With a camera that can see in the dark and a microphone that is constantly connected to the internet (unless unplugged), what is to stop a hacker or even worse the company themselves from monitoring people in their homes? There has been an issue of the NSA monitoring our cell phones for years; this is just as bad if not worse than that because this equipment can be turned on while we are sleeping.
Personally, I do not want a device in my home which can dictate how I am able to use it. There is no reason why I must be required to have a camera activated and pointed at me so that the other people playing the same game can tell if I am making an “angry face”, or any for that matter. If I choose to rent a movie, there should be no limit on the number of people in my home who can watch it with me. The Xbox One just might be biting off more than it can chew and with the Kinect 2.0 being added to the system, I think that this could be yet another costly failure for Microsoft. As consumers, we can force companies to change their products or suffer great losses from lack of sales. Hopefully before its release, Xbox One will have made even more changes to satisfy customers. Remember the Surface RT Tablet which gave Microsoft a loss of $900 Million? No? Neither do I.