Microsoft Denies Kinect-less Xbox One Rumour And Clarifies Privacy

A rumour from website Inside Gaming has suggested that Microsoft may release an Xbox One without Kinect in 2014.

Their anonymous source “familiar with the matter” suggested that two bundles would be released, a standard Xbox One without Kinect and a budget version, again without Kinect but with a smaller hard drive. It was suggested that the new bundles would make the Xbox One cheaper than a PlayStation 4.

The rumour has been quickly denied by Microsoft who issued a statement to Gamefront.

“We have no plans to introduce an Xbox One without Kinect. We believe in Kinect and the value it brings to both games and entertainment, and believe $499 is a great value for what consumers receive with their Xbox One.”

Microsoft have always stated that the Xbox One cannot function without Kinect and that it must be plugged into the console at all times, a demand that has outraged privacy groups who are worried that the camera and microphone could be used to snoop inside homes.

The company has said it would “aggressively challenge” any attempts by authorities to use the Kinect for surveillance.

“Absent [of] a new law, we don’t believe the government has the legal authority to compel us or any other company that makes products with cameras and microphones to start collecting voice and video data, and we’d aggressively challenge in court any attempts to try and force us to do so.”

They key phrase is “absent of a new law”, a topic Microsoft also cover in a blog post about privacy when using Skype.

“Looking forward, as Internet-based voice and video communications increase, it is clear that governments will have an interest in using (or establishing) legal powers to secure access to this kind of content to investigate crimes or tackle terrorism.”

For the moment the U.S. and U.K. governments cannot legally use Kinect for spying but Microsoft seem to suggest this  may change in the future. You may also consider that they may just go ahead and spy anyway, you don’t see James Bond waiting for court orders to arrive before he breaks in to a building.

The U.S. government are no doubt one of Microsoft’s biggest customers, who knows what goes on behind closed doors and what deals could be done. $500 million worth of Windows 8 upgrades in exchange for access to Kinect data, we won’t tell if you won’t?

Obviously this all completely hypothetical and tin-foil-hat territory but no matter what, millions of households will soon have an Kinect HD camera in their homes watching them twenty four hours a day.

Source: Gamefront / Inside Gaming / The Verge / TechNet

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29 Comments

  1. Im against Kinect simply because i hate it, will never use it, and it bumps the price of the system up, and also will look ugly on the top of my TV or where ever, when i didnt even want the peripheral in the first place!

    The whole snooping thing is honestly a load of balls though. How many of you have a PSEye plugged in? How many a Kinect 1? How many a webcam for their PC/Laptop, why does this problem only come up now MS are forcing a camera on us?

    • Because unlike your examples they can all be turned off or unplugged. X1’s kinect cant. And re: surveillance, read about prism. Particularly microsofts involvement.

      • Face it to a wall and Voila…. People make issues out of nothing

  2. I don’t want to use Kinect, because I think the function of Kinect doesn’t fit with my ideas of how video games should be played. I don’t think I’m alone when I call it a gimmick, but do people think that bypassing Kinect to make a Xbox One work without it is going to be impossible? To maintain a Kinect connection the One would have to continuously monitor everything to know its still hooked up. Does anybody honestly think that MS is going to devote some incumbent AI to constantly figure out if its still aware? I’m positive that the Xbox One Kinect verification is going to implement the cheapest way possible to verify if Kinect is still hooked up. Bypassing hardware is alot easier than bypassing software, I bet within 48 hours of launch we start seeing Youtube videos of Kinect-less Xbox Ones running games. And even if it takes creating some fake Kinect feedback single type add-on box, someone is going to figure out how to shelf the Kinect. If MS was smart and greedy, which they are, they’re probably working on such a device right now- that way they force you to buy a Kinect and then you pay them more to not have to use it.

  3. ”Legally” is such a misleading word. In politics there is no such things as legal. The government will do as it pleases in the shadows and even if they are caught its just a few lies, shredded papers, and scapegoats away from turning the deed to a forgotten memory.

    Recently found out about Michael Hastings case. Highly suspicious but at the end of the day what can you do.

  4. The kinect camera is the only thing they have left to back track on now so can see it happening at some point. So how many 180’s is that now, are we up to xbox 720 yet?

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