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Xbox One Kinect Issue Breakdown June 28, 2013

Posted by Maniac in Editorials.

After Microsoft changed their official DRM policy with the Xbox One, as far as I was concerned, the major issues I personally had with the consoles were waved away, and I applaud Microsoft for changing their policy prior to the launch of the console. When I notified several of my peers about this changed course, instead of hearing excited responses that they could play many of the console’s exclusive releases without concern, I was surprisingly met with distrustful and angry responses about a wide range of other problems that they had with the Xbox One, and most of them were about the new Kinect.

The first issue I heard from my peers was that it increased the price point of the Xbox One, as it was a $100US premium over the Playstation 4, which wasn’t going to ship with the 3D camera Sony previewed when they announced the console. They were also concerned the impact the console would have on the environment or their electric bill from it always being in a standby mode because the Kinect needed to draw some power in order to process the “Xbox, on” command. They were also concerned, after all the information that came out in the news recently about government eavesdropping, that anyone who installed the Xbox One in their home theater would practically be inviting shady individuals to view and hear them while they’re at home 24/7. This was especially a problem for the Unknown Cameraperson, who prefers no record of their identity, voice, or appearance to exist in any form.

Well, I never understood the Kinect issues with the Xbox One, no I’ve HEARD the issues people have had with them, ALL of them, but I don’t legitimately think they’re problems. I was an original Kinect adopter some time after it was released, so I’ve played Kinect games, used Kinect compatible software (including the dashboard or video streaming software like EPIX) and played 360 games with Kinect features, so I’ve got Kinect experience, and personally I’m really excited to see what the Xbox One can do with the improved Kinect.

Microsoft has an official stated policy that they would NEVER under any circumstances record a user without their consent or transmit their voice or audio streams without the user’s consent in some kind of application (like Skype or game streaming). If the Kinect was snooping on people 24/7 don’t you think a computer pro with a packet sniffer on their network (quite reasonable to assume) would find out 2 seconds after the console’s launch? That would be a huge black eye to MS for violating their policy and perhaps even local laws, as they said they had no intention to do that.

And for those who may prefer to be a bit more green on power, the Xbox One and Kinect can be completely turned off, which will disable the “Kinect, On” feature, but it could be slightly better for the environment for those who wish to conserve energy. If I remember correctly, the ability to turn your Xbox off and on by voice command was a feature users wanted when the first Kinect launched on the Xbox 360! It was even something shown in the original promotional demo video. The official stated policy why MS couldn’t offer the on command from voice that was because of the 360’s power consumption and they wanted to keep the 360 a green device, and they felt without the ability to turn the console on by voice, there was no reason to turn the console off by voice as well. However it looks like they have listened to gamer’s pleas. They later changed their position on turning the 360 off by your voice with a dashboard update, and the Xbox One will allow on and off voice commands. My guess is the Xbox One must have fixed the power issue.

In the end, the actual issue boils down to the price point. Now, there’s not been any confirmed information that it’s the Kinect that forced the $499US price tag to the Xbox One, but since it is $100US more expensive than the Playstation 4 (which will not be bundled with the 3D motion camera they demoed when the console was announced), people have speculated the Kinect is what’s making the Xbox One the most expensive console this generation. Whether the Kinect is the culprit or not, a higher price point over a competitor is a legitimate argument, but one that I’m willing to accept. If the Kinect is indeed the reason for the $100US premium over a PS4, then Microsoft should justify that price in some way to give consumers a reason to choose the Xbox One over the PS4, and the features of the Kinect could be that justification.

I REALLY want to see what the new Xbox One exclusive games (including Quantum Break) will do with this technology now that it’s a feature of the console itself. I’m excited for all the prospects we could have and the possibility of new features in games like talking options in games, motion control for simple commands without needing to pick up a remote or controller, it can further immerse a player in the experience. There’s also the non-gaming applications as well as other features like I can Skype Princess Angel in 1080p or do a picture-in-picture (PIP) commentary on a live game stream without having to spend $2000+US on a MacBook and new editing software. I believe the Xbox One is at a fair price. You may disagree with that, and that’s fine, but I really think the Kinect brings exciting possibilities for gaming enhancements.

I can’t wait to try the new consoles out.


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