The new next-generation Kinect sensor will be core part of the entertainment center and gaming aspect of the Xbox One. While it isn’t required for games that only use the Xbox One instead of using the motion capture and voice control features of the Kinect, it definitely brings something to the table to differentiate the Xbox One with its competitors, most notably the Sony Playstation 4. Users can activate and turn the Kinect on by voice. In terms of hardware, the next-generation Kinect sensor features a 1080p camera, a vast upgrade from the basic motion monitor of the Kinect on the Xbox 360.
Furthermore, the motion sensor of the Kinect is also an improvement from the older versions of the Kinect, being able to process up to 2 gigabits of information per second. This will give game developers for the new device the room for more precision and data when capturing the motion of users of the device.
The Xbox One Kinect will be fully integrated into the Xbox system, unlike the Xbox 360 Kinect, which is an optional feature that users can select. The Xbox One will not function without the Kinect. Furthermore, with the announcement that the Kinect will be fully integrated into the Xbox One, there has been increasing privacy concerns from users who are wary that the Kinect can be used as a monitoring and recording device. This has been particularly important due to recent allegations uncovering the surveillance programs that the United States government has in place against its citizens, and the risk that the government can compel Microsoft to aid its spying against its citizens. This is also worrying to users because the Kinect can be turned on with a voice command even when it is turned off, suggesting that the Kinect sensor will always be monitoring and listening in on its surroundings, even when turned off.
In response, Microsoft claims that Xbox One can be completely turned off by the user. Users can customize the Xbox One and Kinect voice commands and responsiveness, altering important privacy option such as data recording and notification. Users can choose how they want their data to be used, the option for manual or automatic sign in, and they can pause or turn Kinect off entirely during their gaming session. Microsoft also stated that when the system is turned off, it is only listening for the single phrase of ‘Xbox On,’ and isn’t listening in on any conversations or recording the user in video form. This ability to customize privacy options and even turn voice commands off means, by extension, that users can limit some of their privacy concerns.
Furthermore, it has been a concern among console gamers that the Kinect will be used for more than voice and movement-based game control, but as an advertising tool for Microsoft. Kinect will supposedly be incorporated into the advertising experience, and this has also raised privacy concerns that the Kinect will provide advertisers with too much personal information. However, Microsoft claims that advertisers will not have the same degree of control and amount of feedback that game developers on the Kinect will. While the details of the new advertising program and its impact on gaming is still hard to determine, Microsoft claims that it will be minimal and non-disruptive to the gaming and entertainment experience of the Kinect.