My name is Rory, and I'd like to consider myself a pretty self-aware gamer. I am currently enjoying the Sega Saturn, Nintendo 64, and modern PC titles as of late and love speaking about issues in modern-day gaming.
One thing in particular really bugged me about the Xbox One announcement yesterday. It wasn’t the lack of exclusive games for the system, it wasn’t the used-game fee that’s applied to the second installation of a game disc, and it wasn’t the design of the system either (okay, those all bugged me). It was the fact that the Kinect has to be attached to the console for it to work.
At all times.
I know everyone immediately made comparisons to “Dave” from 2001, A Space Odyssey, but think about it. You know when you’re on facebook, and you “like” the Smashing Pumpkins, and then the next day you start seeing ads for the Silversun Pickups’ new album and all sorts of Smashing Pumpkins merch. That’s a minor marketing tweak based on your input. But what if, through your living room, you are constantly feeding an input to a camera and microphone? One moment you’re talking about Smashing Pumpkins, and boom, when you turn on your Xbox One, there’s the Smashing Pumpkins concert advertisements waiting for you. “Hey we were just talking about that! We should go!”
It’s creepy to think about, at best. Now I know there’s no way to tell when or if the camera will be recording you, but if you’re able to say “Xbox, On” and the system will turn on, it’s definitely paying attention to something. I know I probably sound conspiratorial, but the idea of having an eye and an ear in every home in America, judging peoples’ reactions to Netflix shows or listening to their personal lives and then selling this information to marketers really creeps me out. Everything the Xbox One stands for is exploitation of the user, and the idea that I can potentially be monitored at any time by people who might want to calculate how best to get my money concerns me.