“We aren’t using Kinect to snoop,” says Harrison

Monday, 27 May 2013 02:10 GMT By Brenna Hillier

Microsoft Games Studios vice president Phil Harrison has said the platform holder has “very, very good” privacy policies and won’t use Xbox One’s admittedly creepy always-listening feature for any nefarious purposes.

“It doesn’t have to be jumping up off the couch and running around your living room – it can be quite subtle.”

“Microsoft has very, very good policies around privacy. We’re a leader in the world of privacy, I think you’ll find,” Harrison told Eurogamer.

“We take it very seriously. We aren’t using Kinect to snoop on anybody at all. We listen for the word ‘Xbox on’ and then switch on the machine, but we don’t transmit personal data in any way, shape or form that could be personally identifiable to you, unless you explicitly opt into that.”

Every Xbox One will come with a new Kinect sensor, which Harrison said is hugely improved from the hit-and-miss performance of the first generation of camera motion control tech.

“You have to look at the quality of hardware innovation that Microsoft has put together. The team they have assembled is world-class,” he said.

They have designed a modern piece of hardware, which has the capabilities of the chips in the box, plus the power of Kinect, plus the power of the cloud, working in harmony.”

The executive also noted that Microsoft won’t force developers to integrate Kinect into game, and hopes that future uses of the tech will be more appealing to gamers.

“It could be just as simple as a voice command, or it could be just as simple as knowing there’s more than one person in the room at the same time, and being able to automatically populate options and user interface – knowing there are two people playing or three people playing,” he said.

“Things that can be really subtle but really joyful to the player. It doesn’t have to be jumping up off the couch and running around your living room – it can be quite subtle.”

Xbox One will “absolutely” redeem Kinect in the eyes of core gamers, he added.

“I think that if you are at the leading edge of technology in the home then you will want the power of Skype working with your TV and with your game experience seamlessly, and being able to switch smoothly between them,” he said.

“Just being able to have the game snap to the screen and have a Skype call on the side doesn’t have to impact the game at all, but adds a degree of socialisation and social features to games that were never there before, so I think that’s going to be very credible and I hope very compelling.”

We’re still waiting for all the details on Xbox One, but we know it features game ownership locked to profiled rather than discs or hardware, which will enable some sort of used game trade system. We don’t know if all that TV magic will work outside the US, but Microsoft seems pretty serious about making inroads in Europe this generation rather than letting Sony continue to dominate its traditional stomping ground. Catch up on everything we do know in this massive Xbox One reveal über-report.