Microsoft Responds To Kinect's Rumored Use of Visual DRM On Xbox One

By Ural Garrett , Updated May 24, 2013 07:21 PM EDT
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As consoles begin to standardize the use of camera and voice activation, privacy concerns are starting to come to the fore. 

Microsoft who recently responded to those concerns based on a 2011 patent that mentions its next-gen Kinect could use a form of visual DRM on the Xbox One that was discovered by ExtremeTech last year.

According to the report, Microsoft's mentions a camera-based system that would monitor the number of viewers in a room and check to see if the number of viewers in a room exceed a certain threshold set by the content provider. If the system detects that the number has exceeded that threshold, the owner of the device would be prompted to purchase a license for the extra viewers. 

"The really interesting thing about this patent is that it suggest that copyright holders are allowed to govern performances in otherwise private dwellings," reporter Joel Hruska wrote.

MVC reported that its own industry sources said that this technology will be implemented on the recently announced Xbox One.

Microsoft responded to the rumors today with the following statement:

"Microsoft regularly applies for and receives patents as part of its business practice; not all patents applied for or received will be incorporated into a Microsoft product."

Though this is neither a confirmation nor a denial Microsoft did tell Polygon that Kinect 2 will only listen for specific cues like saying "Xbox" before a command.

Kinect 2's hardware will come standard with Microsoft's next-gen console and is required for it to start. The always on microphone and camera peripheral will be used for features outside of gaming from turning on to changing channels to the device if it's connected to a cable or satellite box.

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