Microsoft files Kinect spy patent

Not going to be a popular move...

November 8, 2012
Xbox 360 and Kinect

In a move that could potentially turn your Xbox console and Kinect into a “little brother” in the living room, Microsoft has filed for a patent pertaining to monitoring the amount of people watching a piece of content.

Come again, you might say. Basically, we’re talking about licensed TV content which can be charged on a per viewer basis, with the number of viewers worked out by your Microsoft hardware.

This is just a patent at this stage, rather than anything close to a reality… but still. (The patent was apparently filed last year, according to Kotaku, but has only just become public).

The patent states, in typically wordy fashion: “A method of distributing content to a user, comprising: providing a selection of content available to the user; for each content, presenting a licensing option comprising associating a performance of the content with an individual user’s consumption of the content at a display device; receiving a selection of one of the content and a license display option for said content; presenting the content to the display device if a number of user performances allowed for the content is equal to or less than the license option for which the selection is received; and monitoring the presentation of the content at the device to determine the number of users consuming the content during the performance.”

In other words, this tech could check that a sports match or film licensed for a certain number of people was indeed being watched by that correct amount of folks – or it wouldn’t be screened.

While Kinect isn’t actually mentioned by name anywhere in the patent, it’s pretty obvious that with it being part of the upcoming Xbox 720, this is the camera which would be used to monitor your living room. It’s obviously capable of picking out the number of people in a room.

While we enjoy our Kinect games, ever since we’ve installed that small beady red eye under our TV, we’ve wondered about the scary uses Microsoft could possibly come up with.

And they don’t come much scarier than this…


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