Like it or not, Kinect will continue to be an integral part of the Xbox experience, even as Microsoft prepares for a new console generation with the Xbox One. The next generation of Kinect will better register players, work in low light conditions, and it will be much more responsive.
With a more competent motion-controlled device, however, comes an even greater connection to the Xbox One. So much so, in fact, that the Kinect might introduce a new concept: visual DRM. In other words, “Big Brother” might be coming sooner than we think.
If a patent application by Microsoft is to be believed, the publisher might be looking to use Kinect 2.0 to evaluate consumer claims. For example, if a gamer purchased a rental through the Xbox One, and claimed it was for a single viewer, Kinect 2.0 could make sure they aren’t lying.
If the device registers multiple viewers, for example, then there could be a situation where playback halts until the individual purchases a new license. Basically, the Kinect would be used for a “license check” device as seen in the diagram below.
Although Microsoft has secured this patent, there is no guarantee such a feature would be packaged in with the Xbox One. As Microsoft tells MCV, the company regularly receives patents, but “not all patents applied for or received will be incorporated into a Microsoft product.”
Microsoft is already walking on thin ice regarding used games, so they are likely trying to defer further hate with a swift official statement. That doesn’t, however, mean Kinect won’t be used in a similar fashion further down the line.
Speaking of Kinect, Activision’s Eric Hirshberg teased motion controller functionality for Call of Duty: Ghosts when discussing Microsoft’s new console. While Hirshberg wouldn’t say exactly how COD: Ghosts plans to use the Xbox One’s Kinect, he did highlight vocal interaction as an interesting feature.
Considering Call of Duty: Ghosts‘ narrative centers on a group of soldiers — appropriately dubbed “ghosts” — we could see the game using Kinect for squad commands. Call of Duty isn’t a franchise known for strategic maneuvers, but perhaps that is changing in the next-gen.
Obviously, Microsoft is only in the first stage of what should be a multi-stage promotional tour for the Xbox One. However, while we learned a name, saw a few games, and discovered new features, there are more questions than ever. Hopefully, with E3 right around the corner, we will better understand how Microsoft plans to approach certain features like Kinect and used games.
How would you feel about a visual DRM feature using Kinect? How would you like to see Call of Duty: Ghosts uses Microsoft’s motion controller.