Who’s Watching Who: Microsoft’s Questionable Rewards Patent for Xbox One

This TechDirt article details a Microsoft patent application related to the Xbox One console that might give you a little pause. The patent, "Awards and achievements across TV ecosystem," uses (what we assume is) the Kinect camera and sensors to tell whether a person is watching an advertisement. If that person is paying attention to the ad, a reward system detailed in the patent would give the viewer "points" or some other type of reward that could be redeemed for various types of entertainment.

Here's a brief description of the patent: "A method for awarding a user is provided. The method comprises receiving a user-viewing goal detailing a specific linear video content viewing behavior of the user. The method also includes receiving one or more user-specific reports of all linear video content viewing behaviors of the user while using each of a plurality of different applications, and granting an award to the user if the user-specific reports collectively indicate the user-viewing goal is reached by the user."

The concern for most of us is that while you are watching TV, Microsoft – or its reward system – would be watching you quite a bit of the time. Microsoft has already said that users can turn the Kinect off if they want to and still operate the Xbox One, but those who do not know about this reward system or don't pay too much attention to news about the system might end up being watched when they don't want to be.

One other concern with this system is, could it be revamped to punish users in some ways instead? While that is unlikely it's certainly something that isn't impossible.

Source: TechDirt


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