An Advertising Age report highlighted by NeoGAF unearthed over the weekend has thrown some gasoline on a story that surfaced earlier this year about how Kinect could be used to improve the monetization of Xbox One customers.
The article cites a speech from Yusuf Mehdi, corporate VP marketing and strategy for Microsoft, that he delivered at the Association of National Advertisers Masters of Marketing Conference in Phoenix, Arizona. The AdAge article, "Xbox One's Data Treasure Trove Could Reshape Marketing," suggested that Microsoft could use Kinect and Xbox One's online functionality to help marketers create more effective advertising placed within the console's dashboard. The article discusses the potential for Xbox One to make user data available for market research, though the article says Mehdi "only hinted at" this in his talk.
"We are trying to bridge some of the world between online and offline," Mehdi said. "That's a little bit of a holy grail in terms of how you understand the consumer in that 360 degrees of their life. We have a pretty unique position at Microsoft because of what we do with digital, as well as more and more with television because of Xbox. It's early days, but we're starting to put that together in more of a unifying way, and hopefully at some point we can start to offer that to advertisers broadly."
Adding to that, one unnamed marketer told AdAge Microsoft could use Xbox One and Kinect to deliver "unprecedented information about how people engage with TV advertising."
Given that Microsoft has cooperated with the NSA, the idea of having the Kinect looking at what you do and say in your living room brings up a lot of privacy concerns amongst consumers. The advertising angle is just another layer of it.
While Microsoft does not have any comment on this particular article, the company is pointing to a post made this month by director of product planning Albert Penello on NeoGAF in response to a user question about Natural User Interface Advertisements (NuAds).
"What I think you're asking about is an interview done earlier in the year where someone was talking about how some of the new Xbox One Kinect features *could* be used in advertising - since we can see expressions, engagement, etc. and how that might be used to target advertising. This is the point that seems to draw some controversy. First - nobody is working on that. We have a lot more interesting and pressing things to dedicate time towards."