Keep Your Kinect to Yourself, Thank You

16 May

This week, Xbox announced that they would be offering an XBox One (not-so-affectionately known as the Xbone) without the Kinect system, something they had originally said would not be an option. This is the only way I will ever be convinced to purchase one, so the news makes me rather happy, since I expect that sooner or later my Xbox 360 is going to go the proverbial way of all electronic devices and flesh.

Here’s why I abhor the Kinect. It isn’t that I don’t want to play games involving wildly flailing limbs (although I’m not really big on that idea), nor is it that I don’t want to give my Xbox voice commands (although, again, given its propensity for misunderstanding things, that also isn’t really a big thing for me), it’s really more that I find it profoundly creepy that any of my electronic devices that aren’t also medical devices (and, really, I don’t own any of those) might be interested in my basic vital statistics.

The Kinect can tell my body temperature, my heart rate, the distribution of heat on my body, and the difference between me, my husband, my cats, and any friends we might have over (and if they have Xbones with Kinect, it might even be able to tell who they are). Since it is not a certified medical professional, I don’t want it knowing that much about my person, thank you. I don’t want to be able to walk into someone else’s house (with a Kinect), and have their Xbone recognize me based on biometrics. That’s just a little too far in the direction of an Orwellian Big Brother to make me at all comfortable, and when the original Xbone announcement was made, I remember thinking, “No, thank you. I guess I’ll be buying a PS4 when my 360 dies.”

Well, although I am most likely going to purchase a PS3 in the next year or so, Microsoft just managed to make it 100 times more likely that when my 360 dies (or when developers stop making games for the 360, whichever happens first) I will bite the proverbial Kool-Aid bullet and buy an Xbone instead of a PS4. And it won’t be able to tell me when I have a temperature or suggest that perhaps I need to cool down and take a drink of water. I guess I’ll just have to figure that out all on my own.