Perhaps one of the biggest concerns that many had about the Xbox One—at least, that stuck around for more than a few days before Microsoft (News - Alert) retracted said concern—is that the Kinect was not only going to be required, but constantly on. On the surface, this seemed like a clever idea, in that the Kinect could be used to turn on the Xbox One via voice command, but a constantly-on voice command processing system that could connect to the Internet proved to be too great a privacy concern for many. But a third-party peripheral maker, PDP, may well have the ultimate solution in its new Kinect TV Mount for Xbox One.
The Kinect TV Mount for Xbox One offers what many might expect: a means to attach a Kinect to a flat panel display television. It’s useful, but not particularly noteworthy in and of itself. But where the device really makes a name for itself is in the included cover that blocks the video input ports on the Kinect, making it essentially impossible to “see” anything. The device in question is currently up for pre-order, and is set to be fully released on December 4 for just $19.99.
Not a bad idea, this, but there are a couple of issues surrounding this device that seem somewhat unaccounted for. First, while the device does block both the RGB and IR cameras that are part of the Kinect system, there's no word about it actually blocking the audio pickups, which means that a fairly substantial portion of the problem goes pretty much unaddressed. While the Kinect will no longer be able to see users, it will not only be able to hear users, but distinguish between two different voices in the room with it, according to reports. Second, at last report, the Kinect itself can now be turned off entirely, making the Kinect TV Mount for Xbox One somewhat unnecessary. Not only will it not actually protect a user's privacy from all available types of incursion, but its $19.99 cost can be replaced—and improved upon—via the simple expedience of an “off” switch. Sure, there's an element of convenience to be considered here, but is that convenience worth $19.99, especially when it doesn't look to offer a full protection against privacy infringement anyway?
The issues of privacy and accessibility around the Xbox One in recent months have left a great many users moving to the PlayStation 4, a move that will do some significant damage to Microsoft's position in the field and in terms of selling against the new Sony system. But Microsoft has also worked hard at damage control following some less-than-stellar introductions, and with both consoles set to be released fairly soon, there's a fair chance that, one way or the other, we'll see just how it all turns out soon. Hopefully Microsoft's damage-control efforts have been proficient enough that it hasn't lost the game before it's already begun.