Thursday, November 4, 2010

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Microsoft Kinect Already Having Racial Facial Issues

Microsoft’s Kinect motion-sensing peripheral went on sale at 12:01 a.m. today for $150 (or bundled). While gamers everywhere are hooking it up to their Xbox 360s, the Internet is abuzz about the launch. We’ve gathered a few of the best stories.
5 million in Kinect sales this quarter
Microsoft isn’t spending $500 million on Kinect ads for nothing. Don Mattrick, Microsoft’s president of Interactive Entertainment, told Bloomberg that the company expects to sell more than five million Kinects in this quarter (three-month period) alone. That’s about a million units for every $100 million in advertising. This is up from a previous estimate of 3 million units for the quarter. “…it’s going to be our biggest holiday ever,” said Mattrick.

Though racism requires some ill-intention, Gamespot UK has noted that many dark-skinned reviewers had facial recognition problems with Kinect, while their white reviewers had no problems at all.

“The system recognized one employee inconsistently,” writes Brendan Sinclair of Gamespot, “while it was never able to properly identify the other despite repeated calibration attempts. However, Kinect had no problems identifying a third dark-skinned GameSpot employee, recognizing his face after a single calibration. Lighter-skinned employees were also consistently picked up on the first try.”

The article notes that only facial recognition seems to be an issue; gesture and skeletal tracking seemed to work fine. Microsoft asks users experiencing this problem to email xaccess@microsoft.com.

Luring gamer moms
Bloomberg also details how badly Microsoft wants a piece of the casual gamer pie Nintendo has snatched up with the Wii. The company has pushed Kinect on daytime programs like Oprah and Ellen, and its batch of launch games resemble many of the genres Nintendo has pioneered on the Wii.

“They have a lot riding on it,” Pachter said. “If they can get every Wii household to upgrade to this, they can sell another 50 million consoles. They won’t succeed in that, of course, but that’s the goal.”

Do you have a Kinect, or plan to get one soon? Does it stand a chance against PlayStation Move or Wii? 

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Haja Peer Mohamed H, Software Engineer by profession, Author, Founder and CEO of "bench3" you can connect with me on Twitter , Facebook and also onGoogle+

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Anonymous
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December 3, 2010 at 2:23 AM delete

Is Kinect a racist machine? A better question is how much more idiotic of a statement could you make?

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December 3, 2010 at 8:09 AM delete

Thanks for posting!
But, it is a question that Microsoft has to worry about.. and read the article that it is pointing to. News.Yahoo.

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Anonymous
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December 3, 2010 at 12:04 PM delete

It is said that, Kinect was never able to properly identify few people despite repeated calibration attempts. Kinect has some issues to be attended very soon.

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Anonymous
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December 9, 2010 at 8:52 PM delete

The xbox kinect was fun until I almost took out the credenza doing the Soulja Boy dance challenge

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