Not convinced about PS4? At least its camera won't spy on you

  • Posted March 7th, 2013 at 01:30 EDT by Kyle Prahl

We are PlayStation Universe. We make a point to be the #1 independent site for PlayStation news, reviews, previews, and features on the Web. And yet, sometimes, other console camps make moves so egregious, so head-scratchingly crazy, that we simply must report on it. After all, the success and failure of Sony's competition affects PlayStation (and PlayStation gamers) a great deal. So, here goes.

Microsoft has filed a patent to allow Xbox Kinect to spy on you in your home, record the number of human users consuming content like games and movies, and charge additional license fees for exceeding the appropriate number of users.

If that sounds like some scary, Big Brother-type s**t, it's because it most definitely is. As ExtremeTech describes, "The patent’s various claims can endow a device with a limited number of performances in a given period of time, a limited number of users allowed to view such performances, and the continuous monitoring of viewers during those performances."

Effectively, your family and friends could become slaves to a system already in place for things like pay-per-view events at bars and restaurants. In many cases, your favorite pub pays for this coverage by the seat. It's the same idea here--to protect the interests of the MPAA, RIAA, and possibly even Microsoft itself, you could be charged for having too many people watching that movie you downloaded or your new favorite Xbox game.

Meanwhile, no such intent seems to exist for the PlayStation Camera, which will debut with PlayStation 4 later this year. We know that the PS Camera will feature dual 1080p stereoscopic lenses for better depth tracking and facial recognition, but no mention has been made of any application to copyright protection. Sony isn't stingy in this area, either. PS3 gamers have long been able to download content on multiple systems (though PS Vita's closed nature represents a move in the other direction).

Your voice matters, so sound off with your thoughts on Microsoft's sneaky patent--and how Sony should respond--in the comments below.

Alright, back to the news (and console) you care about.

 

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Kyle Prahl is a PSU senior editor and a Communications student at the University of Minnesota. If you care about PlayStation or the life of a pale Midwesterner, you should follow him on Twitter.
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