UPDATE: Microsoft denies that data can be harvested from Kinect and sold to advertisers. Quote from AllThingsD:
But Microsoft is flat-out denying that report, saying it was based on a misinterpretation of marketing and strategy VP Yusuf Mehdi’s onstage presentation at a marketing conference in Phoenix. The reporter did not interview Mehdi to confirm his interpretation of the speech, a company spokesperson said.
The original report quoted Mehdi (pictured, top) as saying Microsoft’s strategy with the new console is to bridge offline and online worlds: “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.” However, the company said that line was in reference to content that can carry over from the Xbox One into platforms like the second-screen companion, SmartGlass.
“For example, just as Xbox SmartGlass allows companion mobile experiences that are synchronous to what is being watched on TV, advertisers could create new experiences unifying their content across devices,” the company said in an emailed statement. “The quote from Yusuf in Ad Age is not in relation to Kinect.”
Even though gamers tend to portray Kinect as the harbinger of an Orwellian nightmare dystopia, Microsoft's people just can't get enough of the thing - and, as it so happens, neither can advertisers.
According to a report by Kotaku, Advertising Age is very excited about the prospect that, "Xbox One can essentially work like TV that watches you, bringing marketers a huge new trove of data."
At the Association of National Advertisers' Masters of Marketing Conference in Phoenix, it was said that Kinect would allow marketers to see how much attention people were paying their advertisements and how they would react to them.
"It could have a big impact on pricing," says a marketer who attended the conference (but asked that his name not be revealed in AdAge). "If even a fraction of likely Xbox One users could be persuaded to share data, the technology could create the world's largest panel for measuring biometric responses to advertising."
So what kind of ads are we talking about here? Banners on an in-game billboard? Sports games featuring even more heavily-branded kit? YouTube-style pre-content adverts that are unskippable for the first five seconds? Regular Dashboard ads? In-game pop-up ads? (Dear God, I hope not).
Whatever the case, I personally think the advertisers are being a bit too optimistic about the importance of Xbox One's Kinect, because most gamers seem to have turned against the device and whatever data they can gleam will probably be fairly limited.