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Kinect Sports Rivals review: The crowd goes mild

Kinect Sports Rivals looks like a mobile game for the new, hit reality sports show that all of your friends will be watching, according to its prime time commercials. The game is crowded with bright colors, an excitable narrator, a hard-ass trainer,…
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Kinect For Windows v2 Detailed By Microsoft

Windows PCs are going to receive their own version of the Xbox One's Kinect, and a few details were recently revealed by Microsoft. One of the most immediately noticeable is the omission of the console version's glowing "X" logo on the right side of the face. In its place on the Windows version is a simple glowing dot.

Among the other minor changes is the word "Kinect" on the top of the unit in the bottom-left corner. The device requires a hub that connects the Kinect sensor to the power supply and the PC's USB 3.0 port. The post on the MSDN blog indicates that the device is getting "closer and closer to launch," but no specific timeframe was mentioned.

Our Take
It appears that this v2 of Kinect won't make any drastic changes to the device. Hope you enjoy a bunch of buttons showing up over your desktop whenever you need to scratch your head! 

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UK agency violated privacy of webcams, explored Kinect surveillance

Classified documents published by The Guardian reveal that British surveillance agency GCHQ surreptitiously gathered webcam images from more than a million Yahoo user accounts, while also evaluating the surveillance potential of the Xbox 360′s Kinect…
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Report: British Government Considered Spying Using Xbox 360 Kinect

Update: Microsoft has responded to our request for comment.

“Microsoft has never heard of this program," a Microsoft representative told us via email. "However, we’re concerned about any reports of governments surreptitiously collecting private customer data. That’s why in December we initiated a broad effort to expand encryption across our services and are advocating for legal reforms.”

 

Original Story:

New documents disclosed by National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden accuse the British Government of spying on Yahoo users through their webcams. The materials also suggest that the GCHQ, the UK’s surveillance agency, considered Microsoft’s Kinect for use in monitoring and would have had assistance from the NSA.

The interest in the Kinect stems from its capabilities to provide “fairly normal webcam traffic” according to the materials. The device was being considered for a wider surveillance program. There is no explicit mention that the Kinect was used in a program similar to the GCHQ’s monitoring of Yahoo users, which reportedly included 1.8 million users’ webcam chats in one six-month period in 2008. The documents directly referencing the program, "Optic Nerve," date from 2008 to 2010.

Gaming and privacy matters have intersected numerous times in recent months. Microsoft was criticized for the Xbox One’s required use of Kinect before that technology was altered. Additionally, reports surfaced that the NSA considered spying using Rovio’s Angry Birds on smartphones.

We’ve reached out to Microsoft for comment and will update should we receive a response.

[Source: The Guardian]

 

Our Take
Privacy issues aren’t about whether you are doing something you wouldn’t want the government seeing. They are about the government even having the ability to co-opt technology in your home to find out. In cases where surveillance is happening without cause or warrant, the contract between the people and those elected by them has been broken.

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New Kinect Sports Rivals Video Shows Off The Environment

Kinect Sports Rivals, the former Xbox One launch title, is coming soon, and a new video shows off the game's environments.

All of the sports games take place on a single island, and as the weather changes and day turns to night, it will affect aspects of the game. High winds, for example, can knock rock wall climbers from high heights (presumably to their deaths, although the video does not specify) and into the waters below.

Microsoft and developer Rare don't have an exact release date for the game, but is should be arriving this Spring.

(Please visit the site to view this media)

[Source: Major Nelson, Xbox Wire]

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Your body is a wonderland in Kinect platformer ‘Fru’

Fru is two platformers in one game, with one layer of the world shown clearly on the screen, and another layer uncovered within the silhouette of a player’s body as it moves in front of the Kinect camera, in real-time. The silhouette world offers new …
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Kinect Sports Rivals Preseason holding international tourney in Feb.

On February 1, a global wake racing tournament goes down in Kinect Sports Rivals Preseason, the free trial version of the delayed Xbox One game. Nearly one million players have downloaded Kinect Sports Rivals Preseason, making it the most popular …
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Rumor: Harmonix cancels unannounced Xbox One Kinect game

Harmonix has allegedly canceled development on an unannounced Kinect game for Xbox One. So says the LinkedIn profile of Rob Stokes, senior level designer at Harmonix, as spotted by internet sleuth Superannuation (via Kotaku).

Harmonix announced in …
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NASA’s robot pairs Oculus Rift with Xbox One’s Kinect

NASA’s jet propulsion lab has been experimenting with interesting ways to control robots. Case in point: marrying Oculus Rift with Kinect to control a robotic arm.

By using the Oculus Rift for head-tracking and first-person view, and by using the …
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