[Update] Surprise! Microsoft Wants To Sell Xbox One Kinect User Data To Advertisers

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Less than a week after Microsoft downplayed the suggestion that they would ever use the data collected by the Xbox One Kinect camera as an advertising platform, a company exec has confirmed that there are plans in place to do just that at some point in the future.

During a talk at the Association of National Advertisers’ annual convention Saturday morning, Microsoft VP of marketing and strategy Yusuf Mehdi revealed basic details about how the platform holder intends to use the next-gen console to “revolutionize advertising.” Some of the topics discussed during the speech included; using Xbox imaging tech to increase “consumer expectations for production values in advertising,” further the “gamification” of advertising, and (of course) selling data collected from the Xbox One and Kinect for the purpose of marketing.

“We are trying to bridge some of the world between online and offline. That’s a little bit of a holy grail in terms of how you understand the consumer in that 360 degrees of their life. We have a pretty unique position at Microsoft because of what we do with digital, as well as more and more with television because of Xbox. 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.”

According to Advertising Age, after the speech, one unnamed “marketer” was extremely excited about the Xbox One’s ability to “work like [a] TV that watches you, bringing marketers a huge new trove of data about what’s going on in living rooms.”

Despite all of the recent assurances, we all kind of assumed that this was Microsoft’s endgame for the Xbox One. I suspect that users will be able to opt out (probably not by default) of the data mining operation, so this particular issue is unlikely to have any impact on informed customers. Of course, the ultimate privacy protection option will always be to unplug Kinect and let it monitor the top shelf in your closet.


Yusuf Mehdi has clarified his statements to Advertising Age, claiming that he was not talking about Kinect user data, but a “unified advertising experience across multiple devices.”

Mehdi also added that there are no current plans to “target ads or content based on any data Kinect collects, and [they] will not in the future unless someone chooses to allow [them] to do so.”