Video Games

Microsoft Backs Off on XBox One Camera Requirement

Fears of surveillance cause change of plans


Microsoft will no longer require users of its upcoming Xbox One game console to attach its advanced camera, Kinect, in order to play. The move comes after gamers expressed concern that the device, which can track users in pitch black and recognize faces, could facilitate spying by the National Security Agency or hackers.

Before the latest shift, Xbox One would have required users to connect the camera even if the device was not needed for a particular activity. The new move from Microsoft finally gives users the option to disconnect it completely.

This is not the only policy Microsoft has reversed under pressure since announcing its new console in May. After its initial reveal , some critics cited the device's twin requirements of a daily Internet connection and an attached Kinect camera as a security danger, especially given the company's alleged participation in government surveillance revealed by Edward Snowden. Chris Miles, an editor at Policy Mic, went so far as to dub it "the future of PRISM."