They have gone and done it again. Microsoft got themselves in a pinch again over their future advertising plans on the Xbox One. Although Microsoft has said that it is “actively seeking a correction” to the original story that showed up in Advertising Age, the issues that got raised over user privacy showed that they have a long way to go before they can win back the gamers’ trust in the Xbox One.
On a recent article on Yusus Medhi, Microsoft's corporate vice president for marketing and strategy, AdAge mentioned that Xbox One could provide advertisers access to "a huge new trove of data about what's going on in living rooms," which brought up the longstanding concerns about Xbox One’s privacy settings.
This is what Mehdi said regarding Microsoft’s future advertising plans in a speech at the Association of National Advertisers Masters of Marketing Conference in Phoenix."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."
Picking up on this Kotaku's Owen Good wrote, "while Xbox One isn't selling the stuff Kinect collects from your living room to marketers right out of the box, the capacity is there, and it could be the kind of game-changer that makes ad buyers swoon."And so it begins.
For what it’s worth, Microsoft has been clear about its commitment to the Xbox One privacy policies. In an email statement to NBC News they said,
"We do not have plans to target ads or content to you based on any data Kinect collects. We have a long-standing commitment to your privacy and will not target ads to you based on any data Kinect collects unless you choose to allow us to do so. Furthermore, we will give you a clear explanation of what is collected and how it will be used."
In addition Microsoft said in a statement to AllThingsD that AdAge's report of Mehdi's talk was "based on misinterpretation." Further more in an emailed statement to NBC Microsoft clarified this further.
“Yusuf Mehdi spoke about how consumers are investing their time across multiple devices in the 360 degrees of their life and how there is an opportunity for advertising experiences to evolve and become more unified across those devices. 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 quote from Yusuf in AdAge is not in relation to Kinect.”
I guess what ticked gaemrs off was the original news that suggested that that Microsoft was using its new advertising technology known as "natural user interface ads" (NUads, for short) to basically make the Xbox Live dashboard into a freemium service like Facebook; something that could essentially monetize gamers by tracking their habits and reactions to advertisements. But wonder if we are over reacting just a tad bit. I mean no one likes advertisements, but there is no way they can shove these down our throats knowing that we don’t agree with them, right?