Xbox Live Gold members spend 40 percent of their time on non-gaming applications on the console, like Netflix or Zune music and video, says Dennis Durkin of Microsoft's Interactive Entertainment Business. And now the launch of Kinect provides new opportunities for the company to tailor content to individual users.
"I think what we've found is the core gamer may have been the person who brought the box into the house, but as you add new experiences and broader content choices for other members of the house, they come and use the system," Durkin said at the BMO Capital Markets conference.
"We can track some of that usage as it relates to broader family members in the house," he says. Of course, in houses where many family members are sharing the Xbox 360, it's been hard even with analytics to know who's using what.
"Kinect actually brings an interesting opportunity as it relates to that," notes Durkin. "Obviously with Kinect, it has facial recognition, voice recognition... we can cater what content gets presented to you based on who you are."
That gives the system the opportunity to adapt the content it suggests depending on who it sees in front of it: "Your wife in the future might get a different set of content choices than you, because we have a smart device that knows her preferences are different than yours," Durkin suggests.
"Those are the kinds of things that, when you add this new sensor into the equation, there's a bunch of business opportunities that also come with that." Feedback from families using the device, including which members of the family are doing what on the console, will help Microsoft learn more about how its install base is using content.
In a statement to The Wall Street Journal
, Microsoft clarified that they do not currently use Kinect to connect with potential ad customers.
"Xbox 360 and Xbox LIVE do not use any information captured by Kinect for advertising targeting purposes," the statement reads. "Microsoft has a strong track record of implementing some of the best privacy protection measures in the industry. We place great importance on the privacy of our customers’ information and the safety of their experiences.”