Well, this didn’t take long. Also, this is why we can’t have nice things.
Over the weekend I went to America’s electronics showroom, aka Best Buy, to take a look at Playstation 4 and XBox One side by side. It turns out that you can’t do that yet. The PS4 was there but it wasn’t working. The XBox One wasn’t truly there at all. The Microsoft rep who was there, standing around a screen with a mock-up XBox encased in plastic below it, said weather was preventing deliveries of demo units.
We did chat about the console’s features and he did a great job selling the XBOne’s voice command. You can use that to control your entire TV system. Pretty cool. Then he said something that he though was amazing, but I found unsettling: If you have the Kinect on and hand the controller over to a family member or friend, the XBOne will automatically log you off and the other person on. It will use facial recognition technology and the Kinect’s camera to do this.
While a cool feature, where there’s an Internet connection and a live camera there’s the potential for serious mischief.
It doesn’t even take a black hat hacker to pull said mischief off. Or an Xbox One. Game Revolution reports that as soon as the similarly equipped PS4 hit the streets, a little over a week ago now, people started doing amazing and stupid things with it. Like, probably, destroying their lives and marriages.
Twitch TV lets PS4 players broadcast themselves playing video games. It also lets them, well, do this.
And then there’s Darckobra. He and his wife sat on a couch drinking, and drinking, and drinking. Eventually, the wife passed out. So the man did what any man deserving of divorce papers would do: he showed the internet some breast — and not his own. Yes, live on Twitch TV, via The Playroom on PS4, a man lifted up his unconscious wife’s shirt and exposed her breast. After 15 or 16 post-boob minutes, the channel went dark briefly; upon its return, the wife was completely naked, presumably stripped by the husband.
Twitch eventually banned Darckobra, but not before he — potentially — changed the whole landscape of this streaming situation. If things like this continue, and especially if they continue to be lumped in association with Sony, you better believe that features will be re-examined, modified, and possibly even removed. No company wants to be associated with this kind of thing, and measures will be taken to add distance.
This is different from the way OnLive handles game streaming. Users of that technology can broadcast their game play and voice, but not themselves. Skype allows players of games to broadcast themselves while playing.
So here’s the thing: If your kid gets on these live streaming game networks, there’s literally no telling what they may see. Or do.
Proceed at your own risk.