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Ads can switch on your Xbox and order it to play games

From privacy concerns to shortages to decreased graphical performance to its role in raising the cost of the Xbox One, the Kinect 2 has been well known to create headaches for its owners.  Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) had big plans for the "always on" sensor for voice commands and gesture commands.  In fact it was so confident (or overconfident?) that it initially try to force users to purchase it by making it part of the only available bundle.  Last week it finally backed off that policy, releasing a new $399 USD Xbox One SKU -- a SKU that shaves $100 off the console's entry fee by dropping the Kinect 2.
Meanwhile, reports of a rather odd bug emerged late last week showing yet another potential wrinkle in the sensor's woes.
One of the key features of the Xbox One is that it can take voice commands from anyone.  This was seen as a positive, in part, because you could use it in a social setting to show off the capabilities and play with new friends whose voice the Kinect 2 sensor didn't recognize.
But ads show the problematic side of that capability -- ambient voices can also turn on and command your console to do unpredictable things.  Designer Tim Kimberl (@timan25) recently posted a video to YouTube showing an ad bossing around his Xbox One.
The female narrator first orders the user's content shown ("Xbox, show my stuff") and then orders it to play a specific game ("Xbox, go to Dead Rising 3").  The commercial then abruptly ends on a rather ironic tagline -- "the one that recognize you, the all-in-one Xbox One".

Similar problems have also popped with an ad starring Xbox One celebrity fan/advertiser Aaron Paul (Jesse Pinkman, Breaking Bad).  This video shows a good confirmation of these reports:

Now, some example videos have shown this happening with two facing TVs in very large/cavernous rooms.  That's an unlikely brand of opulence for most, but as the second brand shows, the console can mistakenly respond to internet videos/advertisements or potentially radio ads.
As the second ad shows, the command is highly directionally dependent.  The Xbox One is listening for the on command from a user standing in an arc directly in front of the sensor/TV.  As a result, if your speakers are facing away from the sensor, it's smart enough to screen out the ambient noise.  Only if you tilt to roughly perpendicular -- or facing -- the sensor normal does the console trigger.

Xbox One Kinect

Ditching the Kinect will of course make some games unplayable, and in most titles (where it's used as more of a novelty) it will disable some features.  On the other hand, at least your console is cheaper, firmly under your own command, and not constantly watching/recording you.

It should be noted, however, that the Kinect 2 sensor’s ability to annoy gamers is not limited to TV advertisements. It can also be used for trolling purposes while gaming on your Xbox One:

Sources: YouTube [1], [2], via BBC News

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old meme
By synapse46 on 6/16/2014 9:49:04 AM , Rating: 1
Wasn't there a meme from the time of release with a sony commerical starting with, xbox off, or something like that..

RE: old meme
By Manch on 6/16/2014 10:15:39 AM , Rating: 2
That would be funny but probably would piss off an xbone user. I know if Sony made a commercial that shut my xbox off I would be pissed.

This is not really new. Anything that can be voice activated can be messed with like this. Windows in active listening mode will do the same thing.

Back in the late 80's early 90's they used to have commercials that made the phone tones for dialing 900 numbers. If you had the phone off the hook and the reciever could hear it, it would pick up and dial. They put the kebosh on it of course.

RE: old meme
By kleinma on 6/16/2014 10:17:20 AM , Rating: 5
Just say "OK Google" in a crowded room and you will likely hear 20 cell phones chime...

RE: old meme
By Manch on 6/16/2014 10:25:25 AM , Rating: 2
Well I have to try this! One of my workers has a an android 4.4 phone. I'm going to have everyone else in the office reply to him OK google everytime he asks a question or needs somthing. This should be fun!

RE: old meme
By Al Jalaikakik on 6/16/14, Rating: -1
RE: old meme
By Manch on 6/17/2014 2:06:20 AM , Rating: 3
OK, because you don't joke around in your office? Lighten up, calm down, and stfu

RE: old meme
By Bateluer on 6/18/2014 12:01:01 AM , Rating: 2
Just an FYI, that doesn't work. You have to be fairly close to have the phone recognize the command. I can't shout 'OK Google' from across the room, I have to be standing behind my co worker no more than a foot or so.

RE: old meme
By Mitch101 on 6/16/2014 10:25:53 AM , Rating: 2
Or as one is passing the drive through order speaker when another car is there just yell out 20 piece and the person on the speaker will add it to the person in the drive trough's order.

These kinds of game disruptions existed back in the Atari 2600 days. If I were winning in a game of Tank Battle the reset button could easily be hit by my brother.

About the only hack here is if you notice someone's answering machine close enough to their X-Box one you could have some fun while they aren't home or not answering your call.

RE: old meme
By ianweck on 6/16/2014 4:14:42 PM , Rating: 2
Can you even buy an answering machine these days?

RE: old meme
By Mitch101 on 6/16/2014 4:57:37 PM , Rating: 3
Yes especially helpful for the following.

I have the Panasonic KX-TG7875S.

Bluetooth Capability - Yes, Link up to 2 Cell Phones, Ring as Cell Mode; USB port for charging & SMS Text Alert. - Great because you never have to run for the cell phone you can grab any phone in the house bluetooth also syncs all your contacts to and from the cell phones making it easy to put my and my wifes contacts together and have it on the VOIP lines.

Cell phone is just near dead you can leave it charging while you use one of the hand sets so your not corded to your cell phone while its charging.

Power Back-up Operation. YES - Although mine is plugged into a UPS along with the Cable modem and OOMA device. $120.00 a year for 2 phone lines.

Intercom (Handset to Handset / Handset to Base) - Great for calling the kids we have the base unit in the kids play/computer area no need to yell.

I also have this Panasonic KX-TGA20B DECT 6.0 Key Detector - in the phone handsets I can tell it to find my keys it gives you a signal meter which can be used directionally and also the keys beep. My kids have a tendency to put thier school stuff on top of my keys.

RE: old meme
By ianweck on 6/16/2014 7:37:46 PM , Rating: 2
Wow I had no idea. I might look into this, mu kids are getting old enough to need to know how to use the phone, and I wasn't looking forward to buying into a land line again. Having a normal handset for them would be nice.

RE: old meme
By Mitch101 on 6/16/2014 10:26:01 PM , Rating: 2
I highly recommend OOMA Voip service they have been great Ive even talked to an engineer about 4 years ago. I haven't had to call since. I recommend the base unit and the OOMA Linx (So you can use any regular store bought phones as the second line) I use the blutooth option in the Panasonic Phone system. For $120.00 a year plus the monthly fcc charge its worth it to me. I use the second line for Work and the house is the main line. We tie in my wife's and mine's phones. Kids will start getting phones next year.
Sign-up for a year of Ooma Premier ($119.99) and get a free number transfer, Bluetooth Adapter, Wireless Adapter or Extended Warranty.

This link will tell you the FCC/911 monthly charges.

Google Voice Extensions
Experience Google Voice on your Ooma system. We've simplified and enhanced the experience, so now you can access Google Voice's Voicemail, Call Presentation, Listen In, and Caller-ID features--all with the press of a button.

Personal blacklist
Stop unwanted callers by blocking numbers or sending them directly to voicemail.

Community blacklist
Automatically block annoying telemarketers and solicitors by tapping into our nationwide database of thousands of known spammers.

Anonymous call blocking
Make it so callers have to show their caller-ID in order to reach you, so that you always know who's calling. You can block anonymous calls completely or send them straight to voicemail.

Ive only had to block one spammer in the last couple years its been great at keeping them away. Oh and I blocked DirectTV because they were being annoying.

RE: old meme
By Reclaimer77 on 6/16/2014 10:51:39 AM , Rating: 2
Realistically you would have to SCREAM "OK Google" in a crowded room for the phone to pick you up through all the crowd noise and get through to the phones in people's pockets. The mic's on smartphones are fairly short ranged after all.

Which would be kinda awkward for you.

RE: old meme
By Manch on 6/16/2014 11:13:48 AM , Rating: 2
Next time I have to give a briefing I'll change the pre-brief a bit.

" Hello I'll be briefing you today. Before we begin our brief I would like to familiarize you with our facility. In case of emergency the exits are located to the rear on either side of the room. Exit the door and follow the egress signs. The bathrooms are located at the right rear exit, go right and second door on the left. You're adults, so just get up and go. Lastly, make sure you're phones are off unless you are on standby or alert status, I dont want unnecessary interruptions. Alright, now does anybody have any questions?.....If there aren't any questions let us begin OK GOOGLE."


What did I just say?!

RE: old meme
By retrospooty on 6/16/2014 11:29:15 AM , Rating: 2
Have any of you guys even used this feature?

#1 - Its not a feature of 4.4, it's a feature in the "Google now launcher" - and a few 3rd parties have picked up on it as well (Like Nova Launcher for example).

#2 - It's a setting that can be enabled/disabled

#3 - If you have it enabled, it doesn't work when yelling "OK GOOGLE" from across the room. it works when saying "Ok Google" at a normal speaking volume from a normal distance.

There are no scenarios where yelling it will turn on a room full of phones even if that room full all had it and enabled it. It would be possible to get yours and a few people close to your location if they all had it enabled.

RE: old meme
By Manch on 6/17/2014 2:12:46 AM , Rating: 2
Nope, but I know couple guys in the office have the latest android devices. I don't know if it's enabled/disabled on their phones.

We're just having a bit of fun man, calm down.

RE: old meme
By retrospooty on 6/17/2014 10:10:24 AM , Rating: 2
Oh... NOW I get it /fry

RE: old meme
By Flunk on 6/17/2014 9:01:11 AM , Rating: 2
You can only do that on the home screen unless the phone is a Moto X so you're not going to get that many results.

RE: old meme
By Manch on 6/17/2014 9:42:33 AM , Rating: 2
I thought they released the feature to other phones. I read an article that the nexus devices with 4.4 can do it. It's just googles version of SIRI right?

RE: old meme
By retrospooty on 6/17/2014 10:09:57 AM , Rating: 2
They did. Any 4.4 can have it. It's a feature of the Google Now launcher, and a few other 3rd party launchers have already picked it up. Nova Launcher does it too, it's an on/off option for both.

RE: old meme
By hughlle on 6/16/2014 11:45:51 AM , Rating: 2
Alternatively do this and exeprience absolutely no response. You have top be in the google now app for ok google to do anything.

Facepalm MS...
By retrospooty on 6/16/2014 10:17:13 AM , Rating: 1
Not that any of this is news, but it just seems that every single issue they have had for the past several years has nothing to do with technical issues... It's all related to boneheaded product decisions that were made.

- Always on
- No used Games
- Internet requirement
- The issue outlined above.

- Forcing touch UI on KB/Mouse computers - enough said.

I really hope this ERA of bad decision making is over at MS and Satya Nadella changes the entire cuture of draconian policies.

RE: Facepalm MS...
By coburn_c on 6/16/2014 11:25:49 AM , Rating: 2
The Xbox One move to cloud DRM instead of disc based was to allow you to play games without having to put a disc in. Just like Steam, whose balls you probably tongue on an hourly basis.

Windows didn't force touch UI on KB/Mouse computers, Windows made touch a first class interface. Touch devices are outselling KBM devices, it's the only sane move. People just whined because they are too stupid/afraid to work a smart corner.

You're a moron. Consumers are morons. I hate you all.

RE: Facepalm MS...
By retrospooty on 6/16/2014 12:14:56 PM , Rating: 1
Wow... Your post is nutty on so many levels...

"The Xbox One move to cloud DRM instead of disc based was to allow you to play games without having to put a disc in."

What does that have to do with the subject at hand?

"Just like Steam, whose balls you probably tongue on an hourly basis."

Sorry, I don't own it, don't use it and don't know what you are talking about. IF I did, it changes MS's draconian decisions zero.

"Windows didn't force touch UI on KB/Mouse computers, Windows made touch a first class interface. Touch devices are outselling KBM devices, it's the only sane move."

People with kb and mouse would disagree. There has been a "little uproar" over the UI in Windows 8, you might have heard of it before. /rolls eyes.

"People just whined because they are too stupid/afraid to work a smart corner."

Right, becasue using a touch optimized interface on a kb mouse which is a titallyu different way to interface is a good idea. Right, we are all just stupid/afraid of the new UI. /rols eyes. How about this - leave it alone for all of us "stupid/afraid" people who don't like being forced into a full screen menu in a product once aptly named "Windows". FYI, MS is fixing it, so apparently even they agree it was a huge blunder.

"You're a moron. Consumers are morons. I hate you all."

Well said, you must be really popular at your Jr. High school.

RE: Facepalm MS...
By HoosierEngineer5 on 6/16/2014 4:29:14 PM , Rating: 2
Don't feed the troll. I know its really hard to resist, but maybe it'll go away.

RE: Facepalm MS...
By retrospooty on 6/16/2014 4:34:24 PM , Rating: 2
LOL... I kind of find it disturbing he is thinking about Gabe Newells balls though.

RE: Facepalm MS...
By nikon133 on 6/16/2014 5:06:13 PM , Rating: 2
Just... stop.

RE: Facepalm MS...
By Flunk on 6/17/2014 8:59:42 AM , Rating: 2
You're a moron. Consumers are morons. I hate you all.

By that logic, you're a moron too so why would we care what you think?

RE: Facepalm MS...
By BRB29 on 6/16/14, Rating: 0
RE: Facepalm MS...
By hughlle on 6/16/2014 12:24:10 PM , Rating: 3
just because we usually use and have the internet for everything, doesn't mean we always. I as just one person, frequently find myself in a location with no internet.

RE: Facepalm MS...
By BRB29 on 6/16/2014 1:20:33 PM , Rating: 2
, frequently find myself in a location with no internet.

I'm guessing you bring your huge XB1 or PS4 with you to these locations? lol

I can see if you go camping with your friends/family and will not have internet. However, who plays video games on these trips? If you do, that's your choice but you're one of the very very few rare minority that does this. Enjoy your freaking time with nature instead, it's probably good for you and your social life.

RE: Facepalm MS...
By nikon133 on 6/16/2014 5:11:42 PM , Rating: 2
Some locations, why not. Hotels - there can always be a rainy day or two. Kids have to do something. Grown up kids too. Grandparents place (who will have some Internet, but might be very basic).

My PS4 is much smaller than my gaming rig, when you think of it. Fits nicely in small backpack with two controllers, couple of games and required cables. It is probably not bulkier than large gaming laptop.

RE: Facepalm MS...
By inighthawki on 6/16/2014 5:49:20 PM , Rating: 2
Not to agree or disagree with the subject at hand, but:

I haven't been to a hotel in like 10 years that didn't have free internet. Also the internet check was only to send a couple of KB once a day, hardly necessary to have something fast or even stable (at grandparent's place).

RE: Facepalm MS...
By retrospooty on 6/16/2014 12:28:56 PM , Rating: 2
"several years? it hasn't been a year yet."

I think you have misread what I wrote... I was referring to the bad decisions made over the past several years... Hoping that it changes with the new leadership.

As for the rest, I know most of it has been revoked/backtracked on... Again, I was referring to the initial bad decisions over the past several years, not where we are today. As of today they made changes based on massive negative customer feedback.

RE: Facepalm MS...
By MindParadox on 6/16/2014 1:46:40 PM , Rating: 1
- Always on
- No used Games
- Internet requirement
- The issue outlined above.

Ms never said "No used games" let's stop that FUD right there.

the Internet requirement was only as a check to make sure you hadn't traded in your copy, as the original plan was to allow you to fully install a game from disc and then not need the disc to play the game, essentially keeping people from buying a game, installing it, then taking it back and still playing it.

The internet connection was ALSO part of the "Family" plan thing, where I buy Ryse, and you buy Halo, and we share the games with each other(up to ten people would have been able to play your entire game library without buying any of the games you own).

And seriously, you obviously have an internet connection, ya don't complain about your computer, and nearly all computer games that are released requiring a connection, why is it a bother for a console(which, apparently, almost all of em are connected anyway)?

And always on? Have you checked just about every single electronic item out in stores? most have a sleeo function at this point(again, like your desktop or laptop, but you don't complain about that) but they also have this awesome thing you may have heard about, it plugs into the wall(and can conversely, be unplugged) that provides power. Of course, you only need that if the device in question can only be put to sleep, which or course is only one of two power options on the xbone since day one(you can CHOOSE to have it sleep, which is the default setting, or turn off completely)

tl;dr you are an idiot, quit reading uneducated people's opinions as facts before you attempt to make an argument about a given subject.

RE: Facepalm MS...
By retrospooty on 6/16/2014 2:25:44 PM , Rating: 2
Calm down... Just breath. You are making WAY more of it than I said. It was all backtracked anyhow, my point was referring to the initially bad product choices and poorly done implementations that MS made with XBO and Win8 over the past several years. Get a grip.

RE: Facepalm MS...
By Warren21 on 6/16/2014 4:48:30 PM , Rating: 2
Doesn't change the fact that the second point of your argument has nothing to stand on, considering at no point in time was it ever true. Nice try though.

RE: Facepalm MS...
By retrospooty on 6/16/2014 8:16:45 PM , Rating: 2

RE: Facepalm MS...
By wempa on 6/16/2014 11:12:12 PM , Rating: 2
Technically, you're right. They never did say they wouldn't allow used games. However, they definitely said that games were going to be locked to the console and that they were also discussing a lot of bonehead ideas like limiting the number of times you could trade the game or requiring a fee to do so. He is pretty much right on the money with those points and the fact that MS thought that they could implement all of those things without such a backlash is pretty scary.

RE: Facepalm MS...
By wempa on 6/16/2014 11:13:46 PM , Rating: 2
Edit: Actually the game would be locked to your XBL account, not the console.

Much Ado About Nothing
By Arsynic on 6/16/2014 10:21:43 AM , Rating: 2
Most homes don't have two TV's in the same room or a computer with the volume blasted all the way up while watching TV.

In other words, this is just another manufactured "problem" by the haters.

RE: Much Ado About Nothing
By retrospooty on 6/16/2014 10:50:03 AM , Rating: 2
Yes, all the haters get together to manufacture problems to hate on.

Meanwhile back on Earth, it is just the result of another bad decision by the previous regime at MS. Hopefully its over.

RE: Much Ado About Nothing
By Arsynic on 6/16/14, Rating: 0
RE: Much Ado About Nothing
By retrospooty on 6/16/2014 11:09:28 AM , Rating: 2
So you are saying if your TV with the XBO with its Kinect is on the cable TV tuner, it stops listening to voice commands?

I don't even care, either ways its not a huge issue... I was just pointing out that there isn't some legion of "haters" that are "manufacturing" issues. This is a result of a product decision by the previous regime at MS.

RE: Much Ado About Nothing
By Arsynic on 6/16/2014 12:11:48 PM , Rating: 2
So you are saying if your TV with the XBO with its Kinect is on the cable TV tuner, it stops listening to voice commands?

What? Do you even know how Kinect works? A properly calibrated Kinect tunes out ambient noise and sound coming from the TV's sound system. If I record myself saying "Xbox On" and play it back for the Kinect, it will respond because it's supposed to listen for those commands.

RE: Much Ado About Nothing
By retrospooty on 6/16/2014 12:34:00 PM , Rating: 2
I really don't care, like I said, its not a big issue. Some scenarios have people's XBO turning on when they didnt want it too? OK, cant the option to be always listening just be turned off anyhow? I would assume so.

I was really commenting on this imaginary cabal of haters being referred to. LOL.

RE: Much Ado About Nothing
By retrospooty on 6/16/2014 12:36:44 PM , Rating: 2
And apparently I wasn't clear in my comments... These were initial bad decisions... Most of which were backtracked and fixed before release, after negative feedback and in the case of Windows and the start menu, versions later it will return in a better form. I wasnt referring to the way things are today, I was referring to the massive string of initial bad decisions that needed to be backtracked upon if that makes sense.

RE: Much Ado About Nothing
By BRB29 on 6/16/2014 1:32:39 PM , Rating: 2
cant the option to be always listening just be turned off anyhow? I would assume so.

The option had always been there since the xbox launched. There's 2 power modes:

1. The always-on quick wake option: Kinect 2 is always on and actively listening to any commands. Xbox auto updates every game and app so you always have the latest update.

2. Regular on/off where both xbox and kinect is shut down. Xbox is not completely. There's still one function left in it where it can receive a signal from the controller to turn on like the 360. Besides that, nothing else is on.

RE: Much Ado About Nothing
By someguy123 on 6/16/2014 11:15:10 PM , Rating: 2
Mick is late to the party. This was a huge, hilariously awful problem with the first kinect, where voice commands coming in from odd angles or directly behind the kinect would trigger actions. Even if you were watching something through xbox live streaming on the same TV, the audio would still be able to control your xbox with things like "stop".

With the second version the problem is diminished greatly thanks to a cardioid pattern of audio sensitivity. At this point it's sort of like complaining that ambient TV or random people can say "ok google" and launch google now if you happen to have a phone like the one/moto x without a password set and also directly next to the guy holding it. In both cases you can disable google now/kinect 2 from waking from sleep with voice commands.

The guy trying to show the "problem" fails to turn his xbox on the first time and has to tilt his speakers until its pointed at the kinect. This is barely any different from just commanding the thing directly. Of all the problems the xbox one has (specifically its slow speed and paywall multiplayer), the kinect 2 isn't one of them. Well, technology wise anyway. Price wise it was not a good idea to bundle with an already slow game console.

By cknobman on 6/16/2014 2:17:27 PM , Rating: 3
This article is typical Jason Mick clickbate.

Any voice controlled device has the same potential issue as the Xbox One.

RE: Clickbait
By HoosierEngineer5 on 6/16/2014 4:40:02 PM , Rating: 2
Well, my dog is not a 'device', but she doesn't exhibit the issue.

RE: Clickbait
By Flunk on 6/17/2014 9:04:12 AM , Rating: 2
That's a silly non-sequitur. Anyway, I bet she would exibit this issue. Try taping yourself giving her commands and see if she responds to the playback. I've done this before with Dogs and it does work, they have the "recorded command" bug as well.

Power strip!
By sadsteve on 6/16/2014 11:24:29 AM , Rating: 2
Just add a power strip and the problem is solved. My electric bill is big enough, I don't need to have all these devices in a standby state wasting electricity when I'm not using them. The xbox is one of those devices that gets used (maybe) once or twice a week. I can afford to wait for it to boot up after I flip the power switch.

RE: Power strip!
By jimbo2779 on 6/16/2014 1:54:56 PM , Rating: 2
Or just fully power it down instead of letting it into sleep mode. No need for extra anything, just a setting on the XBone

"...initially try to force users..."
By Tewt on 6/16/2014 1:49:22 PM , Rating: 2
Lol, really? Wow, I wish my Galaxy S3 hadn't forced a front facing camera on me, I wish my bluetooth speaker hadn't forced Bluetooth 4.0 on me, I wish my Smart TV hadn't forced its built-in apps such as Vudu on me, etc. All of these most likely raised the priced of the item of which I didn't need, want or use so rarely as to not matter but yet I had to pay for them nonetheless.

Forced? Puh-leez!

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