Xbox One's Kinect camera and microphone will not record or upload your conversations, Microsoft says in a newly published document designed to address serious privacy concerns on the console that requires the camera accessory to be plugged in.
"You are in control of what Kinect can see and hear," Microsoft says. "By design, you will determine how responsive and personalized your Xbox One is to you and your family during setup. When Xbox One is on and you're simply having a conversation in your living room, your conversation is not being recorded or uploaded."
Microsoft adds that Xbox One owners are "in control of when Kinect sensing is On, Off or Paused."
Users will be instructed to set "key privacy options, like automatic or manual sign in, privacy settings, and clear notifications about how data is used" during set up, Microsoft says.
"If you don't want the Kinect sensor on while playing games or enjoying your entertainment, you can pause Kinect. When the system is off, it's only listening for the single voice command — 'Xbox On,' and you can even turn that feature off too. Some apps and games may require Kinect functionality to operate, so you'll need to turn it back on for these experiences."
Microsoft says user data, including facial expressions, photos and videos, "will not leave your Xbox One without your explicit permission." The company also confirmed that Xbox One owners won't be required to use Kinect gestures to operate the system. A controller, remote controls and "smart devices" will also be supported.
Kinect for Xbox One is designed to allow owners of the console to turn the system off and wake it up with their voice and control other aspects of the system, switching from TV to games to applications. The new camera accessory features facial recognition software with the ability to detect expressions and changes in heart rate, leading to concerns that the console is monitoring and recording its users.
Microsoft is expected to reveal more information about Xbox One at E3 next week.