Monday, March 11, 2013

Are You Freaking Kidding Me?

Microsoft and really the whole gaming anti-piracy thing has finally crossed a very creepy, very 1984-y line. For a while, the story on everyone's lips was that the next Playstation and Xbox consoles would block used games but it seems that this may have been thrown out; which I'm thankful for because it just made already greedy-appearing companies appear even greedier.

I'm a dedicated gamer. I buy the games I want, used or new. I buy DVDs, too, rarely going in for downloads due to an obsession with physical copies of things lest the Internet collapse in on itself and my computer simultaneously explodes - at least I know I'll always have the hard copy.
And like anyone who owns a console, I use mine to watch films. Sometimes - shock! horror! - with more people than just myself and my girlfriend.

Well, looks like Microsoft is putting out a new patent which is going to make viewing films with 'too many' people more or less impossible, without buying an extra license. Yeah, that's right. In case you didn't click on that there link (you should), the article basically informs us that, well, here's a quote:

The abstract describes a camera-based system that would monitor the number of viewers in a room and check to see if the number of occupants exceeded a certain threshold set by the content provider. If there are too many warm bodies present, the device owner would be prompted to purchase a license for a greater number of viewers.From the abstract: “The users consuming the content on a display device are monitored so that if the number of user-views licensed is exceeded, remedial action may be taken.”
 This. Is. Ridiculous. While I may understand that copyright states I can't show a DVD on a jumbo screen in the middle of the city center, it is a whole different matter for it to tell me that I can't have a big group of over to watch it for a movie night. Now, admittedly, it doesn't say how many people is "too many" but still, I can't help but feel that this is just further shoving down our throats that we do not own the content we buy, we are merely renting it from the copyright owner, despite spending the money and being given a physical copy of the product.

On top of the legal mumbo-jumbo that's involved in this - which would make someone buy numerous licenses for one film/game/whatever as if it were a highly guarded piece of software like AVID or Adobe Creative Suite - I just simply don't like the idea of Microsoft having a direct camera into my living room without me knowing if anyone is watching at any given time.

Also, what's to prevent me from unplugging the damn thing when I watch a film? Will it not work? Will it be compulsory? Even worse. If it is, they sure won't be getting my business.


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