How to Know Video Game Testing Shows Microsoft Kinect Is Not Racist

Recent allegations have been brought against Microsoft Corporation claiming that the new company’s new gaming hardware is “racist” against some races/ethnic groups. This article will explore these recent allegations against Microsoft in further detail.

Microsoft Corporation has denied the presence of any flaws in the game programming of their new motion-sensitive video game control system “Kinect.” It has been claimed by some that the Kinect camera was failing to recognize dark-skinned players, resulting in the device being dubbed as “racist” by some individuals and publications. These claims have been rejected after video game testing has shown that the issue is in fact related to poor lighting rather than a player’s skin color. As such, it appears that the recent claims are unfounded.

The motion-sensor game control was launched on Thursday, November 4th and it was met with a barrage of complaints that the game programming was flawed. A popular video game testing and review site, Gamespot, claimed that there was a fault in the game programming that caused the facial recognition software not to recognize the darker skin-toned members of their staff. However, Consumer Reports has said that the problem is not in the game design, but that the problem is in fact related to poor lighting. The rigorous tests performed by the magazine showed that players of various races and skin colors were correctly recognized in properly lit rooms both in daytime and at night. However, there were problems registering all players when the lighting was dimmed in the room. The magazine also commented that the idea of a huge corporation releasing a product that would discriminate against a specific group of people in this way was unthinkable.

The Kinect camera requires sufficient light and contrast to enable it to pick out facial features and perform facial recognition on players, and video game testing has shown that the camera may be affected if the room is poorly lit, or if a darker-skinned player is wearing dark-colored clothing, since a contrast is required for the software to perform correctly.

These claims are similar to claims made against Hewlett Packard’s Deluxe Webcam model late last year; the webcam featured cutting-edge face tracking technology which would track the user’s movements as their face moved in and out of frame, even zooming in or out as required. However, a video on YouTube caused an internet uproar when it claimed that the camera was “racist” and refused to register the face of an African-American user. Hewlett Packard responded by saying that during testing the camera had recognized staff of all races and skin tones, and it was suggested that the failure to recognize the YouTuber, named only as Desi, was also due to a poorly-lit environment.

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This entry was posted on Tuesday, July 5th, 2011 at 2:23 pm and is filed under General, Technology. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.