Microsoft Kind of Denies Kinect Hack Claims

Logan Westbrook

Transform, Roll Out, Etc
Feb 21, 2008
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Microsoft Kind of Denies Kinect Hack Claims

No modification to hardware or software equals no hack in Microsoft's book.

Despite what you might have heard, Kinect [http://www.amazon.com/Kinect-Sensor-Adventures-Xbox-360/dp/B002BSA298/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=videogames&qid=1289301268&sr=8-1-spell] has not been hacked, at least, not by Microsoft's definition anyway. The company is splitting hairs over what actually constitutes a "hack," saying that a recent video - seen to the right - showing Kinect working on a computer doesn't cut the mustard.

Kinect's launch in the US prompted a challenge [http://www.escapistmagazine.com/news/view/105035-Hack-Kinect-Win-Money] from Adafruit Industries, who offered a $1,000 bounty for the first person to get the sensor to output video and distance information to something other than an Xbox 360. When Adafruits learned of Microsoft's displeasure at the contest, it upped the prize to $2,000, and threatened to take it ever higher. Whether motivated by money, the desire to tweak Microsoft's nose, to even just by the challenge of it, it only took a few days [http://www.escapistmagazine.com/news/view/105086-Kinect-Hacked-Money-Won] before someone got Kinect working with Windows.

Microsoft has responded to the news by saying that getting Kinect to work with other devices isn't really a hack, because there was no modification to Kinect's hardware or software. It also reiterated that the use of Kinect with a PC or any other device was unsupported, and for the best experience, people should use Kinect the way it was intended.

This hack, or whatever Microsoft wants to call it, could lead to interesting things in the future. People could build robots that can recognize people's faces and voices, for example, or homebrew PC games that make use of the sensor. But whatever happens, it seems likely that there's not much Microsoft can do to stop it, or else it would have done it already.

Source: GameSpot [http://uk.gamespot.com/xbox360/sports/thebiggestloserultimateworkout/news.html?sid=6283696]


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Jory

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If this works, it seems silly that Microsoft WOULDN'T support it.

I imagine it would boost their sales somewhat if it worked with Windows
 

tharglet

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Jory said:
If this works, it seems silly that Microsoft WOULDN'T support it.

I imagine it would boost their sales somewhat if it worked with Windows
Though if it works with Windows, then you don't need to buy an xbox to go with it...
 

Logan Westbrook

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Jory said:
If this works, it seems silly that Microsoft WOULDN'T support it.

I imagine it would boost their sales somewhat if it worked with Windows
Support it? No, that's not the way. They'd just market their own.
That is, if they were to do it at all. The way Microsoft sees it, the PC platform is very risky what with piracy & lack of payed multiplayer subscription & all. The more people buy Xboxes for stuff like Kinect, the better for them.

Sorry if you already knew all this.
 

Jory

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tharglet said:
Jory said:
If this works, it seems silly that Microsoft WOULDN'T support it.

I imagine it would boost their sales somewhat if it worked with Windows
Though if it works with Windows, then you don't need to buy an xbox to go with it...
But I don't think this is aimed at PC gamers to try and make them convert to console gaming, it's aimed at people who already game on consoles or don't game at all. These people won't have gaming computers and therefore they'll still buy an Xbox anyway.

It seems to me like they should embrace this.
 

Jory

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Pararaptor said:
Jory said:
If this works, it seems silly that Microsoft WOULDN'T support it.

I imagine it would boost their sales somewhat if it worked with Windows
Support it? No, that's not the way. They'd just market their own.
That is, if they were to do it at all. The way Microsoft sees it, the PC platform is very risky what with piracy & lack of payed multiplayer subscription & all. The more people buy Xboxes for stuff like Kinect, the better for them.

Sorry if you already knew all this.
By support I did mean support the technology, not this particular man who has hacked it
 

elexis

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Mar 17, 2009
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Question is, why would Microsoft care? If they are making money of each Kinect sale and the homebrew software isn't competing against Microsoft software then it's a win-win for them.
 

Logan Westbrook

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Feb 21, 2008
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Jory said:
Pararaptor said:
Jory said:
If this works, it seems silly that Microsoft WOULDN'T support it.

I imagine it would boost their sales somewhat if it worked with Windows
Support it? No, that's not the way. They'd just market their own.
That is, if they were to do it at all. The way Microsoft sees it, the PC platform is very risky what with piracy & lack of payed multiplayer subscription & all. The more people buy Xboxes for stuff like Kinect, the better for them.

Sorry if you already knew all this.
By support I did mean support the technology, not this particular man who has hacked it
Mmm.
Nonetheless, it makes more sense to them to just keep the Kinect to the Xbox. Like I said, less risky.
 
Feb 13, 2008
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elexis said:
Question is, why would Microsoft care? If they are making money of each Kinect sale and the homebrew software isn't competing against Microsoft software then it's a win-win for them.
Because they want to make money off the software as well.

Gore Vidal said:
It is not enough to succeed. Others must fail.
 

JediMB

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Oct 25, 2008
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No modifi--

Okay, stop being retarded, Microsoft. Hacking a device, such as a computer, has always been gaining unlawful access to the device through electronic means.

This is a hack. Much like the Microsoft guy who made that statement.
 

gyro2death

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Mar 5, 2009
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Jory said:
If this works, it seems silly that Microsoft WOULDN'T support it.

I imagine it would boost their sales somewhat if it worked with Windows
Exactly they plan on integrating it with windows 8 possibly (from rumors) so if someone gets it working with windows before hand its just that much easier to get. Also if people buy Kenict because of the fact that can integrate with their pc then its just gonna boost their sales.
 

Prince Regent

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So some guy has a different deffinition of the word hacked......

Obviously you and me have different deffinitions on the word news too.
 

Scars Unseen

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I, for one, support Microsoft's stance on this. After all, no hack = no legal action.
 

Jesus Phish

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The current idea of Kinect doesnt work for PC gaming at all.

They recommend you use Kinect in something like an eight foot squared room? On a nice big flat screen tv. Not in your box room where your 20" monitor is.

In terms of supporting it, they might use the technology to release a smaller version of it.

I'm interested to see what colleges and unis will do with it connected to computers.
 

Danzaivar

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Knew this was going to happen!

I guess Microsoft is feeling quite smug about this too because all of their motion tracking and recognition software will be software on the xbox, rather than part of the actual kinect unit.
 

CrystalShadow

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Apr 11, 2009
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Lol. Well, this just figures.

But I guess microsoft has little reason to feel threatened by this really.

As I've said before, all the 'magic' of kinect is in the software libraries, so this level of 'hack' would mean little to Microsoft.

No more than any similar 'hack' bothers other companies...

They're being weird about how they describe it, but in the end common sense prevails.

This kind of use with alternate hardware just isn't worth worrying about.
Unless you're selling your hardware as a loss-leading product, having people buy the device for alternate uses besides it's official purpose is really just a bonus.
 

achilleas.k

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Jory said:
If this works, it seems silly that Microsoft WOULDN'T support it.

I imagine it would boost their sales somewhat if it worked with Windows
If Microsoft decides to support this, in the commercial sense of the word, then it entails more than just saying "yeah, go ahead, hook it up to your PC, we're OK with that". If Microsoft is going to support this it means releasing Windows drivers to work out of the box, testing it on various platforms, solving user problems, etc, all of which cost money.

At best, you can expect MS to be indifferent about this, which is what they're doing. It costs nothing and it might sell a unit or two. In order to get more sales out of this though they'd have to advertise it as such and fully support is as I mentioned above, which may or may not be profitable in the end.
 

capacollo

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I think I have to agree with Microsoft. I believe this is more reverse-engineering than hacking since you're not altering the state of the hardware or software but allowing the ability to communicate and decode the data from it...

In any case for the person to this and so quickly is impressive...
 

Delusibeta

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Mar 7, 2010
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Hacked... ehh no. Do have to back Microsoft on this one: this is not hacking Kinect in the same way as hacking your 360 to play pirated games. It's making a driver so that it works (somewhat) on Windows. It's a bit like arguing the developers of the XBCD drivers hacked the Xbox controller: no they didn't.
 

SexMeat

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Interestingly, the bounty is now $3,000.

http://www.adafruit.com/blog/2010/11/08/the-bounty-is-now-3k-software-giant-says-engineers-linking-of-camera-based-system-to-windows-7-pc-does-not-constitute-hacking/
 

ZephrC

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JediMB said:
No modifi--

Okay, stop being retarded, Microsoft. Hacking a device, such as a computer, has always been gaining unlawful access to the device through electronic means.
That's the catch though. It's illegal to modify the Kinect's hardware or software. It's not illegal to write a program for your computer that can read the Kinect's unmodified output. Thus Microsoft is correct, it's not technically a hack.

I'm sure Microsoft would love to sue everyone involved here, but they can't, so we get this statement instead.
 

Popido

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Im confused. Are they letting the grey hatter get away? Thats cool tho.

Or

"lol, you cant play kinetic games on pc. their for xbox exclusive. :D"

ZephrC said:
That's the catch though. It's illegal to modify the Kinect's hardware or software. It's not illegal to write a program for your computer that can read the Kinect's unmodified output. Thus Microsoft is correct, it's not technically a hack.

I'm sure Microsoft would love to sue everyone involved here, but they can't, so we get this statement instead.
Ok, that explains it. They dont really need to have any opinion about this. :p
 

Danpascooch

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Apr 16, 2009
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I'm with Microsoft here, sure it's interesting, but not a "hack" from Microsoft's point of view, as in "Oh shit, it's been hacked, we're fucked now"
 

BrunDeign

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Microsoft, why don't you have a seat?

Ok now, say this with me slowly.

YOU... DON'T... WANT... TO... EGG... PEOPLE... ON.

Saying that it isn't technically hacking until someone modifies it is LITERALLY ASKING SOMEONE TO DO THAT JUST TO PROVE YOU WRONG.

Also to anyone who think Kinect would actually work for computer, think about the space limitations again. Your PC is probably the electronic device that requires the least space to do anything, so naturally (at least for me) it would be in one of the smaller rooms in the house.

Besides there is nothing that you could play on a PC with Kinect that I wouldn't be able to do better with a mouse.
 

Popido

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BrunDeign said:
Also to anyone who think Kinect would actually work for computer, think about the space limitations again. Your PC is probably the electronic device that requires the least space to do anything, so naturally (at least for me) it would be in one of the smaller rooms in the house.

Besides there is nothing that you could play on a PC with Kinect that I wouldn't be able to do better with a mouse.
Headtracking.

Also it might be able to track facial expressions. Or create 3D touch-screen on canvas and ofcourse on thin air. Or imitade 3D by tracking the viewers position. Holografic coping perhaps? The huge modding community on the PC could study and find ways to use it on games and everyday devices.

But to play Kinetic's games...eeh, maybe on a emulator.
 

Optimystic

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Scars Unseen said:
I, for one, support Microsoft's stance on this. After all, no hack = no legal action.
This. Seriously people, did you WANT MS to call it a hack and go after the braniac who pulled it off???
 

EHKOS

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elexis said:
Question is, why would Microsoft care? If they are making money of each Kinect sale and the homebrew software isn't competing against Microsoft software then it's a win-win for them.
They wouldn't....yet. You still have to buy the Kinect anyways UNTIL someone is able to use a webcam or the like to emulate it.
 

BrunDeign

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Popido said:
Headtracking.

Also it might be able to track facial expressions. Or create 3D touch-screen on canvas and ofcourse on thin air. Or imitade 3D by tracking the viewers position. Holografic coping perhaps? The huge modding community on the PC could study and find ways to use it on games and everyday devices.

But to play Kinetic's games...eeh, maybe on a emulator.
What good would head tracking do? Again Kinect requires how much space. Unless we're now talking about a Playstation Eye-size thing. If that's the case it's obviously off the topic of whether or not Kinect would work.
 

Catalyst6

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Logan Westbrook said:
Kinect's launch in the US prompted a challenge [http://www.escapistmagazine.com/news/view/105035-Hack-Kinect-Win-Money] from Adafruit Industries, who offered a $1,000 bounty for the first person to get the sensor to output video and distance information to something other than an Xbox 360. When Adafruits learned of Microsoft's displeasure at the contest, it upped the prize to $2,000, and threatened to take it ever higher.
Adafruit Industries, I don't know what you do, but I applaud you for sticking it to Microsoft in such a fantastic way. A+
 

theriddlen

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Microsoft is right, this is not a hack, because there are no modifications in device. It's just a method for reading the signals that Kinect outputs.
 

Staskala

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Of course they were going to pull back.
I bet some Microsoft employee heard about "someone offering money for hacking the kinect" and immediately jumped the gun without any further research.
Then someone else realized that it was not about cracking the system to play "illegally aquired software" but for hobby engineering. Something a company can't even do anything against legally.

Of course we could also assume that someone at Microsoft really took offense to this contest and tried to pull a lawsuit only to realize that it isn't possible. But that only makes them look like bigger idiots.

We'll never know for sure...