NEW YORK — Looking to debunk a report that Microsoft's new motion-sensing video game controller might be racist, Consumer Reports says it found no evidence that Kinect has problems recognizing users with darker skin.
GameSpot, a popular video game website, said earlier it found through testing Kinect that its facial recognition camera system did not work properly for some players with darker skin.
Consumer Reports said Thursday the problem is related to low-level lighting, and not directly to players' skin color. Kinect's camera, it says, needs enough light and contrast so it can determine players' facial features. Then it can perform software recognition and log them in to the Xbox gaming system.
Microsoft launched Kinect on Thursday. (Msnbc.com is a joint venture of Microsoft and NBC Universal.)
GameSpot said it continued its testing of Kinect Thursday "with more users in different rooms and different clothing. At first, the two employees who originally would not be recognized by the camera were correctly identified on the first try."
However, said GameSpot, "when one changed from a light blue shirt to a black shirt (but stayed in the same room with the same lighting), the camera again failed to recognize him after multiple calibration tests. It also failed to recognize another darker-skinned GameSpot employee after four calibration attempts."
The goal of Kinect "is to break down the barriers for everyone to play, and it will work with people of all shapes and ethnicities at launch," a Microsoft spokesperson told GameSpot. Any Kinect owners who are having calibration or recognition problems can call 1-800-469-9269, the company said.
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