The evil empire gets its mojo back

Microsoft wants to charge you admission to your own living room:

Microsoft has filed for a Kinect-related patent, and it’s a doozy of an application. 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.

Wow. Microsoft must have felt insecure in its position as technology’s evil empire.

It remains to be seen whether this “functionality” will be implemented in the next Xbox. Microsoft would be running the risk of a major consumer backlash if they did.

Would that backlash really happen? I’d like to think so, but I’ve found it very hard to predict which actions will result in a consumer revolt and which won’t. Consumers put up with all kinds of intentionally crippled products (DVD players that won’t do their bidding, always-online software, etc.) but then get outraged by things that seem more minor to me (ISPs throttling back people who run high-volume servers over residential lines), so I don’t know where they would land here.

(Via Instapundit.)

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