Microsoft Kinect, the remote-free controller system for the Xbox, hasn’t got a problem with black people after all.

A report earlier this week from from GameSpot — that players with darker skin are having a hard time making the gesture recognition system work — has been countered by tests at Consumer Reports.

Rather, poor lighting is to blame when Kinect behaves poorly, the consumer products reviews publisher, Consumers Union, reported today.

Kinect’s facial recognition system did fail in low lighting to recognize both black and white faces.

“Essentially (when logging-in to the system), the Kinect recognized both players at adequate light levels and failed to recognize both players at levels that were too low,” according to a statement from Consumers Union. “At no time did it recognize one player and not the other.” (Emphasis is Consumers Union’s.)

Gameplay in even total darkness — the system uses an infrared camera to recognize hand gestures — worked fine in Consumer Reports’ tests.

Today’s statement from Consumers Union did encourage Kinect players to keep the lights on, however, “to avoid unintentionally jumping or bumping into room furniture or other objects on the floor.”

Consumer Reports’ publishers claim to have debunked a similar rumor about a racist HP laptop earlier this year.

About The Author

Mark Baard is a Blast editor-at-large

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