Microsoft Contractors Listened to Xbox Users; Steam China to be Launched by Valve and Perfect World

Microsoft

TheGamingEconomy Daily Digest brings you the trending business stories in gaming. In today’s edition: Microsoft contractors listened to Xbox users; Steam China to be launched by Valve and Perfect World; and Bidstack expands across the US.

Microsoft contractors listened to Xbox users

Contractors have been hired by Microsoft to listen to audio recorded from Xbox consoles, according to anonymous sources speaking to Vice. While the move was purportedly made to improve voice commands and identify when such commands were triggered erroneously, concerns have been raised over user privacy, particularly given that ‘most of the voices’ that were listened to were of children.

Previously Microsoft was found to be using human contractors to transcribe audio from Skype and Cortana users, and comes amid a series of revelations that big tech companies Apple, Google, and Amazon, have also been using people to listen to audio recordings on their platforms.

In a statement, a Microsoft spokesperson said, “We’ve long been clear that we collect voice data to improve voice-enabled services and that this data is sometimes reviewed by vendors.” This is despite the fact the company’s privacy policy did not explicitly state that voice recordings were reviewed by human contractors until after the practice was revealed by Vice.

Steam China to be launched by Valve and Perfect World

Steam Logo

Steam China is set to be launched by Valve and Perfect World as ‘Zhengqi Pingtai’, which translates to ‘Steam Platform’. While the release date has yet to be announced, the standalone platform will be a more ‘curated’ storefront, and will be launched alongside the global version of Steam, according to an interview with Eurogamer.

In the aforementioned interview, DJ Powers, business development at Valve, stated, “We are expecting excitement from Chinese customers. Dota and CS:GO have been received very well here, and we went through a similar process to get those games through in a Chinese market. So, a lot of this is not new to us. It’s a different animal – it’s a bunch of third-party games and it’s not all stuff that is ours but we’re really expecting the reception to be quite positive”

Bidstack expands across the US

Bidstack

In-game advertising platform Bidstack has announced plans to expand further into the US, with the appointment of John Koronaios as vice president of publisher relations. Koronaios has over two decades of experience within the entertainment and media industry, and assisted the launch of PlayStation in Europe.

“I’m delighted to join the growing Bidstack team and excited by the opportunity to work with such an innovative and dynamic company,” said Koronaios. “My focus will be to help increase knowledge of Bidstack in the US market and forge stronger links with games publishers and developers who I know are keen to work with such revolutionary technology.”

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