Is X Factor watching you on your webcam?

Several years ago, Aleks made a prediction: that Sony and other games companies would use the explosion of music-based games, such as SingStar and Dance Dance Revolution, to pull new record talent from their pool of millions of players. At the time she was being facetious, but now she is not so sure. While to the layperson the games could be viewed as innocent post-pub fun, there indeed may be something more, er, Fame Academy going on: train players to be vocalists using pitch feedback in SingStar, dancers using floor mats in dancing games and infrared camera systems in the Eye Toy range and band members in Guitar Hero and Rock Band. Observe the budding talent in their living rooms using a secret reversible internal switch in the EyeToy, and when a certain high score is achieved, send an A&R man round to sign the deal. The result is an army of cookie-cutter pop proles with diplomas in interactivity.

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