Xbox One advertising will integrate with Kinect

Microsoft logoIt seems the next-generation Kinect sensor that is required on the upcoming Xbox One will be used for more than just voice and movement-based game control. According to a recent interview with the Xbox Live advertising team, Kinect-based controls will also be integrated into the native advertising shown on the Xbox One dashboard.

“With the new Xbox One, the technology and Kinect have improved a lot,” an unnamed Xbox Live advertising technical account manager said in an interview with enthusiast site StickTwiddlers. "The voice recognition, the way you speak to your Xbox, and the transition between gaming and watching TV is a lot smoother, and hopefully we can transpire that into advertising that we do.”

The report doesn't go into detail on just how Kinect will be integrated into the ad-viewing experience, but a Microsoft patent filed in 2011 and published in May could shed some light. The patent describes a system in which advertisers could provide "anything from digital gifts, like a score or some flair for your avatar, or promotional rewards from third-parties, like coupons or products" in exchange for watching ads or for "an action performable by the viewer and detectable by one or more sensors, such as a depth camera." Sony has a similar patent application on camera-based interactive advertising for its consoles.

Microsoft has already experimented with Kinect-powered interactive advertising through its NuAds program on the Xbox 360. Those ads encourage users to speak or gesture at certain points to change the ad or take part in some interactive bit of it. Microsoft said back in January that 37 percent of viewers took the opportunity to engage with the first batch of these ads, using a Kinect-based poll option.

Responding to concerns that the Kinect might be able to give advertisers too much information about user actions, an Xbox Live advertising developer told StickTwiddlers that the ad team doesn't have access to as much granular Kinect data as game developers do. “There’s the game producers who have a different API, so a different set of code and system that they use, and they’ve got a lot more control of the whole thing,” he said, “whereas, from the advertising point of view, we have a slightly more limited set, which is designed to protect the user. The company is very keen on protecting the user from any sort of abuse, so we can’t do certain things.”

Ads on the Xbox One will be integrated into the dashboard, much like native advertising on the Xbox 360. These kinds of ads reportedly have much more engagement than standard banner advertising presented apart from actual content.

"The only difference is that the advertisement we have is quite small and not disruptive, so people are not aware of clicking on the banners because they know this is a part of the whole experience on the dash,” a senior digital art director/UX designer told StickTwiddlers. “So the users know that this is something that when they click on it, they won’t be hit by something crazy or something dangerous like on the Web. Everything that lands there, we create.”

While advertising was "more of an afterthought" on the Xbox 360, the Xbox One "is going to have advertising in mind," according to a technical account manager StickTwiddlers talked to. "So a lot of the limitations that we have now, hopefully the release of the boundaries will be widened so the opportunities will be a lot greater.”

Source: Ars Technica

Tags: game consoles, Kinect, Microsoft, Xbox One

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