Microsoft wants to give you rewards for watching TV and commercials, and that might not be a bad thing

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One of the more addictive additions in gaming came in the form of achievements (rewards). After Microsoft introduced them back in 2005 with the launch of the Xbox 360, its popularity has spread everywhere from their rival Sony all the way to Apple’s GameCenter. But because achievements have proven to be successful, what if Microsoft extended that feature to things like watching TV? Or ads on TV even? According to a recent patent filing, that might very well happen.

The patent is titled Awards and Achievements Across TV Ecosystem, and details a system not unlike the one we have in video games today. Only instead of completing tasks like, “Finish X Game in hardest difficulty without ruining your social life,” the examples say you might have objectives like watching a series from beginning to end or watching a certain number of commercials within a piece of video content.

There’s also a line in the document that reads, “with the proliferation of digital video recording devices, advertisers are finding it increasingly difficult to introduce their advertisements to viewers.” This is definitely true and has been happening for quite some time now, while the advent of “second-screen” devices also make it easier to turn away from the TV when an ad is playing and do something else on a device like your tablet.

Xbox_Sensor_RHS78_TransBG_RGB_2013But there’s two things that can make this system actually work for Microsoft. Gamification and the ability of the next-generation Kinect to see where you’re looking. While achievements for watching TV shows and ads don’t sound particularly exciting by themselves, introducing a gaming or competitive element has worked for wonders for other things. See fitness apps like Fitocracy, or a 6th grade teacher’s amazing journey into the gamification of the classroom. And if Kinect can tell if you’re watching the screen or not, you can’t cheat the system.

No platform was mentioned in the patent filing, but I would assume that Microsoft would bring it to the Xbox One since it’s definitely the most capable hardware of making this a reality. If it ever does become a reality of course, since patent filing does not equal real-world manifestation.

What I’m trying to say is, this doesn’t sound like such a bad idea when you think about it. If it works out for Microsoft and their advertisers, good for them. For the users that enjoy watching TV and would welcome a new element in their consumption of media, then great.

The rest of us who couldn’t care less, we can do the same thing that’s done to some achievements in video games today — ignore them.

What do you think of an achievement system for watching TV? Let us know in the comments!

[via Polygon]

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6 comments

  1. Seamus McSeamus

    [@KMHamm]
    Reminds me of the motion activated adverts in one of the local stores I shop at. Walk past one of the displays, and it starts chattering away about what a great product it is. Annoying, really.

  2. KMHamm

    Guess it’s time to get the eyeball tatoos on my eyelids…. Take a catnap during the commercials. Or maybe set up a mirror and have the Kinect watch itself! Or get two Kinects and have them watch each other. I keep thinking that as these devices get “smarter”, they’ll become increasingly like the pitchmen at carnivals. Walk past the toaster and have it start yelling at you something like, “Hey! Ya wanna toast? Gitcha hot toast hea-yah!” I hesitate to think what’ll happen in the bathroom.