Kinect To Play Major Role In Next-Gen Ads
Several executives and developers in Microsoft's advertising department have confirmed that commercials will be a major part of the Xbox One's operating system, which has reportedly been built around a new wave of interactive ads.
“It’s going to be an exciting transition though because the 360 console wasn’t built with advertising in mind, it was more of an afterthought, so we’ve had to adapt to the technology and how we work to fit them in to the console,” said Xbox LIVE Advertising's Technical Account Manager in a candid chat with StickTwiddlers, “whereas this new one is going to have advertising in mind. So a lot of the limitations that we have now, hopefully the release of the boundaries will widened so the opportunities will be a lot greater.
“With the new Xbox One, the technology and Kinect has improved a lot, so that actually 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 [sic] that into advertising that we do," he continued, suggesting that Kinect's motion tracking, voice and facial recognition could be used to tailor advertisements to specific consumers and present more compelling interactive commercials. The 'Nuad' campaign, launched with the Xbox 360 Metro dashboard, was never quite able to capitalise on this.
“It’s not like when you’re at work when you sit in front of a screen and your experience is very personal," explains Senior Digital Art Director/UX Designer. "But with Xbox, it’s lots of people in front of once big screen. They are playing or watching together and advertising is being consumed in a totally different way.”
"On Xbox, the ad is part of the actual experience, it’s not something that is outside. 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. 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.”
Kinect will also be invaluable for collecting metrics on Xbox Live consumers... BUT advertisers will only have access to a tiny fraction of this information. While developers will receive a much more robust set of metrics about player demographics and behaviour to inform game design, the advertising department can only use a limited set.
“This sort of works at two levels,” the Microsoft employee added. “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, 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.”
The Xbox 360's plethora of adverts has been a controversial sticking point for many gamers, though some argue that it's often led to them enjoying games, films or music they otherwise mightn't have heard about.