In-game advertising hasn't proven to be the cash cow many corporations thought it would be earlier in the decade. However, that isn't stopping Microsoft from rolling out a new wave of ads that will encourage audience participation via the Xbox 360's Kinect accessory.
As outlined in the New York Times, the new spots will be called NUads, short for "natural user-interface ads." They will primarily use the Kinect voice-recognition system, asking viewers to issue commands to the console while the advertisement is running. Saying "Xbox Tweet" will prompt the console to issue a message about the ad on the viewer's Twitter feed. "Xbox more" will have the sponsor send an email to the viewer's e-mail account.
Other NUad commands include "Xbox Near Me," which will send a text message with a link to a map showing the nearest retailer carrying a certain product. With ads for television shows, "Xbox schedule" will cause the 360 to send a text message to remind a user when the advertised program is airing.
In terms of motion sensing, the Kinect NUads will potentially let users interact with ads with a wave of the hand. According to the Times, this could potentially include browsing through clothing or selecting pizza toppings.
Unsurprisingly, advertisers are excited about the potential for NUads. "The NUad units really epitomized the level of engagement that everyone is working towards," Saatchi & Saatchi Los Angeles executive communications director John M. Lisko told the newspaper. "You can text, you can tweet, you can vote. That's phenomenal."
Microsoft's latest game advertising initiative comes nearly 10 months after it shuttered its own in-game advertising division, Massive. The software giant had purchased the firm in 2006 in a $200 million to $400 million deal.