A patent filed in November 2011 (and made available to the public this month) for an achievement system when watching television and video programming hints that Microsoft may be considering plans to woo users with virtual and physical rewards, according to a report by GamesIndustry International.
"Television viewing tends to be a passive experience for a viewer without many opportunities for the viewer to engage or have interactive experiences with the presented content," reads the application. "To increase interactive viewing and encourage a user to watch one or more particular items of video content, awards and achievements may be tied to those items of video content."
Dubbed “Awards and Achievements Across TV Ecosystems”, the listing can be found on the US Patent and Trademark Office website. It includes potential scenarios to compensate users for viewing specific programming, watching commercials, or interacting with on-screen events as tracked by the Kinect. The latter may include tracking your lounge room to check you’re there, or asking you to "display a product that is imaged by a camera, and the computing system may identify the product".
According to the application, spectators who view a single event, such as the Super Bowl, or watch an entire season of video content may be rewarded.
"Additionally, by tying the awards and achievements to particular items of video or advertising content, viewers may be encouraged to increase their viewership of the content, thus increasing advertising opportunities," the patent reads.
Rewards for viewers could include an increase in an Xbox Gamerscore-style point system, Xbox Live avatar clothing and items, physical goods, or unlocks of previously inaccessible content, though no specifics were provided.
GameSpot contacted Microsoft to confirm whether any of the features listed in the patent application will be supported by the company's upcoming Xbox One console. A spokesperson was unavailable for comment at time of publication.
This latest filing by Microsoft shares similarities with a previous patent that describes monitoring viewers watching content.