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Xbox 360 to Get Interactive, Kinect-Enabled “NUads” for its Streaming Content

When it comes to the idea of futuristic advertising, movies and books tend to present holograms that stalk their prey, calling them by name, following them around, and trying to actually interact with the target as opposed to simply being seen. “NUads” set to come to Xbox 360 streaming video may be a step in that very direction. While they don’t involve holograms and won’t follow you around, NUads are interactive — through Kinect integration — and will try to get you to wave at them starting this fall if you’re watching video on your Xbox through one of the many new Microsoft-partnered sources like ESPN or NBC News.

So far, Toyota, Unilever and Samsung Mobile have all jumped onboard despite the fact that Microsoft is charging what’s being described as a “premium” for ad-space. That is to say NUads are more expensive than cable ads of the same size. The first iteration of NUads will poll watchers, giving the owner of the ad-space access to a few treasured metrics like poll responses and pretty accurate numbers regarding how many people are actually paying attention to any given ad. A Toyota ad, for example, will ask viewers what devices they’d like to see reinvented similarly to how Toyota has “reinvented” some of its cars.

Microsoft is far from killing cable with its streaming content, but the launch of these NUads will mark an important milestone on the company’s journey to create something more like a “media console” than a “gaming console.” By using interaction, Microsoft may be able to overcome the downsides of its initially small viewer base by offering advertisers something they can’t get literally anywhere else: The opportunity to put interactive ads on a television. Of course, NUads may also establish a new benchmark for how annoying an advertisement can be, but thankfully the kind of interactivity NUads plan to have would be almost impossible to implement on anything less standardized and capable than a gaming system.

Microsoft is definitely charging full-speed ahead into the media-space, and that’s all well and good. I just hope that they don’t forget about us gamers. That is, unless they’re still thinking about interactive advertising, in which case I hope they forget about us forever.

(via LA Times)

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