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Microsoft applies for patent on TV achievements

Xbox One maker calls dibs on technique to encourage viewership of shows and ads

Xbox One is intended to combine users' gaming and TV watching in a single device, but Microsoft's plan to merge the two goes beyond sticking them in the same plastic casing. Last November, the company applied for a patent on an Xbox 360-like achievements system for watching TV.

"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," the application states. "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."

Two examples given include doling out achievements for watching a single event like the Super Bowl, or for watching an entire series of a single show.

"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," according to the application.

Microsoft also envisioned using the Kinect motion-sensing camera in tandem with this system. For example, achievements may be tied to viewers performing specific actions while they watch a show. The system can make sure the user is simply in the room while it plays, or it can tell the user to hold up a specific product. The camera would then scan the item held up and reward the user with an achievement.

The patent application details a variety of possible rewards, including points for a GamerScore-like tally that is viewable by other users, new clothes and props for an avatar, virtual money for a game, or even physical rewards.

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Latest comments (11)

Ummmm... what?!?
The couch potato badge!

"Watch 20hrs of TV in a day, and we'll send you a free coupon for a Whopper!"
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Microsoft also envisioned using the Kinect motion-sensing camera in tandem with this system. For example, achievements may be tied to viewers performing specific actions while they watch a show.
oh god, this with the fact that the kinect can monitor heart rates, my god, add porn into mix and the jokes write themselves.
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Adam Yau Game Programmer 3 years ago
A way to catch people who didn't buy their TV licenses.
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Show all comments (11)
Paul Smith Dev 3 years ago
Who wants this?!
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Greg Wilcox Creator, Destroy All Fanboys! 3 years ago
I wonder how many points you get for NOT changing the channel during commercials or fast forwarding through them? That and yeah, I can see Skinemax achievements popping up unexpectedly and scaring the crap out of some unexpecting viewers trying to enjoy a little private time... eek.
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Axel Cushing Games Editor 3 years ago
Ladies and Gentlemen, what Microsoft has just said is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard. At no point in their rambling, incoherent statement were they even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone on the Internet is now dumber for having read it. I award them no points, and may God have mercy on their souls.
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Robert Tsao Game Designer, Bad Juju Games3 years ago
With the recent articles that have been cropping up since the Xbox One reveal, I've been trying to remain calm by reading as much as I can about specs and developments and parsing the information as objectively as possible.

This kind of information does not help my plight in the slightest. I previously thought, "we need to calm down, wait for E3 before we resort to the pitchforks and torches". Now? Frankly, I'm disgusted by this. As of now, we haven't seen any games, but I don't think the absence of games are even a valid talking point anymore.

TL;DR: I think it's insulting that Microsoft even believes that that reveal event, along with all of this information, is acceptable as proper messaging in the first place.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Robert Tsao on 24th May 2013 11:15pm

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Paul Jace Merchandiser 3 years ago
As long as you can get these watching the free tv and movie apps like Crackle or CW then I have no problem with it. But I won't be buying tv shows or movies from Xbox video just to get achievements. But this feature has the potential to appeal to many of the millions of achievements whores out there, myself included. But for me, it's only going to work if it applies to the free apps.
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Doesn't this fall into the bloody obvious category given what's come before?

I'm all for inventors being able to protect their inventions however it's simply taking something that already has been done and applying it to TV.
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Andrew Goodchild Studying development, Train2Game3 years ago
Surely the original idea for achievements were that you, ya'know, achieve something. I know right from the start bad movie cash ins offered easy achievements to incentivise playing lacklustre games, but really, saying you have achieved something by sitting through something passively? Although, let's face it, "Game of Thrones" or "Doctor Who" won't need achievements to make you sit through them, some terrible show a network wants to push will. I suppose I do find challenge in sitting through an episode of "Two and a Half Men".
Maybe they can use Kinect to see if you cringe during "Embarrising Bodies", if not you get the iron stomah award.
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Andy Samson QA Supervisor, Digital Media Exchange3 years ago
If you think the Zombie apocalypse started with a virus or some dreadful disease, that's not it. It's TV that will turn people into Zombies!
Microsoft wants your butt glued to the couch and sends you subliminal images while the Kinect scans and alters your brain waves.
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