Microsoft to bring interactive ads to Xbox Live

Silverlight and other rich media platforms will be made compatible "within the year"

Xbox Live advertisers will soon be able to create interactive campaigns for multiple Microsoft formats, as the company plans to bring Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) specifications for rich media technologies - including its own Silverlight software - to services within the year.

The move will enable companies to build advertising campaigns for four different formats - desktop, television, mobile phone and Microsoft's touch platform Surface - meaning advertisers can spend less time re-purposing campaigns across multiple platforms.

"We are just starting to scratch the surface of what's possible," Sean Alexander, director at Microsoft's advertising business group told MediaPost. "As a marketeer, your job is to build an emotional connection with the brand, no matter the platform."

Silverlight is a cross-platform technology that Microsoft developed in response to the popular Adobe Flash format, and Silverlight-powered media on Xbox 360 would have the same appearance as ads viewed on a web browser, be capable of delivering 1080p HD and 5.1 surround sound direct to the console.

According to Alexander, the move will allow agencies to focus on creative expression rather than the underpinnings of technology. The biggest challenge however, will be in developing the tools and "jump starting resources" using Silverlight and other rich media platforms to make the best of them when building campaigns for the Xbox.

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