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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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Brendan Sinclair avatar

Brendan Sinclair

Managing Editor

Brendan joined GamesIndustry International in 2012. Based in Toronto, Ontario, he was previously senior news editor at CBS-owned GameSpot in the US.

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