Microsoft pushes in-game ads

22 June 2011

NEW YORK: Microsoft has released further details about NUAds, its suite of voice-activated in-game ads for the Xbox console.

The New York Times reports that the system will leverage the firm's successful Kinect device, which uses motion sensors to allow gamers to play without the need for a controller.

Users will be able to interact with the ads by voice. For example, by saying "Xbox tweet", the user can send out a message about the spot via their Twitter account.

Alternatively, saying "Xbox email" enables them to receive an emailed message giving further details about the product or service being advertised.

NuAds will also have a significant mobile element. Saying "Xbox near me" will prompt an automated message to the user's phone, containing a map to the nearest store selling the product.

Executive communications director at Saatchi & Saatchi Los Angeles, John M. Lisko, said the system was "phenomenal".

He added: "The new ad units really epitomized the level of engagement that everyone is working towards."

Also speaking to the newspaper, Mark Kroese, general manager of Microsoft Advertising, said the system "create[s] a natural way for the user to engage with the TV".

Earlier this week, Microsoft released results of an international survey it had conducted with BBDO Worldwide, which highlighted the strong bond many consumers still felt with their TV - via which most Xbox users play games.

A total of 1,500 consumers in five countries - China, Russia, Saudi Arabia, the UK and the US - were asked about their "emotional connections" with media devices such as TVs, PCs and mobile phones.

TVs were characterised as an "old, reliable and entertaining friend", while mobile phones are more like a "new lover".

The report added: "There has never been a better time for television advertising to seize the moment.

"Whether viewing on a TV screen, PC (in the role of a TV set) or Xbox, audiences are receptive, waiting to be entertained and humored."

Data sourced from New York Times/Microsoft/BBDO Worldwide; additional content by Warc staff