In what looks to be a pretty big potential coup for Microsoft and Xbox 360 Kinect sales, a new type of interactive advertising is on the way for Spring of 2012. NUads (natural user-interfaced ads) will begin showing up in video games and other downloadable content soon, and allow gamers to actually interface with advertisments that will respond to voice commands and gestures (like a thumbs up or down to place a product review).
Even without weighing the massive financial possibilities of these NUads, as no doubt advertisers will flock to this new access to gamers and pay a pretty penny to do it, this technology is just another step toward complete interactive/submersive gaming. THR reports about the introduction of NUads at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity on Tuesday. The interactive technology was introduced early this month at the gaming Mecca E3., showcasing the ability to “customize virtual weapons through gestures and voice,” as well as speak directly to in-game characters and visit a virtual Disney theme park from your living room.
With the launch of NUads next Spring, Microsoft will provide advertisers the ability to reach the coveted “gamer demographic” of 18-34-year-olds through interactive commercials in not only video game content, but traditional TV and movie entertainment content as well.
Kinect owners will be able to interact with the NUads, which may include voice commands like “Xbox more” to get more product information, or “Xbox Tweet” to share the ad with others. There’s even a command to find a retailer near you with the product with “XboxNear Me.” The Kinect ads will also be able to read gestures like a thumbs up or down, or a hand wave. This will allow Kinect users to vote on products, and can potentially be used for a whole range of products, down to even a favorite pizza topping.
Obviously, the ability to embed interactive ads in video games and streaming content is full of potential. Not only will advertisers be able to target certain demographics, but pre-sale numbers and estimates can tell them exactly how many people might be exposed to their product ads. Some experts in the field say this is a step toward Xbox Kinect becoming a full TV provider as well as the video streaming and free game forums they already host. And word has it that to encourage the NUads launch, Xbox will be cutting prices on the Kinect and offering other incentives.
The price cuts have me excited, as a consumer, and the idea of the interactive game technology to come. Though the idea of advertising “getting” to me from all sides is somewhat disturbing. I do see this move as one that will position Xbox Kinect as a dominate player among gaming modules, and if I was going to buy stock I’d invest in Microsoft right about now.