New Xbox Kinect Ads Encourage Gamer Participation

Voice and motion controls increase engagement

Thanks to new technology designed to work with Microsoft’s Xbox 360 console and the movement-based Kinect add-on that can be paired with it, users won’t just be able to watch and listen to ads—they’ll be able to interact with them, too.

On Tuesday, Microsoft is planning to announce a new suite of advertising tools called NUads (short for natural user-interface ads) that will allow gamers to use voice and motion commands to engage with advertising on the console’s dashboard or embedded in games and other video content, The New York Times reports.

The new ads target a generation of consumers with very short attention spans. “When you have highly interactive people and a passive medium, they are interacting with their phone or their laptop while watching TV,” said Mark Kroese, the general manager of Microsoft’s advertising business group. The new ads will be easy for advertisers to employ, says the NYT, because they can use the same commercials they would air on television.

While viewing the ads, users will be able to use voice commands to interact with them in a variety of ways—for instance, saying “Xbox Tweet” will send content to Twitter, while “Xbox Near Me” sends a map of the advertiser’s nearest retail location to the user’s phone, and for ads about TV shows, the command “Xbox Schedule” will text a reminder about the program to the user’s phone. Advertisers can even ask gamers to vote in polls on everything from favorite pizza toppings to clothing brands with a wave of their hands.

Microsoft will present the NUads to advertisers at the Cannes Lion festival on Tuesday, and is planning to roll out the new features in spring 2012.