Microsoft applied last November to patent an Achievements-style system for television.
Arguably one of the most important features introduced in this last generation of videogames have been Achievements. While some regard them as pointless or even annoying, there are others who revel in working through a game and jumping through every hoop its developers could concoct for them. Now, with the Xbox One on the horizon and looking to launch with a wide array of television focused features, Microsoft may be looking into TV-centric Achievements to keep your butt planted firmly on the couch.
While the Xbox One was revealed only a few days ago, Microsoft apparently filed patents last November for an Achievements-style system it could apply to television. The patent application labeled the television viewing experience as a passive one and described a desire to "increase interactive viewing and encourage a user to watch one or more particular items of video content." Doing so could earn viewers "awards and achievements" connected to said content.
In other words, if a person were to watch a certain program or series of videos, the system in question could track that and reward the viewer for doing so. According to the patent application, these Achievements could potentially direct viewers to watch more of targeted content or even to sit through advertisements. "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."
Where this starts to tie into the Xbox more directly is in the idea of integrating the Kinect with the aforementioned Achievements system. The Kinect, for instance, could be used to track if a viewer remains in a room for the duration of a program. According to the patent application it could also be used in product specific Achievements. For instance, an Achievement could be earned for holding a brand of product up to the Kinect during a matching advertisement.
Now, it's important to remember that these are all just ideas on a patent form. We have no current indication that Microsoft or the Xbox One will actually be utilizing any of this. That said, with other groups and companies using Achievement-style concepts to do things like improve productivity and gamify exercise, it's more than a bit amusing to see Microsoft putting such effort into ideas meant to keep you sitting and docile on your couch.
Source: GamesIndustry International