Sony recently filed a patent for a new method of ad delivery that would turn television commercials into "interactive networked video games." The patent, uncovered
, details a number of interactive commercial possibilities built on the motion and voice technologies currently available in Sony's PlayStation 3, PlayStation Move, and PS Eye devices. By interacting with commercials, users are able to progress past them more quickly, getting them back to their desired program.
The ads detail a number of interactive scenarios. In one, a viewer throws a pickle at a Burger King hamburger in order to speed up a commercial. In another, the viewer shoots targets on the screen, to unknown effect. In yet another, the viewer is prompted to "say 'McDonald's' to end commercial," at which point the viewer stands, says "McDonald's," and then sits as the desired programming recommences. It is unclear whether the viewer would be required to stand when saying a brand name or whether a seated pronunciation would be sufficient.
Beyond those interactions, the patent also details a system for purchasing items and services through the commercial. One user is shown ordering a pizza through an advertisement. Another is seen voting in some sort of live contest. Another scenario depicts users choosing branching content paths in what may be a commercial or a movie, with one user choosing "action" and another choosing "romance." Each is then shown a video clip in the genre chosen.
Other aspects of the patent cover the technological infrastructure necessary to deliver such interactive content, as well as the means by which to analyze it and integrate it with advertisers' existing systems. Sony isn't alone in the push to bring more interactive ads to television viewers. TiVo and PayPal recently announced a partnership
that will allow viewers to purchase goods and donate money with just a few button presses. That feature is expected to roll out some time this fall. Likewise, Microsoft has filed a patent describing mood-based monitoring on its Kinect peripheral
, which would serve ads to viewers based on the Kinect's perception of their mood. [via SlashGear