Microsoft could eventully award achievements to users for TV watching, that is if the company's patent application recently published by the US Patent and Trademark Office ever comes to fruition.
Games Industry International first uncovered the patent application, titled "Awards and Achievements Across TV Ecosystem", and asserted the idea that Microsoft planned to combine its new Xbox One with television by awarding achievements for watching TV.
An example described in the patent includes giving achievements for watching a single show or series of a single show. Viewers would earn their achievements similar to how gamers now earn rewards on the Xbox 360, but the patent does not specify in which platform - whether the Xbox One or even Windows - the technology would land.
Microsoft clearly has a focus on home entertainment with the Xbox One, however, as evident by the console's bevy of TV-related functions. The new console has capabilities that extend beyond gaming, because it is designed chiefly to toggle between playing games and cable television. Previous gaming consoles could only play games, but the Xbox One is a feature-loaded machine ready and able to take on the TV, and Microsoft's patent application is the type of technology that could help make the Xbox One the focus of everybody's lounge.
The patent application also mentioned using the Kinect, for instance, to capture viewers performing specific actions while they watch. Examples include having a viewer watch an entire series and commercials and then perform "a specific action while watching the linear video content". The technology would ensure the viewer is in the room and can even request the viewer to hold a specific item, where the camera would then capture the item and reward an achievement.
"To increase interactive viewing and encourage a user to watch one or more particular items of video content, awards and achievements may be tied to those items of video content," explained Microsoft in the patent. "Additionally, 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."
The patent said awards could range from virtual viewer scores to physical awards such as coupons and products.