Microsoft Applies for a New Achievements Patent

Achievements play a huge part in Microsoft’s gaming consoles. From completing a game on a set difficulty to even simply skipping a tutorial level, achievements provide a bragging right for Xbox owners. Now Microsoft has filed for a new patent on a Television based achievements system, so there’s the potential to earn achievements for watching your favorite series in its entirety!

The patent was originally filed last November, where the company filed a patent for “an Xbox 360-like achievements system for watching TV”. From the looks of it this is intended for the newly announced Xbox One console, giving you more reasons to use the television-capabilities it boasts. Two example achievements were listed with the patent: the first is an example for watching a single event like the Super Bowl, and the second is for watching an entire series of a single show (so now you get rewarded for watching everyone die in Game of Thrones!) The patent application reads:

Television viewing tends to be a passive experience for a viewer, without many opportunities for the viewer to engage or have interactive experiences with the presented content. 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.

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.

Sounds like a great excuse to bombard people with the Kinect advert again! (If you have a Netflix account, you will know what advert I’m talking about).

Microsoft are also looking at using the Kinect while watching shows, and achievements may be tied to this as well. For example you can use the Kinect to simply make sure the player is in the room watching the show, or it may tell the player to hold up a specific item or perform a specific action while watching. These would reward the user with another achievement for their collection.

Anyone feel a little bit like a performing monkey yet? The patent also details more than just achievements as rewards, mentioning Avatar gear, virtual in-game currency and physical items. What do you think: is it just a way for Microsoft to make more money, or is making TV a more interactive experience be a good thing?