A new Microsoft patent has some Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S users worried about the future of gaming on both Xbox consoles. The patent in question is dubbed “Providing Personalized Content for Unintrusive Online Gaming Experience.” What does “Personalized Content” mean? Well, in this instance it means ads. That’s right, Microsoft has been exploring how to provide personalized ads in games.
How exactly the data would be collected to provide this experience, and how it would work with games where ad placement isn’t seemingly possible, we don’t know. The patent doesn’t go into either of these things in detail, but it does provide some examples including billboards in a driving game or the ad board that lines a soccer field. You could imagine in a game like GTA 6 this could be a billboard on the thruway or achieved through the game’s clothing. How you would get ads placed into something like Elden Ring though, is less clear.
“A method for providing content to a user during gameplay includes determining that the user is interacting with a game provided by an online streaming provider and identifying a time frame within the game during which the user’s interaction with the game are predicted to be below a threshold interaction count,” reads an abstract of the patent. “The method includes identifying a location within the game environment for overlaying content during the time frame and identifying content for displaying to the user. The content is to be displayed via an overlay video stream distinct from a gameplay stream. In real-time of the user’s gameplay, the overlay video stream is sent to be displayed to the user concurrently with the gameplay stream to provide the content for the user at the identified location during at least a portion of the time frame.”
It’s important to note there’s no guarantee anything will come of this. Companies like Microsoft file patents all the time, many of which never go anywhere past the conceptual stage. That said, at the same time, this future seems inevitable with many other companies exploring similar technology.
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