Microsoft is increasing its efforts to place advertisements throughout various products and online games. Microsoft engineers filed a patent earlier this year to describe an “unintrusive” way for personalized ads. And other content to be placed while gamers are playing an internet-connected or cloud-based game.
The patent notes that streaming games are becoming more popular but don’t offer personalization options that would allow for a richer gaming experience.
Microsoft suggests that users should be provided with personalized and immersive content via an online or cloud-based gaming platform. The message is that games can be fun, but ads in games would make them more enjoyable.
The patent describes overlay technology that can determine when a person is streaming a game. It also determines when an action has ebbed, and the user is “below the threshold interaction count.”
The technology would then display the content, such as favorite brands or teams, on the screen through an overlay video stream.
This stream is separate from the game stream and presented in real-time on the screen for at least a portion of the low-action intervals.
To determine the time the ads should be displayed, it would be necessary to review the user’s gaming history and record the games played. Next, identify and aggregate the user’s interactions with the game to determine when they are below the threshold.
Similar techniques will be used to determine where the ads should be placed, such as finding places within the game’s environment that remain visible continuously.
Drawings accompanying the patent show that these locations could include a display at the goal of a soccer game (football), on a billboard near a highway, and the clothing of an avatar of the game sporting the product name, logo, or other information.
Personalization modules or a library of ads from content providers, including Microsoft customers, are used to select the content. Signals from the gameplay also provide input to the content selection module. The data for the ad selection module comes from both the personalization as well as ad collection modules. It can include stock photos and images.
You can choose personalized ads based on your gamer profile and other content that matches the game.
Microsoft states in the patent, “For example, a player/gamer is racing a car,” “The personalization module 122 may allow for categories of content such as running shoes, tennis equipment, or car modification kits. Car modification kits may be the type of overlay selected based on the game’s context (e.g., racing game).
The system’s key feature is that the overlay would display the content during the game. This would save developers time and reduce costs.
Gamesual first discovered this patent. It describes how the overlay system could be used with other applications, including video content streams. Service providers could also set up online games to allow users to play the games at a discounted price or for free if they consent to see the ads and other content, much like how streaming video services organize their offerings.
Microsoft is continuing to expand its advertising business through the overlay service. These ads have been included in the Windows 11 Start Menu and, earlier this year, in Windows Insiders File Explorer. The company also plans to develop low-cost computers that can be paid for by subscriptions and ads. According to reports, Windows giant Microsoft is also considering a “superapp” that could allow it to grow its advertising business.
The patent application dates back to a decade ago when the company filed a Patent for a Content Distribution System that would tap into TVs, computers, and mobile phones to identify every unique viewer of a piece. This would then be charged to the licensee for each one.