A new way to play
Advertising Week 2010 in New York saw Microsoft Advertising announce a ground-breaking new marketing platform. The imminent release of Kinect for Xbox 360 has seen a handful of brands deciding to advertise through the medium of controller-free, interactive games.
Kinect uses a sensor to recognize and respond to the movements of the player. It also responds to voice commands, which is showcased in the stunning Kinect preview videos of 'Milo', the virtual boy. The hands-free, whole-body experience promises to be immersive and intuitive; players will be able to physically explore a world and interact with branded content.
21st century product placement
T-Mobile has signed up for product placement throughout Kinect Sports, including bowling balls and volleyball nets bearing the T-mobile logo, as well as a US-wide Play and Win contest. Rival telecoms giant Sprint will be sponsoring Kinect Adventures, allowing guests at the New York Comic Con to play a month before the official release on November 4th 2010.
Most exciting, perhaps, is Chevrolet's plan. Kinect Joy Ride will allow players to test-drive Chevrolet vehicles, by grasping an imaginary steering wheel and leaning around corners. More cars will be available for download, and others will be unlocked at higher levels.
Although the Kinect experience promises to be exciting, in-game advertising is nothing new. For example, EA Games used Gatorade product placement in several basketball and hockey games, resulting in a sharp rise in sales. And back in 2008, Xbox racing game Burnout Paradise featured 'Obama for President' billboards. Cementing the burgeoning popularity of in-game ads, just a fortnight ago the IAB UK released a guide to advertising within console, online and mobile games.