Microsoft may be planning to bring ‘real’ adverts to the Xbox 360 dashboard within the next year. I don’t think any of us need to be brain surgeons or rocket scientists to see this has the potential to go horribly wrong.
According to MediaPost Microsoft “plans to bring IAB (Interactive Advertising Bureau) specifications for rich media technologies, including Silverlight, to Xbox Live within the year.” The intention, says Sean Alexander, Microsoft’s Advertising Business Group director, is to make it simpler for advertisers to run campaigns across multiple platforms, suggesting that that advertising on the Xbox 360 will be offered alongside Web, TV, mobile phone and Surface – the other four platforms Microsoft plans to span. According to Alexander, “We are just starting to scratch the surface of what’s possible.”
Microsoft says that by offering Silverlight across a wide range of platforms advertisers will be able to spend more time working on creating quality creative and less time repurposing that content to suit its intended point of display. Which sounds pretty plausible, I suppose.
The main issue here is where those adverts will be displayed on the Xbox 360. There’s certainly space on the dashboard for ad placements. However, the display of any adverts will presumably have to be limited to Silver Live accounts – I can’t see anyone paying for their access to the full-fat Live experience being too happy about seeing ads on their screen; especially when the neither rival platform charges for a similar level of access ad-free.
Update: Microsoft responds.