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Will Game Ads Be Less Annoying if You Interact with Them

Microsoft says it plans to roll out interactive in-game Kinect ads soon, but are we ready?

Ready for interactive Kinect ads? Ready or not, Microsoft's planning to make them part of your motion-control-verse soon. The company says it'll roll out something it calls NUads—the NU's short for "natural user interface"—later this year. The idea's somewhat self-evidently to engage you in ways traditional TV ads can't.

True, using your hands to interact with a commercial is unique, but riddle me this: Would you take the time to place Kinect's virtual hand over an ad spot, proceed to watch it, then actually share it with a friend? If the ad's the guy-on-a-horse Old Spice commercial, sure. But that sort of ad comes along, what, once a year? Once a decade?

Are we supposed to be excited about interactive ads? Because I'm not about ads in general. I know some of you are—not because you are really, but because you see it as some sort of free market flag-waving thing. All I know is that I already spend way too much of my web-browsing day thwarting messy, dictatorial ads that wrestle control of my computer from me. You know what I'm talking about: flash panels that descend like show-curtains, audio files that auto-play without warning, video overlays that obscure the "close," "pause," and "mute" buttons, and so on. I despise that stuff. And it's not a "want something for free" thing—I'd gladly pay to make them go away.

But okay, a few things that do sound helpful about NUads (though these need not be unique to Kinect): Scheduling reminders to watch a show when the show ad pops up (even better, scheduling my DVR to record it, though that's something Kinect can't do), finding businesses near me related to the product sold (say a car dealer), and "waving" to summon ad-related polls, maybe something like "What about DC's new full comics universe reboot idea do you hate least?"

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