A Microsoft patent published recently reveals that the company is looking at awarding achievements to users for watching linear video content.
The patent, which is titled Awards and Achievements Across TV Ecosystem and was first reported on by Games Industry International, explores the idea of rewarding viewers with achievements in a similar way that games on the Xbox 360 reward players for completing certain tasks within video games. The patent does not indicate which platform this technology would be applied to — there are no references to the Xbox One, Xbox 360 or Windows platforms — however at the recent Xbox One reveal, Microsoft focused heavily on the console's television-related features.
The background of the document reads: "Traditional television viewing experiences tend to be passive, and do not frequently provide opportunities for a viewer to engage with the programming. Additionally, with the proliferation of digital video recording devices, advertisers are finding it increasingly difficult to introduce their advertisements to viewers."
It continues: "To increase interactive viewing and encourage a user to watch one or more particular items of video content, awards and achievements may be tied to those items of video content. Producers, distributors, and advertisers of the video content may set viewing goals and award a viewer who has reached the goals."
Examples of goals listed include watching an entire series from beginning to end, watching a certain number of commercials contained within the linear video content and "performing a specific action while watching the linear video content."
Awards listed in the patent include virtual viewer scores (presumably similar to Xbox Live's gamer score) and physical awards like coupons and products.
The complete patent application can be viewed here.