Microsoft has played a big part in the development of social gaming and interactive TV. Take a look at what Breakthrough Summit speaker -- and Microsoft's GM of advertising -- Mark Kroese has to say about what lies ahead.
Mark Kroese, general manager of Microsoft's IEB advertising business group, sat down with iMediaConnection to discuss his presentation at the Breakthrough Summit in Miami. Read on for a glimpse of what Microsoft believes the present can teach us about the future of social gaming and interactive TV.
iMedia: Microsoft has games across multiple platforms. How are you bridging these experiences so it's more appealing for marketers?
Kroese: Microsoft has been very focused on uniting all of its gaming platforms, making it very easy for these content experiences to flow across the multiple screens in your life. For example, in November, we launched the Microsoft Game Hub that ties Microsoft's casual gaming properties together in a unified experience across MSN Games, connecting players across platforms and their social circles, with a great games experience at the center.
For advertisers, this trend is huge because social gaming is increasingly becoming the central place where the audience is spending their time. The numbers are nothing short of staggering. Consider this: Today, a whopping 870 million consumers play casual, social, or mobile games. That's about one-third of the planet's digital population. In fact, the casual and social gaming audience is expected to surpass the primetime TV audience by 2012.
iMedia: With the advent of motion-sensor technology in gaming, what new opportunities do you see opening up to marketers to get involved in gaming in more immersive, engaging ways?
Kroese: When I talk to advertisers about where TV is headed and how Xbox LIVE delivers entertainment into the living room, the new frontiers of Kinect advertising inevitably come up. I'm seeing a new kind of excitement from our clients who sense that Kinect is a game changer not only for consumers, but for consumer brands.
In November, we launched a new advertising format in the Kinect Hub. Instead of clicking on these ads with a controller or a remote, you actually "touch" the ad with your hand. This gives consumers an unprecedented level of engagement with advertising. We're amazed at the initial click-through rates to this new advertising format. We'll continue to innovate with the Kinect advertising format, which is an exciting opportunity for the creative agency community.
iMedia: What's your favorite multi-platform campaign of the last year?
Kroese: I really liked T-Mobile's Kinect launch campaign. T-Mobile has been an Xbox advertising pioneer. They took advantage of the immersive user experience in "Kinect Sports" with fixed product placements throughout the games, including volleyball net signage, custom bowling balls, and foam fingers held by the arena audience.
T-Mobile also advertised on the Xbox 360 console inviting Xbox members to visit a website on the dashboard to access exclusive video content and participate in the first launch weekend Play and Win contest, with prizes including Family Xbox Gold memberships. And they sponsored "Kinect Sports" Play and Win programs with two Xbox Family Game Nights in November and January.
iMedia: What's on your gadget wishlist?
Kroese: I already have a Windows Phone 7 and three Kinect systems in my very digital home, so it's hard to imagine what more I could need. What I really want is more time to play with all of these new digital toys. In addition to being in this industry, I'm also a consumer -- and it's never been a better time to be a consumer!Lucia Davis is associate editor at iMedia Connection.
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