A Sony patent called "System for converting television commercials into interactive networked video games" is trying to do...well, exactly what its title says it's trying to do.

In basic terms, Sony is looking at a way for its game consoles to detect when an advertisement being "broadcast or streamed" contains an "interactive segment". When it does, parts of the commercial can then be turned into a "mini-game commercial that can be played with other 'viewers' in a common or disperse demographic".

These interactive ads would be short, as the patent later says "In a preferred embodiment, the termination of the interactive mini-game commercial is set within a fixed time period commensurate with traditional spot television advertising."

Which I read as: Wario Ware-esque mini-games, sponsored by Jeep/Coke/McDonalds/Nike. Which when you think of it that way isn't a terrible idea. At least it beats simply watching as a company makes its pitch to your eyeballs.

The patent was filed in 2009, but was only made public yesterday. As usual, don't go expecting Sony to announce this anytime soon; patents are just ideas, so while Sony is certainly thinking about stuff like this, there's no guarantee the technology will ever come to market.


System for converting television commercials into interactive networked video games [USPTO, via Game'N'Motion]