Microsoft trying to get politicians to pay for campaign ads on Xbox Live and Skype

Will the Xbox One dashboard be filled with campaign ads this fall?

The Xbox 360 and Xbox One consoles run interactive ad banners on their dashboards. This isn't new; that kind of activity has been going on for a while now. So far, most of them have been for products like cars or for movies. If Microsoft has its way, the near future could see your Xbox One dashboard turn into a political ad location, at least in the U.S.

The Washington Post reports that Microsoft representatives were passing out promotional materials this week at the annual CPAC conservative political conference in Washington DC. The documents were plugging Microsoft's Xbox Live, Skype and MSN services to current and potential candidates as a source for running campaign ads.

The materials stated that Microsoft could create a database of Xbox Live users that could be used as the basis for political ads that would show up in the dashboard of Xbox consoles. Presumably, the ads would be targeted at specific audiences and demographics; in other words, a person living in New York City would see ads for their local candidates while an L.A. resident would see a different set of political messages aimed at their districts.

This isn't the first time gamers or Xbox owners have been subjected to campaign ads. In 2008, U.S. Senator Barack Obama paid for ads that could be seen inside a number of Electronic Arts games during his first U.S. Presidential campaign. President Obama also ran ads on Xbox Live during his 2012 reelection effort.

Source: Washington Post | Image via Microsoft

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dead.cell said,
How about ads for games? Or would that be just a tad bit too far fetched, people using a video game console to buy and play games?
How about no ads? Unless they want to start offering it for free with ads and paid with no ads

Cosmocronos said,
I hope that such ads will be filtered by age as well; it would be despicable to push them in front of a ten years old kid....

I would hope parent's wouldn't feel the need to shelter their children from conflicting viewpoints. (You also realize that family safety/content filtering doesn't remove political ads for kids visiting websites.)

Strange how people are more accepting of murder and zombies eating people than they are contrary opinion.

Edited by Mobius Enigma, Mar 7 2014, 11:20pm :

Mobius Enigma said,

I would hope parent's wouldn't feel the need to shelter their children from conflicting viewpoints.

Strange how people are more accepting of murder and zombies eating people than they are contrary opinion.

First and foremost nowadays the so called political debates are garbage, not something like Socrates and Plato debates; besides if my child were interested in politics, something I strongly doubt at eleven, or when she boots her Xbox to play a game, I would advice her to read some newspapers or, even better, The spirit of the laws by Montesquieu, instead of some snarky advertising.

Cosmocronos said,

First and foremost nowadays the so called political debates are garbage, not something like Socrates and Plato debates; besides if my child were interested in politics, something I strongly doubt at eleven, or when she boots her Xbox to play a game, I would advice her to read some newspapers or, even better, The spirit of the laws by Montesquieu, instead of some snarky advertising.

Ok, there is no way I'm going to defend modern politics. However, just tell your child they are rubbish and to ignore them. Just as I hope you would if it is an advertisement for 'The Walking Dead'.

Taking a stand that politics can be damaging to a child is a bit silly when they are bombarded with war, murder, and monsters on a gaming platform.

(I think we both would agree that any additional content/advertising should be turned off for children, and if I remember correctly there is an option for user profiles that are under age 13 to do that. - If there isn't, we should probably yell at Microsoft about that specifically, instead of getting on about political messages crossing a line.)

Mobius Enigma said,

Ok, there is no way I'm going to defend modern politics. However, just tell your child they are rubbish and to ignore them. Just as I hope you would if it is an advertisement for 'The Walking Dead'.

Taking a stand that politics can be damaging to a child is a bit silly when they are bombarded with war, murder, and monsters on a gaming platform.

(I think we both would agree that any additional content/advertising should be turned off for children, and if I remember correctly there is an option for user profiles that are under age 13 to do that. - If there isn't, we should probably yell at Microsoft about that specifically, instead of getting on about political messages crossing a line.)

I would never said to my child to avoid reading about Politic, with the capitol P, because the people she will vote for will affect her life and the society she will be part of.
Said that there is a difference between political/social readings and political advertisements. As for the Walking dead and Co, I do not watch them but despite as much I dislike the entire zombies frenziness I am also aware that nowadays they have to children the same effect that reading "Snowhite" or "Hänsel und Gretel" had on my generation. Thinking about "The little match girl" by Andersen or "David Copperfield" by Dickens still bother me.

Mobius Enigma said,
I would hope parent's wouldn't feel the need to shelter their children from conflicting viewpoints. (You also realize that family safety/content filtering doesn't remove political ads for kids visiting websites.)

Strange how people are more accepting of murder and zombies eating people than they are contrary opinion.


Conflicting viewpoints and mudslinging ads from spin city are two different things. Advertisements are not a means for education, yet political ads will pose themselves as such. I believe that is some of the problem there.

Fiction is also fiction. A real man or woman telling you they're fighting for what's in your "best interests" is another thing entirely.

If people remember, this isn't the first time. There have been political ads on Xbox 360 services going back to the 2008 election timeframe. Besides, they will be on virtually every website in the upcoming months.

If it is annonimised general data like Age Range, Gender, State/Region data, then that is the same as Facebook etc, and not based on personal documents etc.

Its not nice that this includes Xbox Live subscribers, as they don't get their service for free, but the same happens with Cable TV, so is nothing out of the ordinary.

If the data is individual, and could potentially be traceable, then that would make Microsoft a hypocrite.

The ads are gross, all of them. They don't belong on a device you pay so much money for, including paying for subscriptions and online services. It's disgusting.

Why do we have to see ads on a game console at all? We're already paying for the Xbox Live service along with the price of the console and games. It's not as if Microsoft is some really poor company that is barely making ends meet and has to rely on ad revenue to survive. This kind of greed from them is disgusting.

You pay for cable and see ads on that all the time. Also, it says Live, which would be most owners. It does not say specifically Live Gold, which is paid.

Also, do keep in mind that as much as they're charging for the systems, games, etc., they can still lose money! More streams of revenue means a better chance of breaking even and making a profit. No profit, or not enough to warrant the risk of launching a console, and they'll leave console space. I seem to remember now CEO Satya Nadella not being terribly fond of the Xbox, so if the ROI on the XBO isn't "good enough," it gives him more reasons to cause it to be MS's last console.

You didn't used to see ads on cable, it was pitched as an ad-free way to get programming, since you were subsidizing it. Then slowly they started slipping in the ads..... It's greed, plain and simple.

There should ONLY be gaming related advertiesments on Xbox Live for gold subscribers, anything else and there shoiuld be either an opt out or subscription discount

MS (like all large companies) has spent millions on congressmen. It would be interesting to see who returns the favor.

the Verge and other sources are reporting that these ads are targeted. Do people understand what this means? MICRO-Scroogled! It's Microsoft's version of their ineffective scroogled campaign where they take user data to drive ads to that to particular user or in this case gamer. Wouldn't this be severely hypocritical on Microsoft's part, while at the same time embarrassing to their loyalistic fans?

I think the next question is, will these ads be obtrusive or in-obtrusive like Google.

No no no. Please, please, please not this bull ####! Please!
This is where we go to escape the horrors of US government.
Political anything should be banned from the service.

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