As far as reality TV goes, it was pretty unreal.
There I was, watching my TV, as contestants on The Biggest Loser sweated their way through a workout session that they were watching on a TV screen – exercise content that was delivered through a gaming console – Kinect for Xbox 360. Then I was invited to join the workout session by downloading the TV challenge pack to compete against the same Biggest Loser contestants I just viewed. As one of the on-air contestants put it, “It was like a world within a world within a world. Pretty surreal.”
It’s true--there was a lot more happening on screen during this episode than just great television. I realized I was watching the intersection of what were once entirely separate consumer experiences: reality TV, console gaming and community engagement. The glue that connected these elements into an integrated experience was Kinect for Xbox 360. It was a great demonstration of how this new technology can enable people to engage with content –and connect with each other--in ways that weren’t possible before. By incorporating drills from the Kinect add-on pack for the Biggest Loser game directly into the show, and then enabling Xbox LIVE members to try the same moves and compare their results to the show's contestants, the entertainment experienced was not only extended, but deepened and socialized.
We’ve offered compelling downloadable content through Xbox LIVE hundreds of times before, and with great success. But this is the first time content was integrated with a network TV show in real time, inviting viewers to compete with real contestant’s scores. It could serve as model for bringing together game publishers, advertisers, TV networks, and an audience of millions, in exciting new ways—without breaking a sweat.