In Japan, consumers use 2-D bar codes that interact with mobile devices to pay bills and download content. Microsoft is betting U.S. marketers and mobile users will adopt the technology, which can be integrated with outdoor advertising, in-store displays, packaging and other out-of-home media to deliver premiums, coupons, content extras as well as serve as a platform for ad tracking. "There's a currency system that gamers understand, such as points, achievement and secret levels. We want the tags to be part of the fun instead of a blatant interruption," said Mark Kroese, general manager of entertainment and devices advertising for Microsoft.

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