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.