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Would You Like Some Fries With That Download?

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 8 years ago | from the happy-meal-tech dept.

Businesses 241

vodkamattvt writes The New York Times is reporting that the Walt Disney Company is hoping to replace happy meal toys with portable media players that could hold Disney movies, music, games, or photos. From the article: "The plan could work something like this: A customer enters a restaurant and buys a meal, receiving the portable media player and an electronic code that authorizes a partial download of a movie, video or other media file, which can be downloaded while in the restaurant, according to a United States Patent and Trademark Office application filed by Disney. Then, with each subsequent return, the customer earns more downloadable data, eventually getting an entire movie or game."

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Obese! (5, Funny)

holzp (87423) | more than 8 years ago | (#14241366)

The two causes of extreme obesity, finally togeather at last!

fuck 102 temperature (1)

Dragoonkain (704719) | more than 8 years ago | (#14241370)

maybe its the bird flu?

Neat item- ought to be hackable (5, Interesting)

Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) | more than 8 years ago | (#14241381)

And hundreds of geeks start ordering happy meals- not for the meal, but for the WiFi media player, which will soon be hacked to refer to any arbitrary URI, and creative commons content.

Don't count on it any time soon. (3, Insightful)

thepotoo (829391) | more than 8 years ago | (#14241431)

TFA says 30 months before approval... longer than that before you see one.

If you ask me, we'll never see these, simply because a wifi media/game player costs money. Know how much a DS or PSP costs? I'm sure McDonalds can't afford to give away a $200 gaget with the purchase of a $3 meal.

A free download for an existing DS/PSP might happen, but since none to many people have such, I dout it.

Somewhere down here in /. ... (2, Funny)

hummassa (157160) | more than 8 years ago | (#14241446)

someone said an iPod has a cost of $50 or something. If you throw in some ads, ....

Re:Don't count on it any time soon. (4, Insightful)

Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) | more than 8 years ago | (#14241548)

The price could be brought quite down to size with limited memory, a smaller B&W LCD screen (which allows for the limited memory because the movie file can be *much* smaller), and a specialized processor. Add to that the fact that the profit on a Happy Meal is already about $2, and specialized manufacturing, and you've got something that fits, probably for about $7-$10 manufacturing cost. Plus you wouldn't necessarily hand out a player with *every* Happy Meal- you ask the customer the age of the child, younger children (under 3) get the same crap plush toys they always did, preteens get the hard plastic crap toys, teenagers get asked if they *already have the player* in which case they get, instead of a new player, a card with a download URI on it for the next section of the file. Oh yeah, and adults ordering the "Smart Meals" still get debit cards preloaded with $1.....

Re:Don't count on it any time soon. (1)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 8 years ago | (#14241692)

Or you pay a couple bucks for the player. McDs has done this with a lot of toys whose production costs are too high. Buy the meal, get the toy for $X. Don't buy the meal and pay $X+3. Then parents have an incentive to make sure their kids don't lose the player.

Re:Don't count on it any time soon. (4, Insightful)

IAmTheDave (746256) | more than 8 years ago | (#14241761)

The price could be brought quite down to size with limited memory, a smaller B&W LCD screen (which allows for the limited memory because the movie file can be *much* smaller), and a specialized processor.

Unfortunately, and I may be alone, but this just sounds like more trash polluting the earth. McD's will give out or sell millions of these, people will be fascinated for mere minutes, and most will be discarded or throw into a toy chest, creating more silcion based hardly-biodegradable trash polluting the earth. It's like throw-away DVDs, except the chachki-effect may last a day or two longer.

Am I the only one that feels this way? Anyone else notice it's Disney again creating all the damn trash? (Or, the ideas that create all the damn theoretical trash?)

Re:Don't count on it any time soon. (1)

Chyeld (713439) | more than 8 years ago | (#14241637)

Why would it have to be PSP quality when there are already plans out there on how to hack your own MP3 player out of $20 of parts.

We live in an age where they sell what are meant to be (to us) disposable digital cammeras.

And these are products aimed at kids, the one demographic that you can always provide crap to and still have them act as if they are getting a deal (look at the VideoNow players [hasbro.com] , and those are in the $20-$40 range.)

Re:Don't count on it any time soon. (1)

gandy909 (222251) | more than 8 years ago | (#14241767)

"...I'm sure McDonalds can't afford to give away a $200 gaget with the purchase of a $3 meal...."

Why not? They have no trouble selling a $.05 cent meal for $3 all day long!

Re:Neat item- ought to be hackable (1)

garcia (6573) | more than 8 years ago | (#14241443)

Only if those working at the fast food outlets hacked them PRIOR to putting them in the kids' meals and included: this [americanangst.com] song as the only thing on there.

Re:Neat item- ought to be hackable (2, Funny)

Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) | more than 8 years ago | (#14241577)

I wish the workers in my local McD's were that intelligent. Most of them say "Welcum to Madonna's" and stare at me blankly when I request a Wifi code with my extra-value meal....

better yet (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14241494)

I envision people hacking the protocol for challenge & transmission and setting up their own servers to intercept whatever codes are sent and sending subversive material, instead.

"Mommy! They're killing the smurfs!" or

"Mommy! Bambi is a girl! And she has no clothes! And her things are bigger than yours!
And eeeeeewwwwww!
Mommy mommy mommy mommy look!"

But who'd want to hack it? (1)

shotfeel (235240) | more than 8 years ago | (#14241500)

Having more "Happy Meal" toys around the house than I can count, I have to wonder who would want a media player that came in a happy meal? The last such "media player" we got required a wind-up before unrecognizable pictures scrolled by.

They're going to be giving away a wifi enabled media player in a Happy Meal? Riiight.

Next they'll be telling me the Big Kid's Meal comes with an HD-TV.

Software media player? (2, Informative)

shotfeel (235240) | more than 8 years ago | (#14241562)

After looking again, I'm thinking the writer of TFA is a little off. I can see a URL to a page to download a software media player and enter the code to download part of a movie. This business of giving away media players just doesn't make sense to me.

Re:Software media player? (1)

Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) | more than 8 years ago | (#14241783)

Yeah- that sounds a whole lot more likely...though the bit about Wi-Fi in the stores doesn't quite fit, the COST in relation to a happy meal certainly does.

Perhaps you should ask... A NINJA (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14241631)

When I was a young boy, I awoke every morning to the delicious smell of pancakes. My mother, and father's dojo contained within it a hot griddle perfect for making pancakes, waffles, and a multitude of other pancake-like breakfast pastries. I remember them well -- The pleasant, care-free days of my childhood in the dojo were often spent peering into the kitchen with eager anticipation as my mother prepared pancakes my family.

As I grew older, and began my journey to spiritual enlightenment, the memories of my pancake-eating youth filled my heart and dreams with warm, fluffy goodness....Ahhh, yes..the sweet, sweet memories... The day I ate 10 pancakes... The day I placed a warm pancake between my fleshy loins and performed the forbidden dance... The day pressed a pancake to my buttocks and encouraged my dog to come eat.. Indeed, much of my childhood was spent in pure innocence -- An innocence only pancakes can provide. It was heaven. A heaven, filled with pancakes, where I sat at the throne of God, with my hand-maidens Aunt Jemimah and Mrs. Butterworth seated beside me. An indestructible triumvirate made of flour, eggs, sugar, milk, water, and love.

By the age of 15, the path of my life became unclear and confusing. Torn between my duty my village and my love for pancakes, I foolishly left home in search of karaguchi ah-nowakadesu .. the ultimate pancake. My journey took me to the many islands of my homeland, many days away from my dojo. My hunger for pancakes became my teacher, and foolishly I let it control the path that I walked upon. My feet, sore from travel, ached as my heart and stomach did, until I came to a realization. My duty was clear. I needed to take a stand and accept my love for the art of the ninja AND my love for pancakes. It was not wrong for me to love both. I love one as a dear friend, and one as a lover. Yes--My mission was clear--I must become a ninja, a secret assassin hired by the imperial family BUT I MUST ALSO ENJOY THE OCCASIONAL PANCAKE.

My adoration for breakfast cakes has placed me within an awkward position. Many ninja refuse to recognize me as their brother. I defend my father's land, but I am looked upon as weak and undisciplined. I tell them, "But, brothers! Listen to my plea! The pancakes do not weaken me, nor do they make me disobey the rule of my sword. They fill me with love." But alas, they do not understand...For the mind of a ninja is complex.

My only earthly desire is to be accepted for who I am. Yes, I am a NINJA--But I also enjoy pancakes. Will you accept me? If you were approached by a ninja who requested a pancake, would you submit to his will?

Isn't there prior art? (4, Interesting)

planetoid (719535) | more than 8 years ago | (#14241385)

Aren't "partial downloads" prior art as far back as, oh, the era of the floppy disk? Back when warez wasn't distributed as ISOs but as dozens or hundreds of 1.44MB fragmented compressed files? I even remember downloading Slackware like that back in 1994/1995. What exactly is "new" about this to warrant a patent?

Re:Isn't there prior art? (1)

jd142 (129673) | more than 8 years ago | (#14241491)

It depends on whether or not the partial file is usable or not. It would be every different if you got 10 viewable minutes of a movie each visit and after 9 visits you'd have accumulated the whole movie. Or as part of a promotion to keep people coming back over a period of time, do it like they do limited edition toys: a different part each week to keep customers coming back each week.

Visit McDonalds once a week for 2 months and you'll get the whole movie viewable at once. Miss a week and you'll have to view each part individually and miss the middle part.

Or get a different level of a game each week so that you have to keep coming back to level up. First you beat the level, then you have to go to McD's to get the next level.

Plus this is for a complete business process, which would be different than merely file spanning.

Re:Isn't there prior art? (1)

naelurec (552384) | more than 8 years ago | (#14241668)

Yah.. but like the dot com era when patents were assigned for "prior art .. on the Internet!" we now have "prior art .. with fries!"

Re:Isn't there prior art? (1)

JPriest (547211) | more than 8 years ago | (#14241678)

The idea as a whole is new, but the individual parts taken separately might not be. A toaster uses energy from friction created by passing electrons through metal, and so does a light bulb, but one wouldn't necessarily be prior art for the other. The HEMI isn't the first gasoline powered combustion engine, but that does not mean it isn't unique enough to have a patent.

Prior art troll! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14241741)

Please mod down the prior art troll. ty

Evil. Evil. Evil. (1)

LoaTao (826152) | more than 8 years ago | (#14241388)

First Times Square...now this!

Re:Evil. Evil. Evil. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14241503)

Evil. With this and the self destructing files mentioned earlier... This shit is dangerous! :)

Hack 'em! (2, Informative)

drewzhrodague (606182) | more than 8 years ago | (#14241390)

Just like all of these devices, from CueCats to disposable DV recorders, will be hacked. Bring 'em on!

Re:Hack 'em! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14241659)

Hack it so that only one person has to download the piece in the store, then they make a McBit Torrent...

Types of movies (5, Funny)

ShaggyB (849018) | more than 8 years ago | (#14241391)

Mabey they could earn workout videos as downloads. If they have to visit a fast food joint 20 times to get the video, then they could watch their video to lose the calories they just racked up!

Re:Types of movies (4, Funny)

CagedBear (902435) | more than 8 years ago | (#14241471)

I was thinking vouchers for heart bypass surgery. In 15 second increments.

Re:Types of movies (2, Insightful)

cyber0ne (640846) | more than 8 years ago | (#14241620)

they could watch their video to lose the calories

I'm afraid a little more effort than that will be required. Therein lies the problem, sadly. Everyone already knows how to exercise (running, biking, swimming, etc.) but they just don't care enough to do it.

I can well imagine it... (1)

mrRay720 (874710) | more than 8 years ago | (#14241396)

"I'm off to McDonalds to get a bit of Bambi" ....IN A PIE! HAHAHAHAHA!

I hope the first downloadable move is (5, Funny)

chunews (924590) | more than 8 years ago | (#14241397)

"Supersize me"

Re:I hope the first downloadable move is (1)

Fnord666 (889225) | more than 8 years ago | (#14241718)

I'm sure some enterprising individual will make sure that it is.

How long until (5, Funny)

spectrum (92555) | more than 8 years ago | (#14241399)

Someone gets Linux on these things and creates the first McBeowulf?

Re:How long until (1)

TheRealMindChild (743925) | more than 8 years ago | (#14241421)

Bah. McOpenSSI would definitely taste better...

does it come with nutrition splash screens? (4, Interesting)

passingNotes.com (936024) | more than 8 years ago | (#14241402)

honestly, this kinda crap makes me ill...after hearing more about the mcdonald's and nintendo wifi deal i was already kinda getting heebie jeebies...but this new idea, fast food as a conduit for media distribution - that really is an affront to mankind (uh, okay, that's kinda extreme)...these kids are already struggling with obesity (read the data folks, our kids are mostly fat), and putting more distractions in front of them during quite possibly the only time in which they might eat and interact directly with their parents and siblings is just wrong, absolutely wrong...and since we know it's gonna be all disney ads and crap trailers and advertaintment, what the hell is the point? why not just let the media companies bid directly with parents on ourkids.ebay.com and let parents sell their kids' attention spans in five minute increments to the highest bidding media and product firms?

Re:does it come with nutrition splash screens? (3, Funny)

generic-man (33649) | more than 8 years ago | (#14241441)

Kid: Take me to McDonald's please
Mom: No
Kid: But I can get a movie
Mom: No go bittorrent a movie
Kid: Okay
Mom: And eat your healthy food
Kid: Okay mom
Mom: thx

Re:does it come with nutrition splash screens? (1)

passingNotes.com (936024) | more than 8 years ago | (#14241469)

or add to that, "you can bittorrent after dinner" kid: "soy bacon again?" "just eat and i'll tell you where the narnia torrent is, and if you eat the protein shakes, i'll get a kong for you next weekend"

Re:does it come with nutrition splash screens? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14241476)

I understand what you are saying, and I am not saying that McDonald's is or isn't nutritious. But, in my opinion, our kids being fat is not as much an issue of them eating McDonald's or any specific food, rather it is an issue of them not exercising.

Back in my youth we biked everywhere and were outside playing the VAST majority of the day. Hours of football, baseball, biking, wrestling, snowball fights, climbing trees, etc.

Get your kids outside and have them exercise, quit blaming everyone else for them being lazy. I ate McDonalds every day I could and I was 6'1" 175 lbs.

Re:does it come with nutrition splash screens? (1)

passingNotes.com (936024) | more than 8 years ago | (#14241593)

well maybe companies like conditor.com or digital chocolate will set those kids into motion (dig choc is trip hawkins co, all about mobile gaming, as is conditor - though note: i'm on the board of conditor ;)

Re:does it come with nutrition splash screens? (1)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 8 years ago | (#14241505)

"but this new idea, fast food as a conduit for media distribution"

That's kind of backwards, media is being used as a motivation to buy fast food. Remember the McD's compilation CDs from the 90s? A few bucks if you bought a value meal?

It's the same deal as most effective promotions. Going just once won't get you the prize (McMonopoly etal).

Anyway, as I'm sure it will come up: it's a free market. It's up to parents to make the good decisions for their kids, and to prepare their kids to make good decisions for themselves.

If the attraction for this stuff is out of hand, you have the power to prevent it getting out of control in your life. Tune in, turn on, drop out applies as much today as it did in the 60s... except it needs to be tweaked to deal with media, since the 'establishment' now works through major media:

Tune out, turn off, drop out.

Re: what can the brand sell? (1)

passingNotes.com (936024) | more than 8 years ago | (#14241560)

i hear you, but i mean fast food is the physical conduit - device received on site - so in this scenario, the channel is the brick and mortar retailer (initially), unless or until the site offers enhanced content (either the fast food place or disney)...at some point, the brands need to think about the roles they play in the lives of their customers, and where they are relevant, they've got to be considerate of the real consumers for children (read: separating their parents from money)....offend the people in the pew, and you're gonna find nobody to use those computers downstairs at sunday school...

Re: what can the brand sell? (1)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 8 years ago | (#14241625)

That's the beauty of cross-promotion and how easily parents give in to their kids. There are literally millions of people in the US who will do whatever it takes to get their kids to shut up. That's why McD's sells so many million happy meals each year.

And it's not just about McDisney(tm) trying to grow the market, they are each also trying to keep/extend their share of the market. If Parent X is going to take the kids to a fast food joint, then the war is half won -- the second half is making sure they come to your fast food joint.

Re:does it come with nutrition splash screens? (1)

vertinox (846076) | more than 8 years ago | (#14241597)

that really is an affront to mankind (uh, okay, that's kinda extreme)...these kids are already struggling with obesity (read the data folks, our kids are mostly fat), and putting more distractions in front of them during quite possibly the only time in which they might eat and interact directly with their parents and siblings is just wrong,

Do you really think that most parents want to interact with their kids or get them to shut up for just A SMALL FRACTION OF THE GODDAMN DAY YOU LITTLE WORTHLESS BRAT!!! WHY CAN'T YOU JUST SIT STILL AND ACT LIKE THE JONE'S KID!!! IS THAT TOO MUCH TO ASK! AND NO YOU CAN'T HAVE DESERT! SSSSHHHH!! JUST ZIP IT!!

Re:does it come with nutrition splash screens? (1)

Vorx (876) | more than 8 years ago | (#14241635)

McDonalds is ALREADY an affront to mankind

Re:does it come with nutrition splash screens? (1)

external400kdiskette (930221) | more than 8 years ago | (#14241636)

It's obviously going to make things worse. But the real problem is that people can love cheap trashy food and enjoy it day after day. Have these people ever experienced a quality meal? Who knows, seems to me if your uneducated and inolved in trashy culture/society watching reality tv, reading rubbish celeb mags, your more prone to all the other screwed up stuff that's not good for your health. But who are you going to blame, the stupid kids or the parents who didn't raise them with a sense of education/culture/whatever ?

Re:does it come with nutrition splash screens? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14241666)

you're. you're. you're. Fucking you're. Not your. You're.

ps: "loose" != "lose"

Re:dude, you would love confusingwords.com (1)

passingNotes.com (936024) | more than 8 years ago | (#14241748)

put up by http://www.davidsaccess.com/ [davidsaccess.com] this site http://www.confusingwords.com/ [confusingwords.com] tracks them all! but you gotta remember, when people are cranking out commentary on slashdot, they're going fast...never stop to think much about 'effect/affect' and so on...

Re:does it come with nutrition splash screens? (1)

greysky (136732) | more than 8 years ago | (#14241721)

It's not like this is anything new. I rememeber when I was a kid they had a movie tie-in promo at one of the chains where you got an episode of a story based on the Gremlins movie when you got a happy meal or something like that. I think they came on cassette tapes or something. I don't rememeber the details of the promo, but it came in like 4 or 5 parts if memory serves.

Now I feel really old. Having to reference promotional media that came on *cassette tapes*. It could be worse, though. Could be vinyl.

Diet is one thing... (1)

Burz (138833) | more than 8 years ago | (#14241744)

...but habituating kids to stop/go DRM restrictions while they get their fat/glucose fix seems a rather low level to stoop in order to gain consumer acceptance.

What's next? They push some must-have movie or game to get kids to scream until their parents let them install a Sony rootkit??

Games (2, Interesting)

biocute (936687) | more than 8 years ago | (#14241403)

I doubt movies will be popular, but games may actually be a good idea.

First it rolls out trendy games (like King Kong or whatever's hot at that time).

Then every week, it rolls out new levels for the game, which can be downloaded and brought home.

Re:Games (1)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 8 years ago | (#14241563)

McDonalds already has something like this. For the past couple of years they've been introducing Happy Meals with more and more sophisticated LCD games as toys. The most recent batch included First Person Shooters of a sort.

The FPSs had to be one of the cooler hacks I've ever seen. The screen itself was transparent, but everything was "dark" be default. By allowing certain lines to go transparent, you could see the edges of the walls/doors/characters. Not much gameplay, but damned cool.

Sounds like an extension, not a replacement (2, Insightful)

Kelson (129150) | more than 8 years ago | (#14241404)

The target audience for the Happy Meal is kids -- it's to give the kids something to play with during the meal and that they can take home.

Something that you can't use until after you get home won't catch on with the kids... but it could work for adults.

This sounds much more in line with the collector's drink cups or those sports-team bobble-heads you can sometimes get at fast food places than the classic kid's meal toy.

Root Kit (2, Funny)

mysqlrocks (783488) | more than 8 years ago | (#14241409)

Would you like a root kit with your meal?

Privacy ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14241412)


and does the "customer" have to give away their privacy as a result ?
is that special "code" linked to the counter sales transaction (ie. creditcard) ?

maybe if they produced a "quality" product in the first place they wouldnt have to engage in desperate sales promotions target at taking money from small children ?

child abuse doesnt have to be sexual or violence, dont talk to strangers but you can let a bunch of 40yo marketing people do whatver they want to your children

could work... (1)

SunPin (596554) | more than 8 years ago | (#14241414)

Won't work. Whoever thought of this should be fired.

Wow I say (1)

Nagypapi (729713) | more than 8 years ago | (#14241417)

I bet the inventor of this idea hasn't met a lot of children. It's like putting an MMC card with some stupid commercial into a kinder surprise egg. They replace the fun with some tech mania

Great, I can just see the new signs now... (1)

gasmonso (929871) | more than 8 years ago | (#14241419)

Over 99 Billion Megabytes Served http://religiousfreaks.com/ [religiousfreaks.com]

Supersized Titles? (1, Redundant)

Evil Closet Monkey (761299) | more than 8 years ago | (#14241422)

How many visits will it require for me to download a complete copy of Super Size Me [imdb.com] to my Happy Meal media player?

Yes, please. (1)

Tackhead (54550) | more than 8 years ago | (#14241426)

> A customer enters a restaurant and buys a meal, receiving the portable media player and an electronic code that authorizes a partial download of a movie, video or other media file, which can be downloaded while in the restaurant, according to a United States Patent and Trademark Office application filed by Disney. Then, with each subsequent return, the customer earns more downloadable data, eventually getting an entire movie or game.

Yes, please. This is a fantastic idea. As a 30something hardware geek, er, movie fan who has no... umm, I mean, with three small children, who loves*cough* hates! who hates cooking, this would get me to visit every McDonald's restaurant in my city at least once!

Restaurant Ratings (5, Funny)

faqmaster (172770) | more than 8 years ago | (#14241428)

Once you hit 300 kgs you get the entire movie? This could provide a new way to rate restaurants: Frames per calorie.

Re:Restaurant Ratings (1)

metlin (258108) | more than 8 years ago | (#14241572)

Ouch!

Brings a new meaning to "bite size", eh? ;)

*rimshot*

I can see it now.... (2, Funny)

commo1 (709770) | more than 8 years ago | (#14241439)

Mommy! There's a bug in my burger!

I don't know about you... (1)

SengirV (203400) | more than 8 years ago | (#14241440)

... but from what I can remeber from my youth - IF you gave me 1/10th of a game that couldn't be used at all, or had ZERO replay value - then you have given me nothing and I will not be very enthused to pressure my folks to return and get the rest.

Interesting.... (1)

deathbyzen (897333) | more than 8 years ago | (#14241448)

...but does it run Linux?

better off with bittorrent on a modem (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14241449)

So you reach 300 pounds buy the time you download all of doom

Re:better off with bittorrent on a modem (1)

borg007 (712705) | more than 8 years ago | (#14241775)

Gaining 2-5 pounds NEVER killed anyone!

Will it Hold a Child's Interest Long Enough... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14241455)

Do they honestly think that they will hold a child's interest long enough to keep the child coming back and downloading more of a movie? I doubt it. Rather if the child is really interested they'll keep nagging the parents and make them go out and buy the whole dvd, if they even do that.

Bits and pieces? (1)

Nerdposeur (910128) | more than 8 years ago | (#14241457)

The idea, I assume, is that people will be motivated to come back because their kids want the rest of the movie or game.

This might work, but it could backfire. You want to keep them wanting more; if it takes 10 visits to see a whole cartoon (or whatever), chances are that the kid will lose interest - and it had better be a great cartoon to warrent even a couple of return trips.

What would have worked on me, I think, is if you get a new downloadable game - a whole game, even if it's a little Tetris-type thing - every day that you visit. So you're never frustrated by a half-reward, but you're still curious what the next one will be.

Another thought: what does the hardware cost, is it worth it for the company, and is there a EULA that says you can't hack it for your own purpose?

Re:Bits and pieces? (2, Interesting)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 8 years ago | (#14241583)

"You want to keep them wanting more; if it takes 10 visits to see a whole cartoon (or whatever), chances are that the kid will lose interest"

Not if their friends have gotten the new piece.

Kids today are all up on the collectibles... they stay interested in Pokemon, or other CCGs for years, why would they lose interest in this after only 10 weeks?

Especially if the content delivered is not the same for every download... then they 'gotta catch em all'.

Genius.

Re:Bits and pieces? (1)

advocate_one (662832) | more than 8 years ago | (#14241588)

Another thought: what does the hardware cost, is it worth it for the company, and is there a EULA that says you can't hack it for your own purpose?

They'll have a hard time enforcing that EULA... once I've gotten my sticky mits on it and done the dirty deed, there's no chance it'll ever be able to tell them it's been hacked. How are they gonna know? are they going to require your full contact details and for you to report in every so many days for them to ascertain you've still got it and are using it in accordance with the terms? I'll just say I lost it over the side of my boat... what can they do? sue me... see where it gets them.

Deminishing Returns (1)

Dareth (47614) | more than 8 years ago | (#14241673)

... just like gambling... very addictive!

I'm just talking about the food mind you.

Re:Bits and pieces? (1)

slashname3 (739398) | more than 8 years ago | (#14241779)

Actually this reminds me of the old joke.

How do you keep an idiot in suspense?







Which is probably how McDonald's views their customers.

Craptastic (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14241460)

Now I have another reason not to take my kids out to eat unhealthy junk food: it comes with an extra helping of unhealthy media cartel thuggery.

Strike one for obesity (1)

milgr (726027) | more than 8 years ago | (#14241461)

So, now they are encouraging addiction to high fat, high calorie diets. And, the reward is sitting back, watching a movie. Sounds like a great way to add inches to our kids waste lines. Just what we need in a nation plagued by obesity.

So, will we be able to sue them over our obesity in several years?

Re:Strike one for obesity (1)

geeber (520231) | more than 8 years ago | (#14241570)

So, now they are encouraging addiction to high fat, high calorie diets.

I think they have been doing that for a while now...

Combined with... (1)

Billosaur (927319) | more than 8 years ago | (#14241463)

...subliminal messages, this will turn out to be a dynamite marketing tool. Just think! You only have to go to McDonald's once and your kids will be indoctrinated in the Mouse Cult by Ronald McDonald! And of course you only get part of the content, forcing you to go back, so the indoctrination can be reinforced.

The British journal New Scientist, which recently reported on the patent application, said that the portable media players could be used as part of a McDonald's promotion and create marketing opportunities for electronics companies. They could also carry advertisements aimed at children and teenagers, the most likely targets of the promotion, and customers could transfer downloaded files to other media devices, potentially sharing their files with other users.

Ooooh!!! Transfer files. Now we can infect people who don't even go to McDonald's! "You will go and order a Big Mac! And don't forget to stop at the Disney Store on the way back!"

(A Disney spokeswoman declined comment; McDonald's executives could not be reached.)

Of course not! They know we're on to them! [putting on tin hat]

Enriching Kid's Minds (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14241464)

Doesn't anyone remember when kids would receive Lego's and those funky plastic Slinky-esque connector pipes? Happy Meal boxes were cardboard and created backdrops for imaginary play? How does any of this great technology benefit kids development? Mickey D's not only fattening kids up but giving them more of a reason not to move around and chow more fries.

28 Media Players (1)

wooferhound (546132) | more than 8 years ago | (#14241472)

So , Does thia mean that I can get 28 media players if I order 28 Happy Meals ?

Profit? (1)

NotoriousGOD (936922) | more than 8 years ago | (#14241525)

How is anyone going to make money off a $5 happy meal if they are including media players? Surely the distribution and production costs would not fit into the $2 profit made off the meal.

and a thousand chicken nuggets later (2, Funny)

Loconut1389 (455297) | more than 8 years ago | (#14241530)

A thousand chicken nuggets later (and 50lbs heavier), the kid can watch an entire 80 minute disney movie. yay.

Nintendo DS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14241533)

Didn't Mc Donnalds want to do something with the Nintendo DS and wifi to let people play games? Is the DS fast enough to play media? Maybe one could buy a Mc Donnalds 'game' cartridge that can stream some video or do a download that only works until you turn off the DS.

what about the drive-thru? (1)

HeyLaughingBoy (182206) | more than 8 years ago | (#14241534)

What about those of us who may eat fast food (yeah, I admit it :-) but never actually go inside?

When we're away from home, or pressed for time, I sometimes take my son to Burger King/McDonalds (BTW: Culver's has *much* better food, but they're only here in the midwest), but I couldn't tell you the last time I set foot in one of those places. It's always order food from the squawkbox, then drive to window 1 then to window 2.
After all, if I had time to go inside, I'd go to a real restaurant where a plastic toy isn't the highlight of the meal.

Better be one really fast download to complete while I'm at the drive through window.

That was a TOY!?!?! (2, Funny)

mmell (832646) | more than 8 years ago | (#14241641)

It didn't taste different from the rest of the meal, but my tummy doesn't feel so good now. ***groan***

Re:That was a TOY!?!?! (1)

clgoh (106162) | more than 8 years ago | (#14241710)

Don't worry...

The toy is probably safer to eat than the meal...

The return of serialization? (1)

thelost (808451) | more than 8 years ago | (#14241590)

What an interesting idea. back when books first became readily available one of the ways in which people could afford them was to buy them bit by bit, rather than all at once. Authors such as dickens took advantage of this to become the first successful authors to market their work and commodify it. on a side note this is where the modern library sprung forth from, not being a place to lend books but rather to sell them. Dickens realized that he could make a lot out of serializing books and indeed did. On a regular basis a new episode in one of his books would be published and people would literally jump on it, so excited were they by this new medium. Now of course the serial would be a reward for purchasing something else, so it's role is slightly changed, but I can certainly see the rise of the serial again. Just imagine independently commisioning artists/animators to do content on a regular basis, it would be an amazing way to publish without the middleman. Obviously now I'm not just thinking of walt disney, i can imagine a lot of cool places wanting to jump on the bandwagon.

Re:The return of serialization? (1)

ozydingo (922211) | more than 8 years ago | (#14241714)

If artists start producing content based around this method of distribution, McDonalds has more power than I thought.

I don't see this applying to music/movies, as the movie will have already been released..although perhaps they would make these available before the DVD release? Not really sure if they would be willing to do that though...

And I don't see how it could apply to games unless they were specifically designed around this principle of serial release, which I don't see happening, but maybe i'm just short-sighted. It seems more like you'd have to get all parts to get anything useful, so it wouldn't be that analogous to serial publishing, more like a stamp card that many vendors provide (recieve your 10th haircut free or such promotions). As to whether or not it could generate the motivation to keep customers coming back to get the rest...i don't really know, but I doubt it. It's somewhat moot to debate, though, since the ads alone will generate the initial interest in kids to nag their parents to buy them the latest happy-meal, along with the interest in the media which they may not come back enough to get it through this part-by-part distribution but will now nag their parents to go buy it...and if th parents say no because they've got part of it then they'll just have to take them back to McDonald's now won't they? It's a win-win for the corporations involved, and that's all they need to care about.

lemme guess folder structure... (3, Funny)

borawjm (747876) | more than 8 years ago | (#14241603)

McDocuments
McFavorites
McVideos
McMusic
...
??

Re:lemme guess folder structure... (1)

mopslik (688435) | more than 8 years ago | (#14241701)

??

McProfit?

Re:lemme guess folder structure... (1)

adnausium (901852) | more than 8 years ago | (#14241758)

now thats funny...if i could mod i would.

First song is... (4, Funny)

autophile (640621) | more than 8 years ago | (#14241616)

...Weird Al Yankovic's "I'm Fat"!

--Rob

So I'm confused .... (3, Insightful)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 8 years ago | (#14241633)

How is this fundamentally different from, say, stamp cards which allow me a free sandwich/coffe/coke/whatever after I've collected a few stamps?

Fundamentally, this is a "method of providing customer reward for ongoing purchases" (coupled with a "mechanism to ensure repeat business by children").

Big deal, so it's a digital method. They've taken the concept of reward cards, thrown in Wifi, and are claiming to have done something patentable. This is just silly.

God I hope this patent is rejected.

This is so sick (1)

teutonic_leech (596265) | more than 8 years ago | (#14241669)

These corporations will not rest until they have drained the last ounce of humanity out of us and turned us into robotic consumer drones ready to be fleezed at every possible moment in our lifes. Some of you might think that I am over-reacting, but as an indie film maker I am actually on the producing side of such possible content (although I'm sure McD would stick with the blockbusters). What ever happened to simply sitting down for a meal and enjoying a stimulating conversation? We are all like the proverbial boiling frogs - and we're simply tolerating more and more crap like this until the day we've given up any individualistic thought and completely capitulated to those corporations running our lifes.
This is really sick....

Movie Dealing? (3, Funny)

Secret Rabbit (914973) | more than 8 years ago | (#14241676)

This sounds notoriously similar to drug dealing to me.

You buy the happy meal and get the device and a small for free.

Then to get the whole thing (or more) you have to pay.

*in evil sounding voice* The first one's for free! *evil laugh*

Do they know what their doing (1)

Device666 (901563) | more than 8 years ago | (#14241686)

This way they get conditioned to get frustrated by not being able to complete a movie when they are eating hamburgers. Some people eat more when they are frustrated. Voila a great business plan. Why would anyone be so masochistic to watch 10 minutes of a movie, especially if they are so easily downloaded these days?

News - three years from now (2, Insightful)

CrazyTalk (662055) | more than 8 years ago | (#14241704)

According to "TFA", it takes 30 months for patents to be approved, and they havent even started looking at it yet. Right now it sounds like this is all "just in case we want to do this some day in the far future". Not Stuff that Matters.

An Arm and a Leg (1)

nikremt (842570) | more than 8 years ago | (#14241705)

Sounds good, but I don't know how well the partial download would go over. I doubt that many kids would have been happy only getting cetain body parts of their favorite action figure that they could eventually piece together and make a toy that you could actually play with. Why would you only want spiderman's arm and leg? Would that encourage return customers, or actually not be a good enough incentive to make the purchase in the first place?

Nooooooo!! (1)

JWW (79176) | more than 8 years ago | (#14241715)

I just got done going to Burger King incessantly so my son could get all of the Star Wars toys, now my kids are going to want to go to McDonalds over and over again to get movies!

Its a great idea, and I don't like it one bit.

What keeps the staff from giving out codes? (1)

imess (805488) | more than 8 years ago | (#14241720)

Embedded signature? How do they match that to a... receipt?
Sealed? How about reuse?

Reminds me of VHS Tapes (4, Interesting)

fohat (168135) | more than 8 years ago | (#14241745)

About a dozen years ago Mcdonald's did a campaign with video tapes, something like buy a meal and get a movie for $2.99 (I watched The Adam's Family about 1000 times as a result). I wonder if they ever tried the same concept with DVD's? It seem's a heck of a lot easier for the consumer, and you'd still have people returning to the store to get another DVD.

Digital toys not real enough (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14241755)

This idea won't work unless they find a way to make the downloads into choking hazards. The public won't accept them as authentic Happy Meal toys until the customary nationwide safety recall has been issued.
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