×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Publishers Detail Specific In-Game Ad Plans For Future Games

Soulskill posted more than 5 years ago | from the just-what-i-never-wanted dept.

The Almighty Buck 104

MTV's Multiplayer Blog recaps a recent event held by Massive Inc., a subsidiary of Microsoft, during which game publishers put forth specific ideas on what types of in-game advertising players will and won't be seeing in the near future. The examples varied in how interactive and intrusive they were, from name-brand bottled water power-ups to destructible virtual billboards to taking advantage of sports game locker rooms for product placement. They did claim they would restrain themselves from blatant advertisements that would ruin immersion in fantasy games. Blizzard partnered with Massive to bring ads to Battle.net, but don't expect to see ads in the associated games.

cancel ×
This is a preview of your comment

No Comment Title Entered

Anonymous Coward 1 minute ago

No Comment Entered

104 comments

Advertise this! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26109213)

My dilznick!

Re:Advertise this! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26109991)

Sorry it's too small to properly advertise, can we use a 10 000 x magnification next time.

Management.

A reasonable idea (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26109253)

Considering the cost of video games, and the fact that the ads are not intrusive, It seems like a fair idea. I assume it will be a bit annoying, but if it fits into the game it should be fine. The proposed ideas ideas don't seem to be that obstructive,they are not proposing cut-scenes chocked filled with advertisements.

Re:A reasonable idea (5, Insightful)

AuMatar (183847) | more than 5 years ago | (#26109277)

No, it's not fair. I'm paying for the game. My time is valuable, and it is not for sale to advertisers. When they give me the games for free, they can put in ads. Until then, I don't want advertisements of any kind, and I will not buy any games from any company which sells them.

Re:A reasonable idea (3, Interesting)

entoke (933113) | more than 5 years ago | (#26109343)

What if they lowered price on an ad-supported version of a game. Say a new fps game set in a city. There is billboards and stores and stuff you can see, if you pay full price for the game this is all for made up stuff. But if you pay maybe half the price for the ad supported version, everything is the same except there is billboards with ads for coca-cola? I don't really care at all what they do, I play a game if i enjoy it, if they can add ads into that without annoying me (forced ads to watch every time the game launch or stuff that kills immersion like an ad for coca cola in a fantasy game) go ahead.

Re:A reasonable idea (4, Informative)

AuMatar (183847) | more than 5 years ago | (#26109439)

Like I said to another poster- name one time that a company has ever lowered prices because they started accepting ads. They either go free and sell ads, or they keep the price exactly where it is. If they already know you will pay x for a game, they have no reason to charge less than x. They'll keep charging the same amount and make that plus the ad money.

And no, I still wouldn't buy it. I wouldn't boycott the company if they were upfront about it, but I would never buy anything with ads in it. I'd rather support products that don't do that bullshit.

Re:A reasonable idea (1)

tsa (15680) | more than 5 years ago | (#26109507)

Newspapers depend on ads to make the price low enough for people to afford them. But I bet most /.-ers never read a newspaper because they get all the news from the web. For free. Payed by advertizers.

Re:A reasonable idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26109725)

Newspapers depend on ads to make the price low enough for people to afford them.

Games (especially the ones that will have ads) are being sold at a high price and obviously at a profit. They won't lower the price of games and add ads on top of the high price, that already pays for the game.

The price development of newspapers and games is not comparable.

Re:A reasonable idea (1)

tsa (15680) | more than 5 years ago | (#26110015)

That's a good point that I hadn't considered. I must say it would be nice to walk through a city in a game and see real ads, as long as they don't interfere with the gameplay. Thay make the game more 'real' if done well.

Re:A reasonable idea (1)

russ_allegro (444120) | more than 5 years ago | (#26112761)

I to had once thought of that. This idea is the same for TV shows. They have been putting product placement in TV shows. The main character is holding a can of coke for example, or there are some donuts in the background. It isn't that much of a distraction.

If advertising starts being required for games and TV shows this limits the types of shows and games you can have.

For example, it would very wrong to have the captain of the U.S.S. Enterprise in Star Trek to hold a can of coke. Since that is the case, what might happen is simply we would never get any shows/games were it wouldn't be appropriate to have ads.

Developer: "Here is a good idea for a game..."
Business dude: "Does the setting allow for good ad placement?"
Developer: "No"
Business dude: "Then come up with a different idea."

Re:A reasonable idea (1, Troll)

AuMatar (183847) | more than 5 years ago | (#26110255)

Actually I stopped buying newspapers because they were so many ads. I'd happily pay a few bucks for one, especially with good investigative reporting. But I won't pay a damn cent for one with them. There's also several magazines of various genres that I used to subscribe to, but no longer do due to ads. As for the online versions- there's ads on the internet? Haven't seen one in years, thank you AdBlock.

The most insidious thing about ads- they really don't lower your price. The companies that take out the ads have to pay for them. You may get the newspaper cheaper, but you'll pay for it on every trip to the store you ever make. Ads are a net loss to society- they produce no goods, they provide no service, yet they cost a boatload of money. They're a drag on the efficiency of the system.

Re:A reasonable idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26111011)

The only upsides to ads that I can see is brand awareness garnering trust and facilitating consolidation that results in more efficient production of goods, but with the awareness or reduced competition firms typically just charge more so any efficiency gained is hoarded.

The downside is enormous. It distorts market mechanisms (and ad rates are usually decided by dubious proprietary sampling methods outside of the Internet) to the point where you pay some of Sean Hannity's contract even if you don't watch or listen to his programming. It's basically a sales tax the amount of which you cannot possibly know, that dots your landscapes, paints your buses, renders worthless almost every magazine, and creeps ever inward to anything you pay attention to.

And of course one should make no mistake: people will not continue to pay for ads that you do not notice, since it does them no good. They will push the line until you're annoyed enough to pay attention.

Re:A reasonable idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26112441)

Newspapers depend on ads to make the price low enough for people to afford them. But I bet most /.-ers never read a newspaper because they get all the news from the web. For free. Payed by advertizers.

I'd add that if you've been paying any sort of attention at all if you're in the U.S. you'd notice that newspapers are in pretty bad financial shape for quite some time (this predates the more recent economic problems.)

TLDR version: Newspapers are fucked.

Re:A reasonable idea (1)

entoke (933113) | more than 5 years ago | (#26109667)

One area I think ad's can do something good for players is keeping multiplayer servers online. I doubt many companies makes a great deal of money from keeping servers online for multiplayer in old games. If EA had placed ads in the lobbies of some of their old games that would probably cover the cost of running the servers instead of shutting them down.

Re:A reasonable idea (1)

digitalunity (19107) | more than 5 years ago | (#26111625)

Riiight. Because Blizzard making $10-15 per month per subscriber doesn't add up.

I recently quit WoW, but during the over 3 years I played I paid about $650 in monthly fees and a grand total of $90 for the game itself.

Players are willing to pay monthly to play online.

Re:A reasonable idea (1)

entoke (933113) | more than 5 years ago | (#26112367)

Yeah that's with WoW. I have never heard of a rts where you pay a subscription fee, I think it will be hard for blizzard to convince people to suddenly start paying to keep playing a game they played online 10 years for free. I also doubt the maybe $30 i payed for starcraft 8 years ago has covered the cost of the service I've used(well actually I have no idea).

Also there are no ads in WoW.

Re:A reasonable idea (1)

Lord_Dweomer (648696) | more than 5 years ago | (#26111691)

Like I said to another poster- name one time that a company has ever lowered prices because they started accepting ads.

*cough*BF2142*cough* While I can see a handful of Indie publishers moving towards the play-for-ads model, the big publishers will never do that. It has been interesting though to see all of the ad-supported net games out there. Yeah they are pretty lame usually and churned out by some Chinese script-shop, but still interesting...it means there is a viable business model there.

Re:A reasonable idea (1)

Kneo24 (688412) | more than 5 years ago | (#26110229)

Rainbow Six: Vegas did this and it was not any cheaper. (I was lucky enough to have received it as a bundle with a video card.) Every single fucking chance they had, there was some billboard for Intel or some other product. It didn't add any immersion for me, that's for sure. I was actually quite annoyed about it. Even the walls inside the buildings had ads on them. Give me a break.

Re:A reasonable idea (1)

entoke (933113) | more than 5 years ago | (#26110289)

Yeah the more I think about this the worse I think it is. If some company gets payed by some other company to show their ad to players in the game they are probably paying more the more the players see it. The players are going to see a lot of it and they will go out of their way to place the ads. I still think ads got a place in game. Racing games using cars from real life I think are okay. Also I don't mind a banner in some loading screen (like valve) or in the multiplayer lobby (like blizzard) just don't overdo it and let it take over the game!

Re:A reasonable idea (1)

Haeleth (414428) | more than 5 years ago | (#26110337)

But if you pay maybe half the price for the ad supported version, everything is the same except there is billboards with ads for coca-cola?

I will accept a game that has billboards with ads for Coca-Cola -- if and only if that same game, in the same play session, also contains billboards with ads for Pepsi.

That would be realistic, and would therefore add to immersion and enhance the game.

What, the Coca-Cola marketing board don't like the idea? Too bad. I guess I won't play that game then.

If you spend your time in one stadium (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 5 years ago | (#26111367)

I will accept a game that has billboards with ads for Coca-Cola -- if and only if that same game, in the same play session, also contains billboards with ads for Pepsi.

I guess that means you won't play any simulations of professional sports. As I understand it, each sporting event has only one soft drink sponsor: usually either Coke, Pepsi, or DPSU. Nor will you play theme park simulators in the vein of Sim Theme Park or Roller Coaster Tycoon, as each amusement park also has one soft drink sponsor (e.g. Coke for Indiana Beach or Pepsi for Cedar Point).

Re:A reasonable idea (1)

urbanriot (924981) | more than 5 years ago | (#26110917)

I'm with you. If in-game advertising is unobtrusive and lowers the cost of my game OR promotes them to continually patch or update a game (like Valve's Steam games), I'm all for it.

Re:A reasonable idea (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26109347)

I will not buy any games from any company which sells them...

Unless the game developers would be so kind as to allow you to specify your demographic and preferences so that the ads will appear to be much more palatable.

For example, I'd specify that I'm an inner-city nigger playing it on that computer I stole from the white kid after I muh-dicked his bitch, yo. Dat was totally phat. Anywayz, then the in-game ads would be humorous to see because they would include Kentucky Fried Chicken [kfc.com], FUBU [fubu.com], Oldsmobile [wikipedia.org], The Miller Brewing Company [wikipedia.org], and www.watermelon.org [watermelon.org].

Re:A reasonable idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26109355)

The advertisements are going to offset the cost of development, which should reduce the cost of games or more likely make less popular more profitable. This should hopefully lead to more niche games, more interesting games. It would also be nice if video gaming gets some money from the "real world" rather than always paying licensing fees. If the next Outrun! the developer gets some change for making the car a Ferrari, a Lotus or a Vette, I don't see the harm.

Re:A reasonable idea (1)

AuMatar (183847) | more than 5 years ago | (#26109417)

BWHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

You actually think that it will lower game costs? Please show me one time in the past 20 years when a company creating a new line of revenue means they actually reduced prices on other lines. Just one. This won't make games any cheaper or any better. And because it means companies will be spending more money on advertising (which creates no useful goods or services) the companies that advertise will raise prices. This will cost you, not save you.

Re:A reasonable idea (1)

digitalunity (19107) | more than 5 years ago | (#26111653)

CDs cost a fraction of what cassette tapes cost to manufacture, yet it took 15 years for CDs to come down in retail price to the inflation adjusted point of cassettes.

The point is, companies will simply take that extra money and shove it in their pocket. Consumers won't see any benefit from it.

Re:A reasonable idea (1)

Dr. Hellno (1159307) | more than 5 years ago | (#26115343)

I see things a little differently. Advertisers will only pay to advertise in games where the target audience is expected to be large, which means samey blockbusters. This could be a massive revenue boost for the next GTA or Gears of War, but it's unlikely to mean much for the next Psychonauts.
The eventual effects of increased advertising will probably be complex. It might help small, independent developers increase their revenue marginally, but I think it's more significant as a disincentive for major studios to try anything different or quirky. Onward, to the lowest common denominator!

Re:A reasonable idea (3, Insightful)

Mr_eX9 (800448) | more than 5 years ago | (#26109401)

I want to tell you to get off the soap box, but you're partially right. The in-game ads in Guitar Hero III were completely immersion-breaking for me. It's a small part of why I've stopped supporting that series.

Advertisements don't always break immersion though--series like Madden and Tony Hawk would be really cheesy if they lacked ads for real products/companies like what you would see in a real football/skateboarding arena. I don't have a problem with publishers capitalizing on this, and it would be insane to expect them not to.

Also, the banner ads in the Battle.net lobbies never bothered me very much--I'd get into a game and forgot about them.

Re:A reasonable idea (2, Insightful)

AuMatar (183847) | more than 5 years ago | (#26109429)

I don't care about immersion. I hate ads. These companies have no right to waste my time dealing with them. I do not and will not support any company which sells ad space on paid products. If I'm paying for it you have no right to do so.

Re:A reasonable idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26109619)

I like how you completely ignored the newspaper and magazine example. Also, please stop throwing around the term "no right" - they have every right. You don't have to like it or purchase their product, but it has nothing to do with your rights.

Re:A reasonable idea (1)

entoke (933113) | more than 5 years ago | (#26109641)

The thing for me is I agree that they shouldn't waste ones time, actually I never let ads waste my time as I can take care of that perfectly well myself. BUT other than that I don't give a shit I probably get get affected by them subconsciously but so be it. Ads does not have to waste ones time. The ads themselves does not waste my time if they are integrated in a smooth way. I mean does anyone get mad over seeing a billboard or some ads on a bus? If not why should one get mad over an ad on a billboard or a bus in a game?

Re:A reasonable idea (1, Troll)

McGiraf (196030) | more than 5 years ago | (#26110881)

"I mean does anyone get mad over seeing a billboard or some ads on a bus?"

I, for one, do.

Re:A reasonable idea (1)

digitalunity (19107) | more than 5 years ago | (#26111667)

I'm mad the city uses buses for revenue, but the school buses do not. The school needs money a lot more than the city does...

Re:A reasonable idea (1)

McGiraf (196030) | more than 5 years ago | (#26111993)

Yeah, they should put billboards in the classrooms, placement ads in schoolbooks and have sponsored classes.

Hi children, this English class is brought to you by McDonald's.

Re:A reasonable idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26113147)

Children what is four times fives? But, before you raise your hands to answer a word from our sponsers...

Re:A reasonable idea (2, Informative)

TehZorroness (1104427) | more than 5 years ago | (#26110253)

Actually, they do have the right. You are not being forced to play their game. If you don't like where the commercial gaming industry is going, lend a helping hand to bring the free software gaming scene up to speed :)

Re:A reasonable idea (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 5 years ago | (#26111381)

I do not and will not support any company which sells ad space on paid products. If I'm paying for it you have no right to do so.

Cable television operators sell ad space on paid subscriptions to basic cable. So I guess you canceled cable television, and you're on DSL or dial-up now, right?

Re:A reasonable idea (1)

Lord_Dweomer (648696) | more than 5 years ago | (#26111709)

These companies have no right to waste my time dealing with them. I do not and will not support any company which sells ad space on paid products.

Here's where I disagree though...if you purchase a game, knowing full well that it contains ads, well...that would be kind of your fault for deciding to purchase it. It is their game, and if they want to sell it with ads that is fine, but we have the right to vote with our dollars.

Now what I find unacceptable is when a company pulls bullshit like EA did with bf2142 and start placing in-game ads AFTER the game has already been released and people have purchased it. Talk about a fucking bait-and-switch. "Here's your wonderful game, and PS, after we have your money we'll start milking you for more by ruining the game experience with ads!"

What I'd really like to see if CLEAR and HIGHLY VISIBLE labeling on the front of boxes noting that they contain advertising and clarifying how the ads are incorporated and how many you can expect to see. If it is an advergame, dammit, I want to know before I waste my money on it and I shouldn't need to hunt down online reviews to know that.

Re:A reasonable idea (1)

jonaskoelker (922170) | more than 5 years ago | (#26110119)

The in-game ads in Guitar Hero III were completely immersion-breaking for me. It's a small part of why I've stopped supporting that series.

I've gold-starred all of easy, all of medium except [tier 8, Don't Hold back, FCPREMIX, TTFAF], five-starred tier 1-6 on hard and at least half the bonus tracks with ~15 gold stars, and I'm only Raining Blood and Battle With Lou short of completing expert.

I haven't noticed any ads.

(except during startup; you pseudo-skip those by aggressively hitting the fret buttons, and they happen pre-immersion).

I could go look for them, but I prefer living in blissful ignorance. I hope I can even though I know they're there :)

Re:A reasonable idea (1)

Mr_eX9 (800448) | more than 5 years ago | (#26112823)

I remember when I was playing "The Metal" on Expert, in whichever venue first unlocks that song, there were two big ads for Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles off in the distance on either side of the stage.

Re:A reasonable idea (1)

Kneo24 (688412) | more than 5 years ago | (#26110245)

Now I haven't been into a B.net lobby in forever, but from what I remember, those banner ads were for their own products. Now with Activision on board, I imagine it will be for Blizzard's and Activision's prodcuts?

Re:A reasonable idea (1)

Kalriath (849904) | more than 5 years ago | (#26113103)

This is covered in the fucking summary. Blizzard has signed Massive to provide advertising in Battle.Net lobbies.

Re:A reasonable idea (1)

Kneo24 (688412) | more than 5 years ago | (#26114233)

You must be new here. People stopped fully reading summaries ages ago, much less TFA.

Re:A reasonable idea (1)

morari (1080535) | more than 5 years ago | (#26111671)

Really? I didn't even know that half of the amps and such were actually branded... I thought they were just made up. Seeing branded guitars and such in a music game isn't so much of a problem. Guitar Hero: World Tour, however, was littered with needless shots of KFC buckets, AT&T billboards, and other distractions that only serve to date and cheapen the game itself. If they wanted to advertise for KFC in the game, they should have had Buckethead as a playable character. :P

Re:A reasonable idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26109709)

You pay for sattelite TV and still watch ads...

Why?

Because if not, it would cost even more. Equally, if a game company can make more money from the ads than the sales itself, they may move to lower price points, or invest more into development. Hell, they might even look upon pirates kinder if they don't disable iga's.

Re:A reasonable idea (1)

AuMatar (183847) | more than 5 years ago | (#26110281)

No, I don't. I don't have satelite TV. But if I was to get it- I'd happily pay more for an ad free version.

And no, cable/satelite wouldn't cost more if there were no ads. Why not? Because they already charge what the market will bear. If they raised prices, they'd lose more money from loss of subscribers than they'd gain in revenues. If that wasn't true, they'd raise prices even with the ads. The idea that the ads actually make things cheaper shows a complete lack of understanding of economics.

Re:A reasonable idea (1)

Serpent 33 (689695) | more than 5 years ago | (#26109979)

What about if you buy a game and then find out later that buried deep in the game is an advert? You won't be able to tell just from the packaging that there's advertisements in the game.

Re:A reasonable idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26110083)

Right, because advertisements are buried deep where no one is likely to find them. They're more valuable that way. (Hint: Some of us read game reviews before throwing our money away.)

Re:A reasonable idea (3, Interesting)

Haeleth (414428) | more than 5 years ago | (#26110373)

You won't be able to tell just from the packaging that there's advertisements in the game.

Well, you should be able to. There should be a "Warning: Contains Marketing" statement, alongside the warnings about violent content or bad language.

Personally I'm far more concerned about our children being exposed to marketing in video games than I am about violence or anything else that the media have moral panics about. Childhood exposure to Coca-Cola marketing and McDonalds marketing is the direct cause of many serious health problems. Childhood exposure to nipples has not been proven to have any negative effect at all (in fact, breastfeeding proponents seem to argue it's a good thing). So the ESRB and their counterparts in other countries should be putting a very prominent warning on the packaging when a game contains these nasty messages that are teaching our children to poison themselves.

Re:A reasonable idea (2, Funny)

morari (1080535) | more than 5 years ago | (#26111695)

Clearly the ESRB warning should mention stuff like that.

Rated T for Teen
Contains: Drug References, Fantasy Violence, Suggestive Themes, Commercialism.

Re:A reasonable idea (1)

Lord Byron II (671689) | more than 5 years ago | (#26110383)

Amen! If they do this, the pirated versions will have this crap removed. Why are they trying so damn hard to alienate their customers?

Re:A reasonable idea (1)

drsquare (530038) | more than 5 years ago | (#26110535)

OK then, but that precludes you from enjoying magazines, newspapers, subscription television, sporting events, travelling on a bus, driving past billboards, going to the cinema, going to a pub, or buying anything from the Internet.

In fact, if you do a single one of these things, ever, then you're a hypocrite. Looks like you're going to have a very limited existence.

Re:A reasonable idea (1)

TheSambassador (1134253) | more than 5 years ago | (#26112825)

You pay for movies, yet they have advertisements in the form of product placement everywhere. Granted, games are a bit more expensive than a DVD, but isn't it the same concept? Do people really care that the virtual bottled soda on the in-game table is labeled "Coca-Cola" rather than "Nuka-Cola" or some similarly made-up brand?

Re:A reasonable idea (2, Insightful)

Haeleth (414428) | more than 5 years ago | (#26110323)

the fact that the ads are not intrusive

"Fact"? What "fact" is this? The publishers may have claimed that the ads will not be intrusive, but just saying something doesn't make it true. Marketers are lying scum, and like all liars, the things they say tend not to be true.

The fact is that advertisements and product placement are nearly always intrusive.

So long, game publishers. (4, Insightful)

JonTurner (178845) | more than 5 years ago | (#26109275)

>>...what types of in-game advertising players will and won't be seeing in the near future

Hey, game publishers, let me tell you what types of in-game advertising I'll be seeing in the near future: NONE! Know how I know? because I WON'T BE BUYING YOUR PRODUCTS! Seriously. It's the reason I quit watching television several years ago: it was bad enough that the quality of the shows was weak, but the encroachment of pervasive, obvious product placement and obnoxious on-screen banners thoroughly ruined the experience.

I play games to escape from this garbage, not to endorse it. I'm not interested in your advertising, and as of late I'm barely interested in your cookie-cutter games that are big on cost & hardware requirements and poor for overall entertainment value. You're walking a fine line, already.

What I'm saying is, you need to focus on the basics -- creating games that are fun and deliver good value -- rather than considering my eyeballs some sort of resource that you get to exploit.

Pissing off your customer base is not the road to financial success. But what do I know? I'm only the person who used to buy your products. And I suspect there are many, many more people who share my sentiments.

Re:So long, game publishers. (1)

LingNoi (1066278) | more than 5 years ago | (#26109353)

Is calling it nuka-cola instead of coke-cola is really going to ruin your game of fallout 3? Yeah, I didn't think so.

Re:So long, game publishers. (2, Insightful)

autobutton (940946) | more than 5 years ago | (#26109677)

Interesting that you mention Fallout in this regard. I would probably agree if it was a random FPS, but it's all those little things that make the Fallout universe what it is. And I think everyone who ever suffered from advertising knows it's not going to be just that Coca-cola. After all, there's profit to be made. If my character carries an IPhone instead of a PipBoy, wears a Levi's leather jacket without the torn-off sleeve and drives a BMW convertible with the super cool new gadget car key that can remotely convert it, then Fallout will lose one of its main attractions for me: its atmosphere. It'd become another soulless commercial product without most of the witty humor and its ambiguities, because all the new stakeholders want a clean and politically correct product.

Re:So long, game publishers. (3, Interesting)

vux984 (928602) | more than 5 years ago | (#26109955)

Is calling it nuka-cola instead of coke-cola is really going to ruin your game of fallout 3? Yeah, I didn't think so.

Is coca-cola really going to let the game developers allow their drink give you radiation poisoning?

I looked at doing ads in games once, and the real problem was that the advertisers weren't happy to merely see their products in the game, but rather the product placements had to be positive, and on message, and they wanted exclusivity so no competitors products... maybe the climbate has changed since then but I doubt it.

I mean, there was that huge Dodge Ram tie in with the new season of Terminator/SarahConner, and you can sort of see the same sort of placement 'control' going on. I suspect the script writers weren't allowed to write a scene where that truck gets toasted... that would be 'off message'. Dodge Ram's are safe, reliable, indestructable -- they aren't going to pay you for product placement, and then have it not start, or blow a tire, or crash...

In a game its even worse, because not everything is scripted. So while Nuka-Cola can give you radiation poisoning, Coca-Cola won't buy into that. The game becomes souless because the advertisers won't pay to associate their product with something negative.

Frankly, I'm surprised EA manages to get the exotics to sign on for some its Need for Speed outings. As much as they thrive on the dreams of street racing, they tend to avoid any official endorsement of it. Plus with NFS my understanding is that EA is paying the manufacturers, not the other way around.

Meanwhile Grand Theft Auto IV has 'Comets' instead of 'Porsches'. I'm not sure if the reason is that EA has soem sort of exclusivity, so the manufacturers can't license them, or whether the manufacturers are turning them down due to the level of criminal/violent content, or whether GTA isn't simply isn't asking because it doesn't want to pay?

I'm also curious what the situation is with military hardware/weaponry -- does a title like Rainbow six have to license the various rifles and pistols, etc? Or the rights to use an Apache / Comanche / Blackhawk...?

Re:So long, game publishers. (2, Insightful)

grahamd0 (1129971) | more than 5 years ago | (#26111965)

Meanwhile Grand Theft Auto IV has 'Comets' instead of 'Porsches'. I'm not sure if the reason is that EA has soem sort of exclusivity, so the manufacturers can't license them, or whether the manufacturers are turning them down due to the level of criminal/violent content, or whether GTA isn't simply isn't asking because it doesn't want to pay?

I would guess that it's because GTA is, and always has been, satire. The entire world is a parody of ours- real products would ruin the effect.

So long??...Just MOD out the advertisements... (4, Insightful)

VinylRecords (1292374) | more than 5 years ago | (#26112525)

The reason the GTA series was unable to obtain a license to model the games cars and name them after real world cars was because none of the car manufacturers wanted to see their car associated with not just violence....but they refused to allow an in game model of their be susceptible to any sort of damage. This has been documented in the past before not mostly with the GTA franchise, but with every racing franchise in history.

It's the reason why in the Gran Turismo (racing series on SONY platforms) they have a complete licenses to use exact replicas of hundreds of real life cars from dozens of competing auto companies. It's because the GT producers and developers SIGNED a contract stating that no cars could be damaged in the game by the player. That's why in GT you can ram cars into walls, drive 130 MPH head on into another car, and nothing happens to the car or the player. This is all intentional in order to obtain the license to use the car brand names.

This goes even further with sports games. Nothing controversial can ever be allowed in sports game that use the official Major League Baseball, NFL, NBA, etc. license. No players can get kicked off the team for shooting themselves in the leg (Plaxico) or hosting an illegal dog fighting ring (Vick) or beating their wives (B. Myers) or using steroids (half of MLB).

Metal Gear Solid 4 had an item called 'Playboy' that you could use to distract enemy soldiers with who would read the magazine instead of fighting you. In game advertisement? Sure. Distracting? Not really. Because it's a natural element to the game, magazines have been in MGS before.

Would seeing COCA COLA and PEPSI banners inside the sports stadiums of sporting games really put people off this badly that they would stop playing games? I wouldn't think so. Most people who play sports games watch sports, and sports have the most advertisements per minute of show than any other television genre.

But...would I want to see giant banners for PEPSI or DORITOS in GTA4, or Fallout 3? No. Because they would seem so out of place and would detract very much from the game.

But those advertisements could be REMOVED on the PC versions. Don't like that PEPSI ad? Replace it with a picture of your girlfriend by substituting some texture or .img files in the director the game is in. Or create an advertisement free mod of the game. I'm sure it would be the most popular mod. Consoles gamers (I am one, and a PC gamer) will get stuck with commercials but PC gamers hopefully can just MOD advertisements right out of most games.

Re:So long??...Just MOD out the advertisements... (2, Informative)

Crumplecorn (904797) | more than 5 years ago | (#26118475)

....but they refused to allow an in game model of their be susceptible to any sort of damage. This has been documented in the past before not mostly with the GTA franchise, but with every racing franchise in history.

Colin McRae, and no doubt other rally franchises.

Take your RL car of choice and turn it into an unrecognisable wreck.

Re:So long, game publishers. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26119301)

I mean, there was that huge Dodge Ram tie in with the new season of Terminator/SarahConner, and you can sort of see the same sort of placement 'control' going on. I suspect the script writers weren't allowed to write a scene where that truck gets toasted... that would be 'off message'. Dodge Ram's are safe, reliable, indestructable -- they aren't going to pay you for product placement, and then have it not start, or blow a tire, or crash...

The Terminator franchise has so much wanton destruction, all they do is blow up another no-name car every episode just to build tension. Isn't it nice to have Ensign Red-Truck survive more than a few episodes for once?

Re:So long, game publishers. (1)

Kneo24 (688412) | more than 5 years ago | (#26110269)

Yes, yes it would. The creators of Fallout were smart enough to create some knock-off's with some added side effects to add immersion into the game. The game has incredible atmosphere in that regard.

Re:So long, game publishers. (1)

Xian97 (714198) | more than 5 years ago | (#26110593)

In the office settings when playing F.E.A.R. there were Dell computers sitting on the desks, just what you would expect to find in many modern offices. I didn't have an issue with that. Sure, it's product placement, but it actually added to the realism. On the other hand, if you went into the break room you saw Fizzy Cola, not Coke or Pepsi so they looked out of place. Maybe that's more a statement about how ingrained brand recognition has become, but placing a product where you normally see that product in real life doesn't detract from the game in my eyes. If it's out of place, a billboard in a fantasy game, then I would have an issue with it.

Re:So long, game publishers. (1)

SpacePunk (17960) | more than 5 years ago | (#26109369)

You are just screaming in the wilderness. Over half the players out there have an I.Q. below 100, live in suburbia, and won't care.

Re:So long, game publishers. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26109585)

Unfortunately, so very true.

Re:So long, game publishers. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26119045)

Over half the players out there have an I.Q. below 100

I hope you include yourself in that group after displaying such a brilliant grasp of statistics.

Re:So long, game publishers. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26109485)

I much agree with your statement of leaving TV because of the ads as well as junk programming that runs on TV.

I do all in my power to see that ads aren't displayed when surfing. They do nothing but annoy me and don't do anything for convincing me that I should buy a product.

I too do games because it's a place I don't have to deal with ads. Putting ads in the games without some sort of benefit to the player will not bring me to the game. It will instead drive me away.

Saying things like another poster above did about it not being fair, those companies that are going to do advertising love to see that. It means you will put up with it when they shovel it out. Instead you have to do something about it. When it affects their bottom line, then they get the message. That's why the ads, a second income stream so they get paid twice.

Honestly I figure something is wrong with a product that is advertised. It's so bad they have to toot their own horn. If a product is good, if it does what it is supposed to, if it is reasonably priced, your neighbor will tell you of it or your friend. If it doesn't do those things, then they have to advertise. Which raises the cost with no benefit to you the buyer.

When I go to the store, I look at a product on the shelf and the first thing that I think of is, "Did this company pester me with ads?". If they did I go on to the next one as that one isn't worth buying.

I would think that a nascar game without ad's will (1)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 5 years ago | (#26110627)

I would think that a nascar game without ad's will be out of place maybe you can have fake ad's / ad's for other games in it but real ad's will fit in other sports are the same way.

Re:So long, game publishers. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26113089)

I don't find ads too bad on TV but perhaps it's because I live in the UK.

We only have ads between shows on BBC stations due to it being publicly funded. On our other channels, ads are usually limited to one ad break half way through a 30min show or once every 30mins or so in films.

Certainly when I've been to the US and Canada I can see how ads on some channels are enough to drive people away from TV altogether- I recall one show having ads every 5mins and I simply gave up trying to follow the show, it was too broken up to follow.

I wouldn't mind ads in games on in-game billboards and such if it weren't for one thing- nowadays, I have to pay for my bandwidth. The days of unlimited bandwidth are gone, I'm capped and get charged over that cap. I object to having these ads be streamed from a server costing me my bandwidth.

I'd care less if Microsoft insisted that if an ISP wants to be XBox live compatible certified it also has to not count XBox live bandwidth towards our caps but that's not the case- even ISPs who give you 5gb a month, something you'll use on 3 or so demos are listed as Xbox live certified, that doesn't seem right to me.

If they want to keep feeding me ads, they need to pass some of the ad revenue to me, either directly or by taking the costs of the original game price because it's costing me my bandwidth. I paid for the game, I pay for XBox live- both those I accepted to pay and am happy to pay for, I shouldn't have to suffer further hidden costs no matter how small to help increase their profits.

This stems back to a greater thing that irks me certainly, that nowadays my computing resources are no longer treated as mine. The same issue arises with DRM- why should I have to use my disk space to store their protection crap.

The use of our resources for their profits is negligible right now, but there was a time when people wouldn't even stand for any use. I imagine it's only going to get worse, and the fact ads are creeping in as part of that is only evidence that it's already happening. Right now it's still ads, or very short animated GIFs perhaps, how long before we're expected to stream high bandwidth movie trailers to an in-game cinema screen or TV?

If it does get much worse then I too will join you and simply stop buying, I spend over £2000 a year on console hardware and on games. PC hardware was on top of that but I don't spend so much there now due to the half-assed ports to the PC from console and abysmal DRM.

Software Patents (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26109423)

Then they had better be careful they check out various patents that might already cover this.

Otherwise they might be in for some nasty surprises.

Further the gap (3, Insightful)

kvezach (1199717) | more than 5 years ago | (#26109579)

Go ahead, make pirated versions even Better Than Original. If you can flip a JNE to JE and bypass protection, it should be no problem to just jump over the "render ads to screen" or "download ads from server and save to file" function.

True, modern DRM is a bit more difficult than flipping JNE to JE, but that just goes in the favor of the pirates; the ad-download function can't be more difficult than the DRM, and they're already quite able to remove the DRM... So, yeah, publishers, go ahead and compete yourself out of the market.

Re:Further the gap (2, Insightful)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 5 years ago | (#26109817)

That was the first thing I thought of too. I mean it is bad enough that companies like EA are making the DRM so damned nasty that you would have to be nuts to install it, but now they are going to pile on the ads(and if you think they won't just wait until the bean counters see how much more they can "monetize the IP") which of course will be stripped out of TPB version.

Oh, and let us not forget that they will probably add "video billboards" or constantly updating ad content which means they will be sucking up you bandwidth as well. I swear it is like these game companies have all been bought out by the PHB from Dilbert. I am just glad there are still plenty of older games I haven't bought and played yet because the PC game situation is getting so nasty I'm seriously thinking of just washing my hands of it for a few years and hoping some of these Dilbert companies just die already. I've already stopped buying anything from EA thanks to their "grab your ankles" insanely evil DRM, and this is from a guy that ALWAYS bought the latest C&C and MoH.

You would think that with the economy in the toilet they would do everything they could to keep customers but instead seem determined to drive them away. The only way I would even THINK about accepting this in game ad crap is if the price of the game was at LEAST 25% cheaper. Does anybody else think the odds that prices will go down on these "ad games" is less than zero? Me too.

Re:Further the gap (1)

Delwin (599872) | more than 5 years ago | (#26111171)

EA is laying people off. Has it occurred to anyone that given the rate of piracy of any decent game that charging for the game itself isn't such a good business model anymore?

If adds can start to support some of the development costs of AAA titles we may start to see more dare taken in their design. As is who's willing to spend millions of dollars to develop these titles when they're not 'sure things'? Video games are falling into the same problem that Movies have.

Re:Further the gap (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26111633)

EA is laying people off. Has it occurred to anyone that given the rate of piracy of any decent game that charging for the game itself isn't such a good business model anymore?

Did you stagger in here by accident after one too many at the MPAA convention?

If so, take a clue from your mates in the music industry. They've swallowed their pride and their ignorance and finally allowed DRM-free sales of music online. For the first time, the retail version of these songs are not inferior to the pirated copies that have been available on the inernets for years. The people who wanted the superior version and so have always just downloaded it from Limewire are now able to buy it legitimately.

And a strange thing has happened. They've started making a shitload of money. More than they make from selling that same music on CD.

How odd. Sell what people want and they buy it. Who would have thought?

Why, if they had started doing this ten years ago instead of ruining the value of their music files by locking it behind draconian DRM, installing rootkit trojans via music CDs and filing lawsuits against crippled children and people who have never owned computers, they could have been making a TON of money.

Despite how many people might be downloading something, internet piracy does not hurt sales. The people who want it for free aren't going to buy it if they can't find it at The Pirate Bay. They were never going to be a customer and do not count as lost sales.

Simple concept. I wish the entertainment mafiaa could grasp it.

Re:Further the gap (1)

Delwin (599872) | more than 5 years ago | (#26113141)

No, I work in the video game industry as a programmer (and no, not for EA either).

As for your thought to compare music to video games - don't. It doesn't cost 5-10 million to make a song to sell. It takes at most a few thousand dollars in studio time and everything else can be done in your garage.

Video games are a hell of a lot closer to movies than music. Try this tactic again when blockbuster level movies are treated that way.

Bad analogy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26116075)

Major Hollywood movie: Tens of thousands of people involved, from A-list stars to catering services. $100++ Million budget, but sells for $15 at Walmart/Target.

Top-level music act: Unless it's a yearlong Michael Jackson reservation in a studio, a top CD costs a hundred thousand $$s to create, including studio time, musicians, catering, etc. Total people? Less than a hundred. Maybe just a couple dozen. Sells for $10-$15 at Walmart/Target.

A-title video game. A hundred people involved, tops. single-digit million dollar budget, tops. Sells for $40-$60 at Walmart/Target.

It's not about what it costs to make, it's about charging what the market will bear, and always trying to squeeze a bit more out of the consumer. And don't forget cross-marketing. (T-shirts, movie tie-ins, books, lunchboxes, McDonald's toys, etc.)

You were saying?

Re:Further the gap (1)

Khyber (864651) | more than 5 years ago | (#26112167)

Allow me to educate you.

Guess how much would be saved had DRM not been forced onto the developer thanks to the insistence of the PUBLISHER?

Guess what these companies save by incorporating DRM? NOTHING. In fact, they LOSE more! Money lost in purchasing a product that not only FAILS to protect their product, but has the potential to cause issues to users hardware, thus incurring lawsuits, which cost even more money to defend against.

I can show you in a few hundred ways how DRM is the ABSOLUTE cause of money loss, not piracy. The lawsuit I'm in against EA right now should be more than enough proof of just how much money DRM is costing companies.

Re:Further the gap (1)

Delwin (599872) | more than 5 years ago | (#26113187)

This isn't about DRM. This is about in-game advertisement as a second (or third in the case of subscription titles) revenue stream.

Piracy hurts primary sales. EA et all are worried about piracy (wrong or right, they're worried). Piracy doesn't hurt in-game ad sale revenue. In fact it can be argued that it helps in game add revenue.

Ergo it can be argued that in-game adds could be the answer to piracy: remove DRM and let people pirate the game (free advertisement) and make money off them anyway since you can claim that every torrent is a user watching those adds. Win for both sides - users get rid of DRM, developers get both the free publicity inherent in piracy as well as the add revenue from the real number of people playing the game - legit or not.

Re:Further the gap (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26117719)

..And other people would have to pay because people that pay for metered internet are going to be fucking PISSED that some of their bandwidth is wasted playing a game (don't forget, Joe sixpack is a DUMBASS,) and the inevitable lawsuits from that as well will cost potentially more money than what's being made from in-game ads.

They're out of control. (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26109603)

They have been for awhile now.

Reminds me of my cable box. Over the life of this thing I'll may than pay for it outright. I'm also paying a ridiculous amount per month for service. Yet there on the bottom of the "guide" is an advertisement that takes up not one, but two slots that could otherwise be used for more guide information. Worse, THE CURSOR ACTUALLY STOPS THERE like I'm going to intentionally click on the stupid thing.

Anarchy Online (1)

FauxReal (653820) | more than 5 years ago | (#26109643)

I didn't mind the in-game Axe Body Spray ads playing on the video screens in common areas of Anarchy Online. Until I heard the same Axe ad playing over and over again... I hated it... I was actually hoping for new ads.
If more vendors had jumped into the advertising and maybe tried a few clever/entertaining ideas I'd have no problem with it.

Re:Anarchy Online (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26110113)

The ads are only for the free version. This whole page is about ads in PAID games. Plus you are expected to move away from the ads before they play over and over. New ads do get put in and there are always different advertisers in different areas. The rotations seem to be weekly/monthly.

Uhhh Yes! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26109699)

I do not personally condone pirating. Yes, I know, pirating is rampant, easy, free, and also .... stealing.

Blah blah DRM, SecUreRoM, xYzCRPA...

If you seriously believe that the game makers and other software developers will continue to thrive in a highly manipulative market, (with rampant pirating) you are crazy. This will ultimately only hurt the market.

This has been a great revenue model for all sorts of really great free products and software! (Yeah! You didn't steal itEXCLAMATIONPOINT).

I like using open software; as well as other great software that is FREE. And watching TV and that YouTube, oh and Hulu! BBC.com and CNN kinda cool, reporters and shit.

You insensitive clod... (1)

denzacar (181829) | more than 5 years ago | (#26110027)

Pirates are important for maintaining a natural balance and fighting global warming.

I bet you are one of those pajama-wearing-ninja-lovers too.

Who would have though...... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26109899)

You mean Duke Nuke 'Em smokes Camels and drives an H3 Hummer? I could deal with that but having him tank up on Zima really ruined the game experience for me.

Sometimes, they can be alright (1)

ChowRiit (939581) | more than 5 years ago | (#26109905)

In Battlefield 2142 they put ingame adverts in, but they actually didn't detract from the game - they were simply on billboards in urban settings, and made the place seem MORE real that adverts for "Generic Corporation". However, it needs to be done very carefully to avoid ruining the game's atmosphere, and I do agree that ingame adverts should be recognised in an appropriate discount on the game itself.

Re:Sometimes, they can be alright (1)

jmccarthy (228531) | more than 5 years ago | (#26110791)

That's my line of thought, too. I don't mind ads in games as long as it's in line with what you'd see in a real world situation. If my squad members in an FPS suddenly break into chatter about how they love Pepsi, that's bad. But if I shoot a fridge and there's, among other things, a Pepsi in it, that's good. I would like to see a drop of $10-$15 in the price of the game, though. If they're going to be making revenue off me perpetually, fine, but pass some savings on to me.

Sometimes they may make sense (1)

kerashi (917149) | more than 5 years ago | (#26110159)

In most single-player games in-game advertisement is absolutely silly. Likewise in subscription-supported online games - you pay to use the servers, you deserve to be free of ads. But what about those games that are NOT subscription supported and have an online component, like say Diablo 2? Or any other game where the company runs their own servers free-to-play? They have to pay for that somehow, and I seriously doubt that $50-60 you spend on a game will last for as long as, say, Blizzard's battle.net has. If done right, the ads won't be all that noticeable, or won't be in the actual game at all (similar to how battle.net has them in the chat screens, but doesn't have them in game). In this case, I would have no problem buying such a game. However, in the event that they are horribly out of place and serve only to lessen the value of the game, I'll be the first to tell them where to stick their ads.

Branded drink power-ups (1)

FloodSpectre (745213) | more than 5 years ago | (#26110777)

"name-brand bottled water power-ups"
I know this one's been around for awhile now. That steaming pile known as Fallout: Brotherhood of Steel (not to be confused with Tactics) had Bawls in it, which were pretty much just health potions if I'm remembering correctly.
From wikipedia:

Brotherhood of Steel employed in-game advertisement in that Nuka-Cola bottles and even advertising billboards from the original series were replaced with Bawls Guarana bottles and signs.

Ugh (1)

AkaKaryuu (1062882) | more than 5 years ago | (#26110953)

Considering this is about Microsoft, I'm hoping this is limited to Xbox. =/ Not holding my breath though.

For sure though, any game with ads will not be getting my money. Last thing I need is to be playing MGS and have an ad for Viagra claiming to bring "New life to your Snake".

Re:Ugh (1)

IBBoard (1128019) | more than 5 years ago | (#26117579)

XBox only? Of course not. Why do you think Microsoft started all of those "Games for Windows" branded boxes? It'll be to cram in things like this and reduced moddability because of downloadable content (which is the way Dawn of War 2 appears to be going from some bits I've read).

Re:Ugh (1)

PingSpike (947548) | more than 5 years ago | (#26120329)

Fortunately thus far "Games For Windows" has turned out to something between a meaningless rubber stamp and project that blew up on the launchpad so they don't really have the clout to do this. Games for Windows seemed to have the final goal of making PC Gaming into "Play Xbox games on your PC! Finally, all the trouble and hardware costs of PC Games with the restrictions and fees of console games! The future is now."

Did they also detail (1)

SupremoMan (912191) | more than 5 years ago | (#26112019)

Did they also detail the new demographic of their user base? Cause it sure as hell won't be me.

If any software crackers are reading this... (1)

keatonguy (1001680) | more than 5 years ago | (#26117711)

...Adblock isn't just for firefox anymore. We'd all love you even more than we do already if we could get an adblocker for these games along with our No-CD patches.

I take the other approach (1)

BigJClark (1226554) | more than 5 years ago | (#26121459)


I actively pay attention to in-game ads. I then go out of my way not to buy products from these companies. Ergo, the more money a company pays for advertising, the less profit they'll generate from me.
Load More Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Sign up for Slashdot Newsletters
Create a Slashdot Account

Loading...