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Personalized In-Game Advertising In Upcoming Titles

Soulskill posted more than 4 years ago | from the brought-to-you-by-frungy-the-sport-of-kings dept.

Privacy 244

Scythal writes "In-game advertising provider Massive Inc., acquired by Microsoft in 2006, has signed up or renewed contracts with several publishers, notably EA, Blizzard Entertainment, THQ, and Activision. Eagerly anticipated games like Need for Speed: Shift will feature the technology that continuously collects 'anonymous' information about users, sends them to the Massive database for analysis, and downloads advertisements to be shown in the game. All that happens insidiously, without the users' explicit consent and out of their control, which raises further concerns about privacy, security and quite frankly, customer abuse. Would you feel concerned about software that collects personal information and sends it so that you get more personalized ads in a game you paid for?" (More, below.)"The technology has already been implemented, and was present in older titles. For example, Far Cry 2, released in October 2008 by Ubisoft Montreal, had it. You could discover that if you cared to read the manual up to the last pages: 'This game incorporates technology of Massive Incorporated ("Massive") that, when activated, enable the presentation of in-game advertisements and other in-game objects which are uploaded temporarily to your personal computer or game console and changed during online game play. As part of this process, when Massive technology is activated, Massive may have access to your Internet Protocol address. Your Internet Protocol address, and other basic anonymous information, available to Massive are temporarily used by Massive for the general purposes of transmitting and measuring in-game advertising.' However, it seems the technology was not used at the time, for some reason. This time, be assured it will be. How are we supposed to react to something like this? Shouldn't it be called adware? And, gratified by the success of this technology, what would be the next logical step of companies like Massive? Wouldn't they seek new publishers and use it in other software?"

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244 comments

Will not work. (5, Insightful)

jack2000 (1178961) | more than 4 years ago | (#29252523)

I have two words for you: DNS Blacklist

Re:Will not work. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29252567)

Will not work.
The game has 7 words for you: This game requires a working Internet connection.

Re:Will not work. (5, Insightful)

RobVB (1566105) | more than 4 years ago | (#29252569)

If Blizzard is going to implement this, they'll probably do it via Battle.net somehow. And knowing how much money Blizzard is raking in, I wouldn't be surprised if other publishers got the balls to set up restrictive you-must-be-on-line-and-connected-to-us-if-you-want-to-play "services".

How are we supposed to react to something like this?

The only easy answer is "don't buy those games". The sad part is that most major games will probably start using this or similar technologies.

Re:Will not work. (5, Insightful)

jack2000 (1178961) | more than 4 years ago | (#29252595)

Only way in hell I'm going to buy such a game is if it's free. When I pay, I expect not to be pestered.

Re:Will not work. (2, Insightful)

Tynin (634655) | more than 4 years ago | (#29252793)

Only way in hell I'm going to buy such a game is if it's free. When I pay, I expect not to be pestered.

I'm going to make an assumption that you also do not have cable/satellite TV? I can only imagine that sooner than later game companies are going to start force feeding us ads and tell us that it is value added as the additional cash flow is needed in order maintain and expand on... well, anything they feel like telling us. And the sheep will continue to pay and ask for more... :(

Re:Will not work. (1, Insightful)

jack2000 (1178961) | more than 4 years ago | (#29252997)

Nope, stopped watching TV mostly because of the news and ads.
No newspapers either. This did Wonders for my peace of mind...

Re:Will not work. (1)

Tynin (634655) | more than 4 years ago | (#29253035)

Glad to hear it, so few practice what they preach. If only I could convince my wife I'd drop my satellite TV without thinking twice.

Re:Will not work. (4, Informative)

VGPowerlord (621254) | more than 4 years ago | (#29253847)

I'm going to make an assumption that you also do not have cable/satellite TV? I can only imagine that sooner than later game companies are going to start force feeding us ads and tell us that it is value added as the additional cash flow is needed in order maintain and expand on... well, anything they feel like telling us. And the sheep will continue to pay and ask for more... :(

The problem with this comparison is that cable/satellite TV is a service that brings me other peoples products that I otherwise normally wouldn't get. For Internet games, this is what my ISP does. My ISP doesn't have advertisements, but I still see them on the web.

With a game, I've already paid for the product. If it's an online game: well, you should have done the FPS model of having groups host their own servers. However, make sure you choose a good model for this. Valve has this mostly right. Left 4 Dead for PC, however, is a bad example of how to do this, because player groups join random servers by default. This defeats the entire purpose of having separate servers.

Now, getting back to ads in games, some ad game modifications aren't limited to multi-player Internet games. WipEout HD was a good example of this. WipEout HD was updated at some point to add additional advertisements during the game's load screens, even during single player games. The game's level load time was also increased in order to show these ads to you for longer periods of time. Video example [youtube.com].

This update was killed in early August and the advertisements removed because of the uproar it generated in the community.

Re:Will not work. (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29252981)

Only way in hell I'm going to buy such a game is if it's free.

Huh?

Re:Will not work. (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29253825)

You can "buy" books on the kindle store for 0.00$ - I figure it's the same principle :p

"When I pay, I expect not to be pestered" (1)

da5idnetlimit.com (410908) | more than 4 years ago | (#29253109)

So you never bought a DVD with the mandatory "film previews" ?

Re:"When I pay, I expect not to be pestered" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29253375)

http://www.bolditalic.com/quotulatiousness_archive/piracy2.jpg When piracy gets you BETTER quality (read no advertisements, or PSAs or unrelated other junk) there is something wrong with the system.

Re:Will not work. (1)

Mad Merlin (837387) | more than 4 years ago | (#29252753)

The progression to more and more draconian DRM and more invasive advertising has been steady for at least the last decade. Though, it's worth noting that the Battle.net lobby has had ads in it since the beginning, it would seem that this combined with the no LAN play in SC2 is a real kick in the nuts for gamers. Though as you noted, the best way to be heard is to vote with your feet, Game! [wittyrpg.com] for example is both free and ad free. (shameless plug)

Re:Will not work. (4, Insightful)

Toonol (1057698) | more than 4 years ago | (#29252819)

Absolutely. That's why Starcraft 2 is such a consumer-unfriendly game. I'm not going to buy it; I rather hope nobody else does, although I'm sure they will. Once publishers manage to get acceptance for the idea that a game constantly needs to have an online connection, i.e., they will have seized ownership away from the consumer. They can deactivate, alter, and advertise in the game however they want, at any time.

A lot of publishers are watching how Starcraft 2 does. I can only hope it gets the Spore treatment from the public.

Re:Will not work. (-1, Troll)

binarylarry (1338699) | more than 4 years ago | (#29252897)

Personally, I think most of the people up in arms about Battle.net being required for SCII are just mad that Blizzard has solved the piracy problem.

Re:Will not work. (1)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 4 years ago | (#29253611)

Absolutely. That's why Starcraft 2 is such a consumer-unfriendly game. I'm not going to buy it; I rather hope nobody else does, although I'm sure they will. Once publishers manage to get acceptance for the idea that a game constantly needs to have an online connection, i.e., they will have seized ownership away from the consumer.

Get acceptance? This sort of thing has become mainstream a long time ago. See Steam, etc.

Re:Will not work. (1)

VGPowerlord (621254) | more than 4 years ago | (#29253871)

Steam has an offline mode, though. I'm not sure how long it'll let you run the game in offline mode before it pesters you about it, though. I've heard people say one month.

Re:Will not work. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29253063)

I've finally accepted realization that most game companies are going to do this. On principle I won't pay full price for a game that insists on pumping adverts to my comp and collecting any type of info. All while using my bandwidth to do it. All-well it was fun playing video games while it lasted.

Re:Will not work. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29253087)

That's okay. If they're generating revenue off of my simply playing the game, I won't feel nearly as guilty for downloading the cracked version and playing that.

Re:Will not work. (5, Insightful)

ZosX (517789) | more than 4 years ago | (#29252619)

I have two words for you: DNS Blacklist

Great now I need adblock for games. Isn't need for speed commercialized enough anyways? This sort of thing has been going on in hollywood for a long time now. It was only a matter of time before games started doing it. Now with the internet they can just stream you fresh targeted ads. It would be nice if people just voted no to ads with their pocketbook, but I doubt most people would care. They are already used to a steady stream of ads in their daily lives. Sad really.

Re:Will not work. (1)

ZosX (517789) | more than 4 years ago | (#29252677)

I also wanted to add that digg just started mixing advertisements in with its regular stories and people seem to be digging them. What's worse is that it mixes them in with the regular stories, thus forcing you to at least skim over the title as you scan down the listings. I can't explain why I keep looking on digg, but if that is what is popular on the net, its sort of like watching a slow moving train wreck.....utterly hypnotizing in a devious sort of way. At least the people here leave me some sort of hope for humanity....

Re:Will not work. (-1, Troll)

mftb (1522365) | more than 4 years ago | (#29252971)

God forbid people actually buy products that are targeted and marketed at them.

Re:Will not work. (3, Insightful)

morghanphoenix (1070832) | more than 4 years ago | (#29253167)

I purposefully avoid adds that pop up in games or on TV. If I want to buy something I go looking for it, I don't automatically jump on whatever is thrust in my face the most. I want comparisons, user reviews, studies on safety and privacy if it applies. I don't care about brand names, in most cases don't care about appearance, and sure don't care about catchy jingles that get in your head and won't leave. If I find myself humming about mini-sirloin burgers when I'm out looking for something to eat I can guarantee that I won't be stopping at Jack-in-the-Box.

Re:Will not work. (1)

ibookdb (1199357) | more than 4 years ago | (#29253331)

This has not been going on in hollywood for a long time. This is the same as your tv (or dvd/blu-ray movies on your internet connected player) showing characters drinking pepsi and your neighbors tv showing characters drinking coke because of your programming preferences

Re:What kills me about this.. (1)

symbolic (11752) | more than 4 years ago | (#29253627)

Why do companies have to be so covert and sneaky about it? Why don't they just ASK users to let them know what kinds of products they'd be interested in knowing about? This method is so much more transparent, and it completely negates any notion that they have to profile everything you do in order to figure out which ads to feed you. Ultimately, they really don't need to know any more than what you choose to tell them.

Genius (1)

aedan (196243) | more than 4 years ago | (#29252533)

A little like iTunes Genius feature?

Re:Genius (4, Funny)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 4 years ago | (#29252581)

A little like iTunes Genius feature?

Heavens no. This is from Microsoft and has the evil bit set. Mr. Jobs would never let something like that befall his faithful.

Evil bits (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29253041)

This is from Microsoft and has the evil bit set. Mr. Jobs would never let something like that befall his faithful.

No, no, no. Microsoft does not set the evil bit, because they are evil.

What Apple does is set the RDF byte, which although proprietary is built on top of FOSS bits.

Re:Genius (4, Funny)

ArundelCastle (1581543) | more than 4 years ago | (#29253441)

Heavens no. This is from Microsoft and has the evil bit set. Mr. Jobs would never let something like that befall his faithful.

Actually I think evil takes 4-bits. Why? It's a HEX.

Sorry, I had to nibble.

Hacking (4, Funny)

Farlan (1145095) | more than 4 years ago | (#29252563)

This may lead to a new generation of hackers: people who use their spare time to patch the games to remove those insidious ads. Should we call them adkers?

Re:Hacking (4, Insightful)

RobVB (1566105) | more than 4 years ago | (#29252659)

PC games have had ads for a very long time. The first game that comes to mind is World Cup 98 [gamespot.com], which had ads for Snickers, JVC, Mastercard, Opel, Fujifilm, Gilette, Braun and Adidas (check the screenshots on Gamespot). Something like that doesn't bother me at all, it adds to realism and immersion (it's better than billboards that say Snockers, JCV and Adadis), and I'm fine with publishers trying to make a few extra bucks.

What I'm trying to say is, it's not the ads that I'm worried about, it's the "anonymous" information they're sending back and forth. I trust they won't send any of my "personal" information (name, telephone number, personal e-mails), but where do you draw the line?

Re:Hacking (3, Insightful)

Dachannien (617929) | more than 4 years ago | (#29252717)

Games like World Cup 98 are exceptions to the rule, because the advertisements reflect what you see on TV when you watch those sporting events, lending an air of authenticity to them.

The vast majority of games are not set in the modern real world, though, and advertisements for modern real world products are inappropriate in those games.

Re:Hacking (1)

jack2000 (1178961) | more than 4 years ago | (#29252763)

Hell Nuka-Cola was fine by me. If they can hit some more on that principle i MIGHT be fine with it...

Re:Hacking (1)

esper (11644) | more than 4 years ago | (#29253117)

I trust they won't send any of my "personal" information (name, telephone number, personal e-mails)...

You've just hit on exactly what I don't get about this blurb's claims of these games "collecting personal information":

When was the last time you entered your (real) name, a phone number, an email address, or any other piece of personal information into a game during play? In my case, that would be approximately... never, IIRC.

Any information I've ever entered has been during registration, not gameplay, and that's already getting sent to the publisher whether they use in-game ads or not. Unless they're including local exploits to collect information from other applications without the user's knowledge/consent, then I don't see any evidence of an actual privacy threat tied to the ads.

Re:How about your browser history? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29253269)

It would be trivial for the game to scan your browsing history and bookmarks and then send that information to the ad servers.

Re:Hacking (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29253621)

Doesn't the game have access to all your files?
Easily has your username, and can just hop over to /MyDocs and start looking for information.

Re:Hacking (1)

morghanphoenix (1070832) | more than 4 years ago | (#29253227)

I don't mind the in-game bulletin boards as long as they amtch the game. Not like a froob acount on AO where you're seeing commercials for movies that are thousands of years old by game timeline, or the "do something amazing" for a military force that no longer exists in the game. Sports games I expect to see these things, and they fit there, but if I'm off in space killing Zerg I sure as hell don't want to see a Nike commercial.

what information? (2, Interesting)

gbjbaanb (229885) | more than 4 years ago | (#29252591)

The question is - what information does it collect, and where does it collect it from? I mean, if it scans my hard drive for files, my in-game experience will look ore like Duke Nukem's dancing girl posters, or (god forbid) work!

If it scans my bookmarks, cookies, etc, then I'll be viewing slashdot in-game.

Either way, its not good for the security of my PC, if a game can collect this information, the scammers and botnets can do the same, all they have to do is persuade me to install something - a game for example.

Re:what information? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29252705)

if a game can collect this information, the scammers and botnets can do the same, all they have to do is persuade me to install something - a game for example.

Typically, trojans are already disguised as something useful, like a game. See social engineering [wikipedia.org].

free (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29252613)

The only way I would buy this game is if the title is free because of the ad content

How to fix this (5, Insightful)

Drakin020 (980931) | more than 4 years ago | (#29252617)

You want to know how you the consumer can fix this? You don't buy the games that have this kind of advertisement in it!

I mean I'm all for static advertising in games that are free, or reduced in price. (Quakelive for example)

But if I'm paying $50 bucks as well as sacrificing privacy and having to deal with ads, I'll have none of it.

But the only way you can fix this is by not buying the product. Show them that you will have no part in it. Problem is, many people will still go out and buy it, which is why they will continue to do it. If they know they can still make money, they will continue with this kind of stuff until we say "No more"

So stick by your guns, and just say no. Else nothing will ever change.

Re:How to fix this (4, Interesting)

girlintraining (1395911) | more than 4 years ago | (#29252735)

So stick by your guns, and just say no. Else nothing will ever change.

Because that's been so successful in the past! So the 1% of the population that's actually computer literate enough to (a) know about this and (b) care won't buy their game. They won't notice. So how about Plan B:

Patch the game or setup firewall rules to block such communications, like via a proxy or some-such.

Or Plan C:

Reverse engineer the protocol, then poison-pill the marketing data.

Re:How to fix this (1)

PIBM (588930) | more than 4 years ago | (#29253085)

You forgot step 2 of plan c...

End up in jail :\

Notice that there's no .... profit ! in there!

Re:How to fix this (3, Insightful)

girlintraining (1395911) | more than 4 years ago | (#29253381)

End up in jail :\

Integrity has no need of laws. Too many things are allowed these days because of unjust laws that protect unethical conduct. "No duty, however, binds us to these so-called laws, whose corrupting influence menaces what is noblest in our being..." -- Benjamin Constant. I've always advocated doing what you feel in your heart is right; You'll be damned for it anyway. A lot of people here have the sentiment that what this company is doing is wrong -- they need to explore those feelings on a deeper level and then resolve to a course of action. Most likely, they will choose to do nothing (and that is fine). But if they choose that out of fear of punishment then we've become a sorry lot indeed.

Re:How to fix this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29252755)

Well, for years we've been hearing the argument that pirates put out a better product than the companies that produce them. Now there would be some truth to that statement.

Re:How to fix this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29253095)

It is the least thing they could do, given those annoyances (this, and DRM, and games calling home, and...) were included because of pirates.

Re:How to fix this (1)

symbolic (11752) | more than 4 years ago | (#29252843)

I concur - people seem to think that "just because so-and-so is doing it, others will jump on the bandwagon." However, all it will take is LESS than one cycle of a notable reduction in game sales to convince publishers that this is not a good idea. Unfortunately, the average consumer is weak. That's why SecurROM has become somewhat mainstream now, and this weakness will undoubtedly shepherd in other undesirable shenanigans.

Re:How to fix this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29252847)

So stick by your guns, and just say no. Else nothing will ever change.

Nothing will change anyway. The revenue lost to people who care is almost assuredly going to be less than the revenue gained by the advertising. Especially since there's no well-funded group to try to spread the word *against* the advertising.

Re:How to fix this (1)

webheaded (997188) | more than 4 years ago | (#29252957)

They won't care and they won't feel it. They don't come out and tell people about these things so 90% of people will not even know it's there. It's sneaky, underhanded, and they'll get away with it most likely because they'll hide it and only nerds will know about it. Yeah, we could not buy the game and we'd feel all warm and fuzzy too, but that doesn't mean we're actually going to make a dent in their sales...ESPECIALLY for a game like this that is target at well...a different type of person than a nerd.

Re:How to fix this (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29253009)

Problem is, many people will still go and download it, which is, I guess, the reason why they included advertisements; to get money from those who download it instead of buying.

Re:How to fix this (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 4 years ago | (#29253011)

You want to know how you the consumer can fix this? You don't buy the games that have this kind of advertisement in it!

Its not like they tell you this on the box.. Normally the sale has long since past before the average guy figures this stuff out.

Yay! (4, Interesting)

osu-neko (2604) | more than 4 years ago | (#29252637)

If it means more money for the people who produce the games I like, so they can hire more coders, more artists, more level designers, etc., then great!

I don't object to the idea in principle. I think it's a great idea, actually. Only concerns I have circle around the degree of anonymity and security. But if those are issues that are handled well, then this is a good thing for me as a gamer.

Re:Yay! (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29252801)

No it just means more money for the people who produce games, so they can have more money...

Re:Yay! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29253419)

Yes, to hire more coders, artists and level designers, didn't you read? ;)

If they can get money doing this, they'll do their best (or, at least, they'll do something) to make sure more people buy, or download, the game, by improving it. And it is good for everyone. If they don't mess up the privacy stuff, I mean.

Re:Yay! (1)

Bert64 (520050) | more than 4 years ago | (#29253103)

It should be free to download/play with ads, or you can pay for have a version without ads...
I extremely resent having to pay for something and then be bombarded with ads as well.

An ad supported game may be a better long term strategy than selling the games anyway, you get ongoing revenue so long as people play the game and you effectively eliminate piracy since it becomes easier to download the legit copy , so long as the ads aren't so intrusive that they detract from gameplay (or pirates may come out with an ad-free version).

On the other hand, it means the game developers have to actually produce a decent addictive game, churning out their typical "fun for 10 minutes" crap won't generate many ad hits.

Re:Yay! (1)

clarkkent09 (1104833) | more than 4 years ago | (#29253605)

I extremely resent having to pay for something and then be bombarded with ads as well.

I do too, but unfortunately it has been a part of life for a long time: newspapers, magazines, cable TV, satellite radio, movies in theaters as well as DVDs with trailers, sporting events etc etc are all things that you pay for and still get bombarded with ads.

Re:Yay! (3, Insightful)

Tom (822) | more than 4 years ago | (#29253189)

If it means more money for the people who produce the games I like, so they can hire more coders, more artists, more level designers, etc., then great!

Yeah, as if that is going to happen.

The games industry is going down (in both senses) the same route that the movie, and music industries have. Who do you think will profit from this, the producers and artists, or the distributors? My bet's not on the developers.

Re:Yay! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29253465)

If it means more money for the people who produce the games I like, so they can hire more coders, more artists, more level designers, etc., then great!

I don't object to the idea in principle. I think it's a great idea, actually. Only concerns I have circle around the degree of anonymity and security.
But if those are issues that are handled well, then this is a good thing for me as a gamer.

Are you serious? Since when does more money equal more employees?

I tried searching online and found some poorly written articles that pertain to the staffing.

http://ve3d.ign.com/articles/news/41296/Blizzard-World-of-WarCrafts-Success-is-Exhausting
"Blizzard's Frank Pearce finds the WoW juggernaut to be quite tiring:
In an interview at Games Convention in Leipzig he queried a question as to whether the title's performance - beyond all expectations since launch - had been interesting to watch.
  "I don't know if I'd describe it as 'interesting' as much as exhausting," he said. "We've got almost 3000 employees worldwide now, and the majority of that growth is due to the success of World of Warcraft.
  "As a company we've found ourselves spread very, very thin - because the World of Warcraft community has a voracious appetite for content. That development team is 130 people, they're working on content patches, they're working on an expansion set, they've got their hands full - and then we've got the other development teams that we need to continue to support as well.

So lets see 130-300 People that create the content. 2800 People that are customer service.
Billions of dollars in revenue.

According to this article:$1.7 billion a year is gross yearly proffit. With only 10 Million Subscribers. Thats 1 person per 3,300 they support. And they only profit $566,666 Per Employee. If you figure only the developer staff of maybe 250? You get a more reasonable salary of $6,800,000 per person.
http://www.wow.com/2008/01/24/how-much-money-blizzard-is-really-making-from-10-million-subscri/

From Wikipedia:
Google only has 20,000 full time employees and makes only 22 Billion a year. So they only gross $1,100,000 Per Employee. Pretty crappy considering the user base of google against the 10 million user base of Blizzard.
  US$21.80 billion (FY 2008, â-31% from 2007) Â Employees: 19,786 full-time (Jun. 30, 2009)

I definitely think the game industry needs more money.
Not only will I be more than happy to buy their games, I will also buy any product that is advertised on it.

Re:Yay! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29253471)

FINALLY!
Why do people object to advertising so much? MORE so, why do people object to PERSONALIZED advertising?

I'd love to see some advertising tailored exactly to my likes than stuff i outright hate or don't care for.
And i'd actually like to see some advertising for some things i am interested in while gaming, such as ads for new games. (i have missed so many new game releases over the years, mainly due to laze)

But for some reason, the instant anyone mentions tracking, "OH MY GOD ITS FUCKING EVIL, KILL THEM NOW!"
I'd rather have preferences that follow me than being anonymous and end up with shitty ads for X product i don't care for.
Privacy? As long as the company is honest about what the privacy policy is, i don't mind.

And to be 100% honest, either grow some balls and let people know your likes or stop living a fucking double/triple/quadruple life and lying to yourself and the people you know
Everyone i know, every single one of them, know exactly what i like, whether it is latex fetish or doll fetish.
Yes, i realize the irony in posting as AC, but i just haven't been bothered to reset the password for my old account yet.

Obviously it will have to be unobtrusive and fit in with the game, and not interfere with any loading (such as the recent Wipeout mess on PSN that fell in to all 3!)
And pricing on some games are just plain atrocious if it comes with ads.
Someone mentioned a discount on the ad version (50%) and see what happened.

Discount? (5, Interesting)

silver69 (1481169) | more than 4 years ago | (#29252671)

Easy solution, offer two versions of the game. One with out the ads and one with the ads but at a discount, say 50% off. Then let the consumer decide.

Will not pay for products with ads... (1)

BlueF (550601) | more than 4 years ago | (#29252685)

Unless the games infected with ads are absolutely free, I will not pay for any product containing advertisements (which are not so unobtrusive I can ignore without second thought).

Used to love going to the movies, even arriving at the movie "start" time when I expected a few interesting trailers... Now that theaters are playing commercials (mostly eye-stabingly bad adverts) before the trailers, I pretty much avoid seeing movies in the theater.

Ironic, running the risk of alienating consumers with a supplemental revenue stream. Too bad the loss in product sales are likely more than be made up with the ad revenues. : (

Re:Will not pay for products with ads... (1)

Mr. Freeman (933986) | more than 4 years ago | (#29252983)

No, you're obviously not going to the movies because you're pirating everything. Customers don't care about service, they're clearly PIRATING EVERYTHING if they don't pay $10 to sit in seats next to smelly people and walk on soda-sticky floors and sit through ads.

Re:Will not pay for products with ads... (1)

Quantumstate (1295210) | more than 4 years ago | (#29253231)

But remember that when you watch a videotaped pirated version of the film you might have it wrecked by somebody walking in front of the camera at the wrong moment. This never happens when you are at the cinema of course so the experience is so much better.

I'm okay with this! (3, Interesting)

MrMista_B (891430) | more than 4 years ago | (#29252701)

I'm okay with this!

If they give me the game for free.

If they won't give me the ad-crippled game for free, then there's hundreds of really good games that /don't/ have ads, that I still haven't played yet.

Xbox Live (1)

lyinhart (1352173) | more than 4 years ago | (#29252729)

One of the worst problems with this concept would come up if you're an Xbox Live Gold subscriber. You're already paying $50 for multiplayer (let's face it - that's the only real benefit of the service), and on top of that they still sell your personal data and feed you adverts. Data mining is fine as long as the user consents to it and in return is provided with some kind of free service - sites like Facebook are built around this model. But to plunk down money only to have them serve you more in-game commercials? That's some bad double-dipping.

Planetside (1)

Grithok (696050) | more than 4 years ago | (#29252771)

They tried generic billboards in their games. I think I saw ads in the game for about a month before no one else put an ad there since no one cared. Now all those bill boards do is get in your way when you are running around narrow ledges on the sides of buildings.

If you could buy ad supported games (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29252825)

or pay the regular price for ad-free games, I think I could stomach it

The only personalized advertising for me... (1)

macraig (621737) | more than 4 years ago | (#29252831)

... is a complete absence of it. This is one more reason to remain a loner when it comes to gaming, and shun online multiplayer in favor of lan party or "skirmish" gaming only.

Simple... vote with your wallet and let them know (2, Interesting)

Fallen Kell (165468) | more than 4 years ago | (#29252835)

As the title says, vote with your wallet. Don't buy the game and send a letter, not an email, to the companies involved and let them know why you are not purchasing their game(s).

It could be acceptable if... (2, Interesting)

RockClimbingFool (692426) | more than 4 years ago | (#29252851)

1.) Data collected is purely my from my interaction with the game only. IE, you don't get to data mine my harddrive, my browser history, etc.

2.) I am not forced to watch ads to play the game. Showing some ads during loading periods is borderline, prolonging the load screen time to force me to watch ads is not acceptable. Need for Speed lends itself very well to in game advertising that does not get in the way of actual game play (billboards, decals, etc.)

3.) Any collection is done only by the game, in the game. No root kits, background processes, etc.

But in reality, they probably want to:

1.) Rootkit your computer to watch any activity you do on your computer at all times.

2.) Place an unhidable screen overlay that bombards you with ads all the time. And this overlay would be needed anytime the game was installed as part of the EULA.

3.) Attach a GPS tracking device to your leg to monitor which stores you shop at, movies you watch, etc. to enhance you experience during the game.

You know, the usual stuff. It will be all in the EULA. No worries...

Consent? We've all consented... (1)

djsmiley (752149) | more than 4 years ago | (#29252881)

"without the users' explicit consent and out of their control, which raises further concerns about privacy, security and quite frankly, customer abuse."

No, in the ToS for gold it clearly mentions this (likely its in the ToS for the whole online service as it'd effect silver players too) - and the most obivious point here is - Dont play online if you dont want that.

The fact you can't really put any infomation INTO a game, no "real" infomation at least. A gamertag, an IP, maybe some address info, but thats not going to give you a very well customised advert. The way it'll work most likely is how it already works - you go into the game and attach you "ubisoft"/EA/Microsoft/other publisher account to your gamertag via the game and it gives you "free items" to use in game. In return, they know who you are if you ever use the website.

The fact is, you'll still have adverts while playing the game, the question is just if they are aimed at "you" or not.

Amazes me (4, Interesting)

Maxo-Texas (864189) | more than 4 years ago | (#29252917)

how much freedom and privacy young people are willing to give up.

I won't buy these-- for the first two decades I owned computers they were completely mine. Concepts like these weren't even considered *and* good games were profitable at the same inflation adjusted pricing levels (about $20 to $25 for a good game in the 80's).

I'm headed the other way on this train. I've been reducing cable and it's likely to go black in the next few weeks.

Re:Amazes me (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29253677)

Well, the same with me - I started gaming in the mid-late 70's, and as you say, for a few decades there, my computer was mine.

But times change. You, me, and the handful of others who think the same way simply don't matter. There aren't enough of us. The shift will happen whether we want it to or not. Young people really *don't* care about privacy. (As a rule of thumb - there are exceptions of course - there are 17 y.o's who agree with us, just not very many).

I believe things like this are part of getting old (I'm 51 now). Eventually we'll be shut out of all of it, because the things we care about no longer matter to the vast majority. The ability to have a Turing complete computing device which serves no other master than you will be gone, because both governments and big companies want control over your computing experience. There will be DRM down to the hardware level so that you can be stopped from running things like adblock which harm someone's revenue stream. You will only be able to run signed software (it's starting already in mobile computing environments). So that Iranian protesters can be cut off en-mass by a central authority. Only "trusted" systems will be allowed on the network. Want to do online banking? Play a game? Send a holographic mail to your pal? Sorry, your system isn't trusted if it's still under your control. And as long as people can still view whatever replaces youtube and myspace by then, they won't care.

It's the way of things. I'll go down fighting, supporting openness, but I'm under no illusions that it's a war I'm gonna win. The lack of my $45 and yours for some game won't change shit, because for each one like us, there are a thousand 15 year olds who don't know ring-0 from their ass, and will happily install Tages or SecureRom to play the latest shooter. They don't understand or care about control of their own computer being taken away from them. It's not really a computer to them - it's entertainment, ala television.

Realism (3, Insightful)

theJmtz (842443) | more than 4 years ago | (#29252935)

I think the privacy concern here is a real one. However I don't see the big deal about advertising in games. When I'm playing a game like GTA4 which is supposed to be in NYC, or Rainbow 6 vegas, making a city look real is a major part of those games. Real cities have advertising: billboards, storefronts, posters, whatever. "Fake" adds work great for those, but seeing an add for a company I've heard of certainly doesn't hurt the immersion, it can actually help it. Of course this doesn't apply to the stupid big splash-screen adds or things showing up in blatant, or gameplay changing ways. Those are annoying and need to go. Clearly some games can add this (like those I mentioned above) while others, say Final Fantasy or Mario anything will never lend themselves to this. I think it's a matter of context. Grabbing private information from my computer/console to try and customize these adds is a direction I'm not a huge fan of, but this is very much not isolated to video games. It's all over the web and I'm sure advertisers are trying to do it elsewhere.

Cancelled my Guitar Hero 5 order (5, Interesting)

kupekhaize (220804) | more than 4 years ago | (#29252975)

Dear Activision,

I just found out you are one of the companies that are using massive's massively annoying advertising technology to deliver ads in game. This is unacceptable, I'm not going to pay $100 for a game where I am going to constantly have advertisements thrown at me.

I've just cancelled my guitar hero 5 pre order (which was going to ship out tomorrow). Glad I found out about this now. Just how many in game ads does it take to equal that $100? I don't know myself, but i bet you do. And its probably not a trivial number.

Here's a news flash. WE DO NOT WANT THIS CRAP, AND WE ESPECIALLY DONT WANT TO PAY FOR IT.

Re:Cancelled my Guitar Hero 5 order (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29253463)

Too bad they weren't making a hundred dollars on your purchase of GH 5, so they really only need to make more sales than that.

Sorry self-important dude, but Activision knows that they'll offend people, but they think that they'll still make more money.

Oh well, at least it's not an exploding car.

Mom banned me playing games (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29253031)

.. after she saw all those dp adult ads on that soccer simulation game. And she has not even seen the ads popping up lately on dad's golf game...

Privacy??? (1)

AltaMannen (568693) | more than 4 years ago | (#29253065)

Ok, so as long as Massive isn't lying all they know is the game you're playing, which level you're playing and your IP to know where you are located. If you're playing XBox live this is pretty much public information anyway thanks to "live presence" which is available to licensed companies as an SDK from Microsoft. Are you afraid that the advertising company track your lack of skill on Barbie Horse Adventure or what? There is a valid issue of the publisher making money in addition to the first sale of the product, but how much do you think that adds up to? I don't think you'll get a $60 value from each person playing the game to make it free, so if the publisher decides to spend the extra money on quality rather than reduce the price is that really so bad? (Note: I'm not saying I agree with a $60 price point, just that it is the price of a premium game these days)

Old (1)

Scorpinox (479613) | more than 4 years ago | (#29253101)

This is kind of old news, Penny Arcade even made a comic about this way back in the day:
http://penny-arcade.smugmug.com/photos/215553534_T79Vh-L-2.jpg

I don't care and almost no one else does, either (1)

MBraynard (653724) | more than 4 years ago | (#29253195)

We are all use to it. Gmail, everything on Google, banner ads, etc. are all seemingly targeting one way or another (my banner ads are often specific to my geography). Even direct snail mail works this way.

It's not like they are spying on anyone in particular. It isn't personal - it's automated targeting.

FOSS (1)

Evil Shabazz (937088) | more than 4 years ago | (#29253237)

In TFS, the question was posed:

"And, gratified by the success of this technology, what would be the next logical step of companies like Massive? Wouldn't they seek new publishers and use it in other software?"

The answer there is simple. If MS were to try to implement this kind of thing in, say, Office - how fast do you think people would be jumping over to OpenOffice? They can't make you watch ads if you control the source code.

Another reason why I don't play new games... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29253247)

From the insanely high prices, to the invasive capitalist malware like securom, to this embedded spyware, it just isn't worth my time. I'll stick to playing games from the ~90s, where everything didn't suck. Games today are short, unoptimized (see cross-platform) graphical demos.

Windows & X-Box only (2, Informative)

morghanphoenix (1070832) | more than 4 years ago | (#29253335)

The publishers will only be working with Massive for ads within Xbox 360 and PC versions of games, and not those for any other platforms.

PS3 or Wii anyone?

EA I expected to be there, I'm not to terribly surprised that Activision is on it, but I am really disappointed in THQ for being on that list.

you canâ(TM)t vote with your wallet (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29253393)

every sale lost to ingame advertisement will be attributed to piracy. Some clever sales rep. will probably conclude from ïthat data that the amount of ads has to be increased to stay profitable

It could be worse (1)

Animats (122034) | more than 4 years ago | (#29253405)

Massive's agreement with Blizzard positions the firm as the sole advertising provider for Battle.net, the online Blizzard-only gaming service due for a significant relaunch upon the release of next year's StarCraft II.

I wonder what will be advertised in StarCraft. Maybe interstitial ads during loading.

One of my back-burner ideas is to write a video player that inserts ads whenever the stream isn't keeping up. Recognize breaks in the video, and buffer ahead until you have enough video locally to play to the next break. During idle periods, download ads. Whenever the player doesn't have the main stream buffered out to the next break, play ads until the stream catches up. "And now, a word from our sponsor".

I'm tempted to put this into VideoLan as a joke, and have it run 1950s drive in movie ads [archive.org].

the next bubble (3, Interesting)

Tom (822) | more than 4 years ago | (#29253473)

I've been waiting for years for this whole advertisement business to collapse in on its own.

Fact is, nobody can really say how much it works, or doesn't. What science is there in marketing knows that 50-90% of all advertisement is simply burnt money. The problem is that they can't say which ones.

So, the business has expanded and expanded and expanded, until you can't go anywhere without being bombarded by ads. When things go badly, do more of the same. Sad how humans always work that way, no matter if its war, politics, banking, business...

It'll be a big bust one day, and after that we're finally free of that terror(*). Well, one can hope.

(*) no, advertisement won't go away. But this constant, permanent, noisy and interruptive stuff will.

Stop! I've Heard All I Need To Hear... (1)

tunapez (1161697) | more than 4 years ago | (#29253739)

Eagerly anticipated games... will feature the technology that continuously collects 'anonymous' information about users, sends them to the Massive database for analysis...

My money is my vote; I vote, "No".

Haven't bought a game since HL2 & Steam made me register online to play. I do not play online w/ cheaters & idjits. Now no LAN without WAN on Starcraft 2? I doubt they're giving away the vehicle to profit off me and my habits, so my entertainment budget will be spent elsewhere. No, I haven't and won't be downloading any cracked, infested copies, either.

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