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In-Game Advertising Makes Games Better?

ScuttleMonkey posted about 5 years ago | from the i'm-sure-these-systems-will-never-be-abused dept.

Games 352

Pretty much every time we hear about a game launching in-game advertising it sounds like a horrible idea that will only serve to detract from the experience. However JJ Richards of Massive wants you to give it a chance, claiming that if done correctly it can not only work, but actually enhance the overall experience. "In fact, according to Massive's research, gamers like ads. Here's the caveat: they have to add to the gaming experience. He describes a game that takes place in Times Square. With no ads, it's not real at all. With generic ads, it's a little better. 'Now imagine Times Square with ads you just saw on television or read in a newspaper—the latest movie release or television show or a new car model,' he said. 'Imagine further that it is up-to-the-minute, whether you played your game today or six months from now. That is much more realistic.' His argument is that gamers consume the experience of ads, not just the ads themselves. 'The ads add to and enhance that experience, and our research shows that it is highly effective for both game play as well as advertisers.'"

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...but Beyonce... (5, Insightful)

El Lobo (994537) | about 5 years ago | (#29695355)

Sure, but you culs always do like it's done in some other games (Formula One racing Simulator, for example) where real life Marlboro, Camel. Michelin, etc ads are replaced by fake products (Colten soda, Frantic tires, etc). The result? A very realistic environment without the real life ads poisoning.

Re:...but Beyonce... (1)

tepples (727027) | about 5 years ago | (#29695649)

Sure, but you culs always do like it's done [with] fake products

By "culs" did you mean "A-holes" (compare French cul and similar words in other Romance languages [] ), or was it a typo for "could"?

Re:...but Beyonce... (5, Funny)

EnterDaMatrix (845617) | about 5 years ago | (#29695663)

Agreed, I prefer the witty advertising in games like Fallout 3 and Bioshock

GTA did it best... (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29695703)

A real world, with real chains and real ads, all of which are made up is the best way to do it. You have all the liberties of not infringing anyones shit, and a nice in-world level of coherency and realism. Using real-world advertisements would be detrimental.
In racing or sports games on the other hand, you're simulating the real world - so of course you want real world ads to go with, and can probably swipe some money from the guys.

It all depends on what you want to achieve. For gritty real-world shit, you want to get actual advertisements - for ironic, fun and fantasy "world"-games (of which I notice a bit of a lack of well thought out ones), you go with alternatives. Non-world games (which are getting rarer...) should of course not feature any ads at all, thankyouverymuch.

Re:GTA did it best... (2, Insightful)

Bakkster (1529253) | about 5 years ago | (#29695919)

Absolutely, if it would seem out of place without the ads (racing simulators, licensed professional sports games), make some money off of it. If it's a fictitious world, ficticious ads can add to the experience (GTA, Fallout 3).

What other horrible parts of life can be added? (4, Funny)

TheMiddleRoad (1153113) | about 5 years ago | (#29695759)

Make players wait in line to buy items in an MMORPG. Make those leveling up characters only capable of talking to one person at a time, and they get breaks, too. Require bathroom breaks or experience loss of social status as characters crap their pants. Require quarterly paperwork to file video game taxes.

This guy is an idiot.

Marketers think they do us a service (4, Insightful)

spun (1352) | about 5 years ago | (#29696113)

In their own minds, they are helping deliver valuable products that people enjoy, and informing them about their choices. Cognitive dissonance keeps them from thinking about what they are really doing. It keeps them from putting two and and two together. They went to school to learn mind control. In their own discussions they can be very frank about the fact that they want to control people and get them to do things that may be against their best interest, but they can not see that in moral terms they are doing something very, very wrong. They are planting false ideas in people's heads, making them believe that a company loves them, that a beer will make them sexy, that a pill will make their dicks bigger or their bellies smaller, that choosing the right products will make them popular and happy. They are preying on people's insecurities. And it works. If marketing were not capable of controlling people's actions, it would be useless.

You know, there is another class of goods that gets accused of controlling people's actions and making them do harmful things against their will: drugs. We can't even prove that drugs do this, while advertising would not be salable if it didn't. Why are drugs illegal but advertising is legal?

Re:...but Beyonce... (3, Insightful)

CastrTroy (595695) | about 5 years ago | (#29695967)

The thing is, it would only work for games that are supposed to be happening in the present, and in a non-fictional place on eart. Any game based on the past, or based on the future, or based in a fictional place would not benefit from real ads. So games like GTA, or some F1 Racing game might benefit, but games like Starcraft or Wolfenstein would not.

Re:...but Beyonce... (1)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | about 5 years ago | (#29696009)

The result? A very realistic environment without the real life ads poisoning.

The result? A very, but less, realistic environment.

Re:...but Beyonce... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29696011)

Yeah fake ads are better. I could see real ads working in a few games but what about period games set in the past or future? Do you want to see an ad for the latest movie in a game set in the 1930's or see coke adds in Halo? This sounds like a pretty lame argument to me.

Illusion (3, Insightful)

sopssa (1498795) | about 5 years ago | (#29695359)

He is right in that aspect that real-world products, trademarks or ads in real-world game can go towards players experience.

I rather see real Coca-Cola cans coming from the vending machine than some made up or close so "Joca Jola" name. It breaks the illusion.

Even if the gameworld doesn't take place in real world, but lets say future, it can still count for the user experience. It improves the scifi experience more when player can think "oh McDonalds is still around" and game designers can put more detail in to the game by coming up with some funky stuff for them.

But this also has the problem that trademark owners usually dont like showing their products in bad light and going even so far that the game is not allowed to break their cars and so on.

It's not a bad idea - but it can be really bad if done incorrectly.

Re:Illusion (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29695471)

I think it might work out in modern and futuristic settings because we already expect the ads to be there, but if you're running around on a unicorn to save the fairy kingdom I doubt that someone selling Coke at the local bazaar is going to improve the experience at all. Personally, though, I don't like ads, period. I would rather see less of them in games simply because I have to deal with so many of them outside of games and would honestly like a break now and then. I fear that sooner or later the only way to avoid ads for a couple hours is going to be to host DnD campaigns in old abandoned military bunkers.

Re:Illusion (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29695491)

I'd drink nuka-cola over coca cola any day of the week!

Re:Illusion (3, Insightful)

mcgrew (92797) | about 5 years ago | (#29695499)

"Product placement" I would agree with, but product placement isn't advertising. Product Placement is having Walt Kowalski bitch because his Heiniken isn't a PBR. An advertisemsnt is what you see before the movie starts. I can agree with product placements, but nit advertising. And showing a picture of a screen in-game with a commercial on that screen isn't product placement.

I liked the futuristic McDonalds in The Fifth Element.

If advertisers (or product placers) start paying to get their products placed, or moreso, if you see ads before the game starts, will the price of games go down?

Re:Illusion (2, Interesting)

dvorakkeyboardrules (1652653) | about 5 years ago | (#29695613)

"Product placement" I would agree with, but product placement isn't advertising.

When my dad was a freshman in college (1954) the cigarette promoters gave smokes to the fraternities for parties called "smokers". The booze distributors also gave booze for those same parties and this was at a state university. They also used the red cross to distribute free smokes to the military service men.

Re:Illusion (5, Insightful)

mhajicek (1582795) | about 5 years ago | (#29696135)

If advertisers (or product placers) start paying to get their products placed, or moreso, if you see ads before the game starts, will the price of games go down?

Nope. Remember when cable TV was new? One of the big selling point was that there were no commercials. Why would there be commercials, when you're paying for access? Well once Cable became mainstream a couple channels started sneaking in a few commercials, then a few more, then commercials on cable became standard. They get you to pay to view their advertising.

Re:Illusion (2, Interesting)

SEAL (88488) | about 5 years ago | (#29695527)

But this also has the problem that trademark owners usually dont like showing their products in bad light and going even so far that the game is not allowed to break their cars and so on.

This is right on the money. Forza Motorsport 3 had to rely on a lot of Microsoft legal wrangling to get the car companies to even allow *limited* damage modelling in the game. The major auto manufacturers are VERY picky about how you can depict their vehicles. This applies to movies as well as racing games. Look at the blatant Audi product placement in Iron Man. I'm not talking about the R8 either. I'm talking about the family driving in their Audi towards the end of the movie in the last major fight scene. Thanks to our hero, and the excellent quality and performance of the car (gag) they get away unscathed even in the middle of the destruction and mayhem that's going on.

Re:Illusion (1)

Aphoxema (1088507) | about 5 years ago | (#29695529)

Even if the gameworld doesn't take place in real world, but lets say future, it can still count for the user experience. It improves the scifi experience more when player can think "oh McDonalds is still around"...

... How depressing. *sighs*

Re:Illusion (2, Interesting)

Blaze74 (523522) | about 5 years ago | (#29695533)

The problem is there is a very small segment of games that fit the model. You can't throw ads in yet another WW2 shooter, or some fantasy world, LOTR, etc. So if in game advertising is where people want to go, most of our games will end up being current time, or near future.

Re:Illusion (2, Insightful)

Draek (916851) | about 5 years ago | (#29695679)

Agreed. Would Coca-Cola allow devs to use their name for the radioactive Nuke Cola in Fallout? or in a dirty, broken vending machine in Left 4 Dead? hell, even subtler stuff, like the references to consumerism in Omikron's Quanta Cola ads?

For in-game advertising to work, big companies' marketing departments need to approach it maturely. If they insist their stores' virtual replicas must be pristine safe havens in a city gone to hell the advertising will be far too blantant for the gamer to react positively to it and not only will they doom their own brand, but also the concept of in-game ads itself.

Re:Illusion (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29695895)

I thought that The Invention of Lying was a crappy movie, but I was honestly surprised by the advertising by Coca Cola and Pepsi in the movie. The Coke ads were basically, "Yeah, it's brown sugar water. We know that you heard of us we just hope that you buy more of our product." It was actually mildly refreshing that they were able to poke fun at themselves within the context of the movie.

It's a shame that the execution of the rest of the movie sucked rotten ass.

Re:Illusion (2, Insightful)

ausekilis (1513635) | about 5 years ago | (#29695729)

It's not a bad idea - but it can be really bad if done incorrectly.

  • I can see it now, a WoW loading screen: "This instance brought to you by McDonalds, why not fight Onyxia while chowing down on our new Quadruple Big-Mac? And how about you wash it down with one of our gallon cups of Mountain Dew, Game Fuel?"
  • Or we could have every flight master attach a different banner to their bat/gryphon. That way when people are flying around, the rest of us can see "Enjoy Coca-Cola" flying by in the distance.
  • Doom 3: "Let me pull out my Dell PDA and see if I can open this door"

Don't get me wrong, the idea you have for "real" coke cans coming out of vending machines is sound. Games are designed to create an alternate reality and break our illusion of our own. Games like GTA or even Max Payne can be done well, since they are set in a world not too different from our own (if you think hooker killing is normal, that is). Games like WoW, Doom3, Unreal Tournament, etc... are just different enough that if I see an "Intel Inside" logo on my plasma rifle or level 250 "Electro-Mace of the Allmighty", I'm likely to just go back to the good ol' days of gaming, without ads.

Re:Illusion (1)

megamerican (1073936) | about 5 years ago | (#29695773)


Ads for Ghost Rider really enhanced people's experience of Battlefield 2142.

Watching Will Smith get his "vintage" Converse All-Stars in I, Robot really helped me become immersed in the future and illusion of a dystopian future (not to mention the 100's of other ads in that movie).

Re:Illusion (1)

Verdatum (1257828) | about 5 years ago | (#29696019)

aww, shame on you for making me recall that abomination of a product placement. I haven't been able to buy a single pair of chucks since then.

Re:Illusion (1)

Tibia1 (1615959) | about 5 years ago | (#29696085)

Sure, it would create the illusion of being more realistic, but is being realistic that important? I wouldn't want to watch a 30 second commercial, or have to take a dump in a game. I think the reason people think "the more realistic, the better" is because games that attempt to portray realist settings are unattractive if they fail to do that. However, games that go out and attempt to make something surreal are pretty damn cool.

My response to this as a gamer (1, Troll)

Idaho (12907) | about 5 years ago | (#29695403)

Right, "consuming the experience of ads".

Please, do humanity a favor and kill yourself.

No, seriously.

Re:My response to this as a gamer (3, Insightful)

sopssa (1498795) | about 5 years ago | (#29695509)

You have to remember that the ads are integrated in the gameworld. Or atleast should be, not like how Wipeout HD did it [] .

He has a good point in that if you have a supposedly realistic world and lets say Manhattan or Tokyo, it's not really real without any ads. Surprisingly, fake product names break the illusion too (unless you can do them with humor like in GTA IV - but thats not always the case in more serious games). Real ads can add up to the player experience, if integrated correctly in to the game world.

Re:My response to this as a gamer (1)

netruner (588721) | about 5 years ago | (#29695981)

This is great for games set in the current day, but if the game is set in, say, 1942 - Microsoft, BMW, Google, Mitsubishi and Sony are probably not good choices for in-game advertisements (well, BMW and Mitsubishi were around then but the ads would not have the desired effect). Likewise, you wouldn't want to advertise the "all new 2010 Camero" in a game set in 2112.

Re:My response to this as a gamer (1)

houghi (78078) | about 5 years ago | (#29696139)

The main point is to integrate them correctly and that is almost never done. Walk around in a real city and you see hundreds of different products and brands. In a game you will only see a hand full most likely, breaking the experience as well.

Re:My response to this as a gamer (1)

huiwe (1292974) | about 5 years ago | (#29695647)

Ahhhh, "going for that anti-marketing dollar. That's a good market, .... very smart."

Re:My response to this as a gamer (2, Interesting)

NeutronCowboy (896098) | about 5 years ago | (#29696071)

Thank you. I was starting to wonder whether I was the only gamer out there who was surprised that I was "consuming the experience of ads".

No. I do not consume the experience of ads. Here's what I do:
I play multiplayer games with friends, where the goal is generally to beat something or each other. I don't give a rat's ass about ads at that point. The fact that the walls around a soccer field say adidas instead of amiras doesn't matter one lick to me. Just to show how little names matter: I don't care whether I have Ronaldinho on my team, or Rohualdo.
I play single player games, where I want to be told a story, or have my brain and hand-eye coordination challenged. Ads can add to the story in the situation of a story. But really, if Psychonauts would have had an ad for a $5 footlong from Subway, I would have put the game away immediately. The one product placement that I was able to tolerate very well were the Dole bananas in Monkeyball: the logo was tiny, I rarely saw it anyway, and it kinda made sense.

But here is what I do expect from actual ads in a game: a cheaper game. I'm willing to put up with ads and product placement on two conditions: they fit into the world the game describes, and they result in a game that would not have been possible without them. If Shenmue would have had actual ads from the 80s, with payment going towards production costs, I would have been ok with that.

However - and this is why I consider marketing executives evil - the idea that I consume the experience of ads requires a mindset that I can't even begin to imagine. Ads are a necessary evil. They are not something I want to experience.

Imagine this, asshole (5, Funny)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | about 5 years ago | (#29695417)

How about I come park outside your house and enhance your sleeping pleasure by blaring Swedish death metal at all hours of the night? I bet with the right combination of Mayhem and Burzum you'd find that not only was the intrusion on your sleepytime making the overall sleep experience better but also that your dreams were brighter and more colorful.


Re:Imagine this, asshole (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29695537)

No one's forcing your to buy it, asshole.

Re:Imagine this, asshole (1)

shentino (1139071) | about 5 years ago | (#29695665)

Ads are a time tested method of subsidizing the price of a game that you may otherwise have to pay BIG bucks for.

It's the same reason that newspapers are so damned cheap.

Re:Imagine this, asshole (1)

ausekilis (1513635) | about 5 years ago | (#29695845)

Ads are a time tested method of subsidizing the price of a game that you may otherwise have to pay BIG bucks for.

It's the same reason that newspapers are so damned cheap.

Time will tell if this applies. Some part of me thinks that subsidized advertisements in a game won't drop the price of the game. Instead they'll be making up "lost profits due to piracy". However, if there was a $20 ad-laden version of a game as opposed to a $60 ad-free version, we might see a change in purchasing behavior. I bet more people would drop the $20 to test out a game, even if it sucks it's not a big loss. Besides, we /.'ers know how to set up port blocking on our routers/systems. As long as they don't do some DRM-like phone-home on the same port, we'll be home free for cheap.

Re:Imagine this, asshole (1)

VGPowerlord (621254) | about 5 years ago | (#29695859)

Ads are a time tested method of subsidizing the price of a game that you may otherwise have to pay BIG bucks for.

It's the same reason that newspapers are so damned cheap.

Most new games cost me $40-$60 USD at retail.

Last time I checked, our currency hadn't devalued enough to consider that cheap.

Re:Imagine this, asshole (3, Insightful)

tepples (727027) | about 5 years ago | (#29695675)


I take it you don't watch basic cable TV or basic satellite TV. You pay for it, but it still has ads.

Re:Imagine this, asshole (1)

snowraver1 (1052510) | about 5 years ago | (#29695677)

BadAnalogyGuy is that you? Oh, wait, it is...

Re:Imagine this, asshole (1)

sopssa (1498795) | about 5 years ago | (#29695715)

Wonder if you even read what the article and summary is about. It's not about blasting the ads all over you, popping up ads in-game or intrusive methods. It talks about improving the game world by using real world ads too.

Before just jumping to the usual "ADS ARE BAD; I PAID; I DONT WANT ADS; YOU'RE THE REASON WORLD IS A BAD PLACE!" ship, correctly integrated ads in the game world can have their place. Better if it can support the development cost too. Even if it doesn't show in the price tag, then they have bigger budget for the game or their next game (it's hard for them to drop the price below - ~$30 goes to store/distribution chain anyway, so if game costs $60 and they want to drop the price to $45 they drop their income to half).

Re:Imagine this, asshole (1)

nametaken (610866) | about 5 years ago | (#29695915)


Tell that to movie makers while you're at it. I HATE the idea that I have to watch a commercial to see a movie I payed $11 to see in the first place.

Re:Imagine this, asshole (1)

lord sibn (649162) | about 5 years ago | (#29695951)

Unfortunately, I rather like Mayhem and Burzum, so this might constitute a performance of these works, around these parts. Oh, and I do work the graveyard shift, so I *am* up all night, but you're welcome to share some tunes with me in the daytime, too. ;)

Re:Imagine this, asshole (1)

brian0918 (638904) | about 5 years ago | (#29695995)


Err, you seem to have that completely backwards. The product doesn't exist yet. With the possibility of in-game advertising, the game developers will have more resources (CASH MONEY) to work with. They'll then make the game, and then you can decide whether or not to buy it.

Your wording implies that you've already agreed to a purchase of a game that previously didn't have advertisements, but is now going to get them. Either that, or you believe that the game would be possible regardless of whether the developers had the funding from the advertisers. What makes you think that?

Yep (2, Interesting)

Maximum Prophet (716608) | about 5 years ago | (#29695447)

While never released, I worked on a video game that was set in the future, and we planned to have fake ads on billboards to make the game more realistic. If we put ads for future products that might exist, i.e. the Sony PS9, it would have been even better.

However, a popup that distracts from the game would have been right out.

Hate to say it... (1, Insightful)

neurogeneticist (1631367) | about 5 years ago | (#29695465)

I agree with this. While it sounds like mere rationalization to sell more ads, the reality is that ads are everywhere, and if you want realism, you need to replicate everything in the environment, including those pesky advertisements. I notice the fake ads in some games all the time, and it is a little jarring and detracts from the immersive experience.

Re:Hate to say it... (3, Insightful)

0racle (667029) | about 5 years ago | (#29695577)

How can a fictional ad jar you from immersion in a fictional setting more then a real ad, trying to get you to buy a real product in a fictional setting?

Re:Hate to say it... (1)

NeutronCowboy (896098) | about 5 years ago | (#29696131)

Because one's fictional, the other one isn't. It's like watching a movie about 18th century France, and see that there's a BMW Z4 parked outside the local castle - courtesy of an ad campaign by BMW.

Yes, I play games for the story and setting. Why do you ask?

What? (1)

Dyinobal (1427207) | about 5 years ago | (#29695467)

I enjoy seeing each games fake take on real world companies/products. It's funny a lot of times, other times it's very clever. Also I hate, in game ads that have no place being there. Think it was BF2142 where I kept seeing ads for Ghost Rider, which was just terrible.

Diversity in advertising (2, Insightful)

Fwipp (1473271) | about 5 years ago | (#29695475)

My problem with advertising in games isn't that I am fundamentally opposed to it - in fact, if it can make producing games more lucrative or cheaper for me, I'm all for it. The problem is when you get two or three companies sponsoring an entire in-game world, and every other billboard is displaying the exact same advertisement. That breaks my immersion much faster than a made up product. But, it costs time and money to negotiate these deals, so it is much easier to get two big advertisers than the twenty or thirty that would make for added realism. If advertisers and game producers didn't have to deal with negotiating a new deal each time, I imagine the diversity of in-game ads would go way up. Perhaps there is a business opportunity to be found here.

Re:Diversity in advertising (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29695883)

Start a business based entirely on managing contracts between game (and maybe movie) makers and corporate sponsorship? I wonder if there already is one.

Realism (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29695487)

Real Times Square is commercialized, flashy, and annoying.

So if we make the game commercialized, flashy, and annoying, it'll be all the more realistic!

I agree with him (1, Troll)

PhrostyMcByte (589271) | about 5 years ago | (#29695513)

So long as the advert spots are equivalent to the ones in real life, I agree. I've never minded the occasional racing game that includes billboards with real adverts. But who wants to bet EA types will go overboard with it? Better not to even start down that slippery slope -- if you want to make games more realistic with ads, make them fake ads like GTA does.

That's a fantastic, yet limited example (1)

NYMeatball (1635689) | about 5 years ago | (#29695517)

I look forward to having up to the minute information on my sports scores from while playing Gordon Freeman in Half-Life 5. Even scientists have time to stop and whip out their trusty iPod touch, right?

Re:That's a fantastic, yet limited example (1)

Kral_Blbec (1201285) | about 5 years ago | (#29695911)

Real scientists don't care about sports.

NO, we don't. (3, Insightful)

PontifexPrimus (576159) | about 5 years ago | (#29695519)

No, we really, really, don't. I hate ads with a passion, and I can't imagine a situation where I would rather have any space in-game taken up by an ad display than a blank space or a simple generic texture.
This goes double for ads that require an internet connection to update and waste my bandwidth for something I have no interest in.
And lastly, I can not imagine finding anything relevant in an in-game ad: Wow, the new Ferrari is out! I must buy one immediately! Hey, the cinemas in Left4Dead 2: The Bloodening advertise the newest RomCom, surely a must-see!
I play games to fucking escape my ordinary life, not to have the worst aspects transplanted into it, especially since most games don't have realistic (as in "real-world") characters in them, anyway ("90% of all genetically enhanced super-soldiers agree: Clearasil is the choice of space marines!").

Define ad, though. . . (2, Interesting)

JSBiff (87824) | about 5 years ago | (#29695705)

I could go for some limited product placement. . .

Like, say, in a car game like a GTA, having actual brands of cars, and having their physics more or less be accurate for the car model (so that the BMWs and Ferraris accelerate much more quickly than, say, the Smart Car, and being able to 'Test Drive' the car in-game by jacking it from a car lot. (Note, I've not yet played any of the Recent GTAs, so they may have even done this, by now, for all I know - the last GTA I played was Vice City, though I'm slowly catching up with the rest of the world).

There might be other things. . . like maybe having some virtual mannequins in store windows dressed up in styles some department store or designer is trying to promote in real life, or maybe having some of the npc 'citizens' which are walking around the streets wearing such fashions. It would get very annoying, though, if those same npc citizen's are spamming the local chat with exclamations like, "I *love* these new $designerName slacks I got at $vendorName". Maybe if I was actually interested in what he/she was wearing, I could go talk to them individually and find out more info in a private 'conversation'. I think I could tolerate that.

The virtual billboards/signs thing, though, I'm less inclined to want. I've always found it much more entertaining to have funny *parodies* of real ads in a game, than actual ads. For example, in the game City of Heroes/City of Villains, they had some very funny and clever fake ads, like a defense lawyer who had a billboard about getting villains back on the streets of Paragon City.

CoH even had some quests/storylines which were based around some of the fake products you would see advertised in the city (like a Cola which was, I dunno, poisoning the population, or mutating them, or something, by the local MegaCorp). How can you have things like that if you are using real advertisers? I doubt Coke Zero will appreciate it very much if you have a plot based around their beverage doing bad things to kids (although, maybe Coke would pay to have Pepsi be the culprit *grin*).

Re:Define ad, though. . . (1)

foeclan (47088) | about 5 years ago | (#29696119)

Dunno if they're still doing it, but CoH had real ads for a while (which could be disabled in the options if you wanted) mixed in amongst their usual assortment of fake billboards. Not sure if all of them were themed this way, but seeing billboards for a T-Mobile Sidekick in a superhero world was actually pretty amusing. :) As long as the ads actually 'fit in' with the world, I really don't mind.

Re:NO, we don't. (1)

tepples (727027) | about 5 years ago | (#29695719)

I play games to fucking escape my ordinary life, not to have the worst aspects transplanted into it

Then I'll guess that social simulators like The Sims series and Animal Crossing series aren't for you.

Re:NO, we don't. (2, Interesting)

ZekoMal (1404259) | about 5 years ago | (#29695783)

Again, it depends. For example, if a game was set ten years in the future, it may add to it. Say, massive monster apocalypse, and you walk by a billboard that says "McDonald's, I'm lovin' it!". Biting irony, maybe have some blood splattered on it or some splayed corpses. On the other hand, how unrealistic would it be if it was entirely devoid of all advertisements?

But 30 second load screens? Oh yeah, those suck. 100% agreeance. In game product placement advertising? May add to it, but only in the right kind of games.

Re:NO, we don't. (1)

Kral_Blbec (1201285) | about 5 years ago | (#29695931)

Heh, I wouldn't mind seeing a Zombieland trailer playing on a knocked over TV set in L4D...

Stupid (0, Offtopic)

Dunbal (464142) | about 5 years ago | (#29695543)

Posting Story Headlines As Questions Makes Them Look Less Retarded?

Fine, so long as I can blast it (5, Interesting)

Terwin (412356) | about 5 years ago | (#29695565)

I can see some utility in this. Imagine if you are toting around your grenade launcher and you see an ad that particularly annoys you. So long as you can frag it, I am all for having it in the game.

Especially effective if you have political advertisements so that you can launch your grenades at a poster with the face of your favorite political demon.

sick of advertisements (5, Insightful)

elloGov (1217998) | about 5 years ago | (#29695581)

I understand that advertisers pay big bucks. However, I'm absolutely sick and overwhelmed by the amount of advertisement I encounter everyday. It's information overload at a conscious and subconscious level for most. Considering the relevance of the information to one's life, it's nothing but spam. It makes it harder for kids and adults alike to focus and pay attention to worthwhile information. Does advertisement make the gaming experience better? It has no relevance, no matter how well you hide it. Advertisers' ultimate goal is to implant a self-serving everlasting memory into your brain. I understand the size of the economics behind this sector, but it's too inflated in every aspect.

Porno (3, Insightful)

iamacat (583406) | about 5 years ago | (#29695605)

Come on, everybody knows what kind of ads gamers really want.

People like advertising? Really? (5, Insightful)

fortunato (106228) | about 5 years ago | (#29695615)

Anyone in advertising that I've ever spoken with always insists people love advertising. However, I've never spoken to anyone outside of advertising that says they like ads. I would think the emergence of things like DVRs, browser adblockers, etc would be a big clue to the advertising industry.

Re:People like advertising? Really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29695785)

Ever watch the Cannes Lions winners? It is pretty fantastic actually. People actually pay money to go sit in a theatre and watch an hour and a half of pure ads. Lots of ads are really well done (see the Cannes Lions). The majority, however, are crap-tastic (see TV).

So just to be clear... (1)

Tridus (79566) | about 5 years ago | (#29695627)

Research done by a company selling in game ads says that people like in game ads?

Sounds like those Microsoft studies finding that Linux has a higher TCO then Windows, or big oil studies showing that climate change is a sham.

Re:So just to be clear... (1)

Turzyx (1462339) | about 5 years ago | (#29695891)

If you bought a "World Rally Championship 2010" (or the latest NASCAR game if you are unfamiliar with the series), would you prefer cars with decals representative of real auto supplies/sponsors? Or would tyres made by Michaelin and air filters made by K&M be ok for you? Realistic games should feature realistic ads in realistic scenarios, otherwise, it like... wouldn't be... you know... realistic... would it?

Re:So just to be clear... (1)

Tridus (79566) | about 5 years ago | (#29696065)

I don't really care. I want to play a game, what the logos look like on the cars really doesn't matter to me. Given the option, I'd rather not be driving a high speed billboard, though (which is what NASCAR cars tend to look like in reality).

This "research" of theirs is little better then your standard slashvertisement.

yes! that's it! he's got it! (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29695639)

> 'Imagine further that it is up-to-the-minute, whether you played your game today or six months from now

Yes! *That* is what's been missing from my gaming experiences recently. I knew someone would figure it out. All those classic games I enjoyed in the decades past... little did I know how much better they'd have been if they only had up to the minute advertising! They didn't have advertising *at all*, so now I realize that I wasn't actually enjoying Baldur's Gate or Elite 2. It was a hollow experience, compared to today's FPSs. Who cares how dumbed down the gameplay gets; what we *really* want is up to the minute advertising. Give us that, and we'll be happy little consumers and buy ever more of your shiny products.

Thank you, Mr Advertising Man, for making it all so clear now. I hadn't even realized!

Not so fast... (2, Interesting)

phayes (202222) | about 5 years ago | (#29695699)

The only games I can think of that try to be as close to RL as they can get are the Sims & GTA. OK, for these games the times square example has some validity, but even there, we are not really there for the ads, but to play the damned game. As soon as they start modifying the gameplay to make the ads more visible than they are in RL they will have gone too far.

I don't want a driving game where the ads are so in your face that you cannot see the track. I don't want a soccer game where the ads are 5 times the size they are in RL. I do not want to be pestered by ads for softdrinks in WoW. Unfortunately I'm sure that once advertising gets a foothold in gaming these & other abuses will outweigh any increase in "realism".

NO. (4, Insightful)

Veggiesama (1203068) | about 5 years ago | (#29695709)

"In fact, according to Massive's research, gamers like ads."

Emphatically, absolutely, unequivocally


this study makes no sense (4, Insightful)

nimbius (983462) | about 5 years ago | (#29695721)

something that people hate, like ads, will somehow become likeable if it conforms to a time-based nature? so fallout 3 would have "double pits to chesty" axe ads and that would make them likeable? or perhaps Wolfenstein will have ads for family guy and armor all?

plus i dont think the technology in some cases has been well thought out. example: the same flash gamestop ad, between every clip of The Venture Brothers on Adult Swim, means i see the same rabbit sell me the same shit 5 times for one show. thats a commercial EVERY 6 MINUTES until i have memorized every line in it after 8 videos (40 viewings of the same damned commercial) and hanged myself in the bathroom.

anyone thought out how angry im going to be when i pay $65 for the latest xbox game only to enjoy commercials and advertisement in it at every opportunity? A comcept that works: Streets of Sim City made commercials laughable for fake products, which actually made the game more fun because a trailer full of marketing execs and legal teams weren't scared about market penetration or viewer reaction.

Read TFA (1)

Aqualung812 (959532) | about 5 years ago | (#29696083)

It isn't talking about "stop playing game and be forced to watch ad" type of ads.

This is talking about seeing an a billboard for Gatorade in a sports game on the walls of the arena, or walking into a "real" McDonald's while going on a murder spree in something like GTA. I agree with TFA that those add to realism, and so what if they make some more cash for the game devs?

It is important to note that IMHO, this does NOT include things like how Snickers "branded" about 100 terms in the latest Madden game, or any of the examples you mentioned. Yes, those are stupid and need to never be used.

Just got one question (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29695725)

"enhance the overall experience."

Are we talking in game Viagra ads here?

Baron (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29695741)

I don't mind in game ads, as long as they help to reduce the final MSRP price of the game. If in game ad reduced the cost of console games by half. Then I think that's a good idea. It will make gaming more affordable for all.

I am on the proverbial fence on this (2, Insightful)

Torinir (870836) | about 5 years ago | (#29695763)

Yes, advertising in-game if it's done right can add "flavour" to a scene, like mentioned in the article.

However, far too often advertising in-game tends to be placed in ways that are an eyesore. I know there's a couple of games that actually use their multiplayer scoreboard as adspace, which is a significant eyesore. High visibility isn't always a good thing when it comes to in-game ads.

I don't know. I think ads in games aren't going to disappear anytime soon, but I can say with certainty that a game that uses in-game advertising won't live long if those ads are overly distracting or take away from the gameplay.

Reality (1)

imamac (1083405) | about 5 years ago | (#29695769)

With no ads, it's not real at all.

I always thought gamers played to escape reality.

not that big of a deal... (0, Redundant)

ZenDragon (1205104) | about 5 years ago | (#29695771)

Most people dont realize how important advertising actually is in our day to day lives. Without advertising most people would have no idea what is going on in the world around them. You usually dont conciously see and ad think ohh Im going to go buy that right now. But 3 months down the line when you need a new pair of shoed you subconsiously think back to that nike ad you saw on TV and go look at those first. Granted there are some advertisers that take it WAY overboard! Mass mailers in your snail mail box, spam in you email box, cold calls on your cell phone using up your minutes, giant moving billboard on the freeway! Most of that stuff is just annoying. but in a free market economy you must have advertising, without it nobody would be able to have a successful business in this US and we would be a third world country.

Anyhow my point is; I dont think its a bad thing to include advertising in games. In fact I think its a great idea for advertising to gamers without as long as its done with restraint so as to not distract from the game itself. If I ever saw some kind of popup ad in the game or some kind of in game survey or some crap I would turn the game off immeditely and uninstall it, but I certainly dont mind seeing realistic stuff in the game like a McDonalds, Coke Machines, a real Toyota Yaris that I can drive into a wall! Basically if you FORCE me to look at it, or force me to accept some agreement, or interrupt my game play in anyway otherwise you lose a customer. Its a fine line for sure, but if done right I have no problem with it.

A possible benefit? (1)

Random2 (1412773) | about 5 years ago | (#29695801)

If ads do get into games, would this help to lower the costs? If we have advertising companies playing the developers to put ads in the game, then we might see a drop in the price because of increased revenue elsewhere (or any intelligent game manufacturing company would do this to not piss off the players).

As a possible downside though, if we have live, up-to-date adds, what's to stop this being a back door into PC's? It doesn't seem unreasonable that one could send in fake adds or use this as a door for gaining access to other parts of a system.

I agree, but with prejudice (1)

sarysa (1089739) | about 5 years ago | (#29695803)

If I'm playing a GTA game, I'd probably be jarred by real life advertisements because one of the things I've come to expect from the series is parody. I get a chuckle out of all the fake ads, the obligatory talk radio parody, etc.

If I'm playing a NASCAR racing game, or an EA sports game(which I never do, but just saying), I would expect real advertisements, as the games are based on real life. I'm not in love with the idea of AT&T and others lining the walls of the stadium, but if I want realism in a game, I'd rather have AT&T than AR&R or a blank wall.
I would likely accept real ads in a game like RB:Beatles if the ads were vintage, or modern ads any other GH/RB game.

But there's a time and a place for everything. It's silly to be completely anti-advertisement -- you have to accept that they're a part of modern culture. No one with any sense would put real ads in a Final Fantasy or Dragon Quest game, just like you won't ever see McDonalds ads along the trails of Yosemite in real life.

Like most anything it depends on how it is used (1)

Reapman (740286) | about 5 years ago | (#29695813)

Hey if they want to have the ad's on the boards in NHL2015 match the real life arena, that's cool. Driving around some racing sim with ad's for Nike on a billboard doesn't bother me. I really don't care. Sports games are the easiest to think up on how this would work out ok.

Now if I'm playing some dungeon hack n slash and I see an add for Vigra on the walls, they can go to hell. Or if it's like clippy and come up and tell me that if I want I can click the right trigger and buy the same Nike shoes as action hero Bill on the screen. Some games, like Fallout with Nuka Cola or GTA's mock brands I think are better then the real thing too.

Some will abuse this and some won't. Some commercials on TV are well done, some aren't. I don't think getting excited about something just because it's Advertising is the right approach, we should be looking at how it's being done.

Re:Like most anything it depends on how it is used (1)

iso-cop (555637) | about 5 years ago | (#29695837)

Ah, but if the local wench offers you a magic blue pill...

They could. (1)

Fear13ss (917494) | about 5 years ago | (#29695821)

The key is "if done right", the problem is, marketing and sales people rarely think about how to do it right, they just think about how to sell their product. Commercials no longer describe product features or even the products their advertising, they just come up with something likely to get stuck in the consumers head. For instance, I myself am waiting for the game Pogo the Monkey. Yes we do listen to commercials in games, pay attention to the advertising, but the game type also dictates what could be acceptable. A small level of intelligence would be necessary to derive which adds would be good for what games. Sports drink ad's might be acceptable in sporting games but maybe not a racing game. We just have to hope the guy pushing the ad's doesn't have his own agenda or receive kickbacks for cross marketing attempts. If you keep it in good taste, I probably won't argue. If your product sucks, I probably won't buy it. Advertise away, but when I feel their intrusive (i.e. spam/pop-under(see x10)) I will loose faith in the product/company. A good product can sell itself. A great product doesn't need to be sold (

Reality (3, Insightful)

Aladrin (926209) | about 5 years ago | (#29695833)

Or maybe it's reality that's broken. Imagine a Times Square that doesn't have all the ads, but instead has art, or beautiful architecture. Wouldn't that be -much- better?

Starting from the assumption that ads are good can only lead to the conclusion that ads are good.

Reverse it (5, Interesting)

dazedNconfuzed (154242) | about 5 years ago | (#29695849)

Maybe Times Square would be improved by removing the inundation of advertising. Been there, seen it, pretty lame actually once you look just a bit past the initial "Ooh! Shiny!" reflex.

Times Square (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29695863)

Times Square without ads? Sounds like a much much better place to visit than the real Times Square.

sad state... Umberto Eco was onto something... (2, Interesting)

calzones (890942) | about 5 years ago | (#29695873)

How SAD it is that our culture has gotten to the point where we need ads and overt commercialism to validate an experience as 'real.'

This is the same problem that plagues the movie industry now, where entire plotlines revolve around using famous TV anchors, Larry King et al, or pretend news reels, and copious doses of ads and famous logos to make something unbelievable seem more real.

Oh gee, if they're interviewing that space alien on Oprah and he's feeling depressed and she's helping give him a sense of self worth then it MUST be real and we laugh along knowingly because it fits in with our mental schema of the real world. WTF.

Opt Out? (1)

MattGWU (86623) | about 5 years ago | (#29695899)

Can I opt out of the ads in the beginning? Like, I start up a game, and a screen pops up and I affirm that "Yes, I'm aware that Coca Cola exists." And the ads go away!

I know you guys exist. I PROMISE! You all do a great job getting inside our heads. Seriously! Can I play my game in peace now?

Pandora, dont touch your box.... (1)

TiggertheMad (556308) | about 5 years ago | (#29695927)

Love or hate it, once it starts it will never stop. In ten years, we will look at games like doom and quake, and marvel not at their primitive graphics, but their lack of ads.

I just hope that devs aren't fucking idiots, and forget that the ad servers that they are querying for the latest ads might someday not be there..

Hooray! (1)

shadowrat (1069614) | about 5 years ago | (#29695945)

The FPTS (First Person Times Square) genre comes into it's own!

People have labled me a geek and a dork for exclusively playing times square games.

"They are just so much deeper than other genres.", i've said.

"Oh yeah? There're no ads.", they've replied, "How is that fun?"

Well, IN YOUR FACE naysayers. Times square games are bustin' at the seams with ads now! let the fun begin!

Then again, you can do it right (1)

Animats (122034) | about 5 years ago | (#29695955)

Then again, you can do it right. GTA not only has ads and commercials for fake companies, it has the businesses behind them. You can get a Whiz Wireless cell phone in-game. You can go to Burger Shot. That's doing it right.

If it gives me a better product (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29695973)

If in game ads make the game cheaper or same price with better quality then be it.

I hate to pay for my cable, then see ads interrupting the program I am watching (especially because I spend less than 20 minutes a day in front of the TV - also because of that) - so I really-really do not want to wade through ads between menus and splash screens.

However I agree completely, that in-game ads should be either real, or funny or adding to the content. In a racing game I better see real ads then made-up stupid stuff, in a SCI-FI game I welcome a redesigned Coke bottle or existing car brands. BTW car brands: I have LFS or Rfactor because of all the made-up fantasy cars.

This just tells us that ads have become expected (1)

istartedi (132515) | about 5 years ago | (#29696015)

This just tells us that ads have become expected. Times square is one place. A NASCAR game would be another. A busy New York street or a NASCAR race would actually look wrong without ads because we've grown accustomed to seeing them plastered everywhere. In those cases, gamers might actually find the dissonance between reality and the game to be a distraction.

Now imagine a game called "Grand Canyon Whitewater Rafting Adventure", where you try to paddle through the canyon while being shot at (and shooting back at) some enemy. Ads on the canyon walls might be every bit as distracting as a Times Square without ads. We expect ads in one canyon, but not in the other.

Ads for fake things made real (0, Redundant)

Dyinobal (1427207) | about 5 years ago | (#29696021)

What about ad's for fake things, if the game gets enough following/sales could be made into a real merchandise item. Like fallout's Nuka Cola, or Nuka Cola Quantum. Those ads were great in game and I wouldn't mind drinking down a Nuka Cola.

Err, no. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29696037)

I think I speak for gamers everywhere when I say "Get knotted you marketing scumbag"

I paid good money for the game, I don't want ads.

Reviews (1)

nlawalker (804108) | about 5 years ago | (#29696059)

The solution to this is the solution that would solve a lot of problems with games, but will probably never happen - proper reviews.

Ads in some games are alright. In some games, they're annoying. In some games, they really detract from the experience - maybe not the *gameplay*, but the *experience*. Reviewers should be incorporating all aspects of a game into their reviews *and their scores*, including this one.

All it will take is a game or two that gets its score dropped by half a point or a full point with a comment in the scoring section that says "The ads are intrusive and detract from the experience, and lowered the overall score" to get developers rethinking this strategy. Developers, especially big developers, don't hear user complaints, they hear voting with dollars. They *do*, however, hear reviewer complaints and don't like the bad press, and lower reviews may also result in fewer units sold.

What a damned tool (2, Insightful)

cfalcon (779563) | about 5 years ago | (#29696073)

You could use real ads, but fixed in time. When is the game set? 1995? Then the ads should be from 1995, not updated to today. That's not realistic. Is the game set in 2009 (today as of this writing)? Then it should have those ads, you know, in Times Square. But probably not in some evil villian's fortress, or wherever the game actually takes place.

Some games, novels, and movies are supposed to be set "today" or "a year from now", though obviously these things all look very dated after twenty years. In these cases only could he defend his case.

Since all he's *really* doing is trying to justify a massive cash flow- after all, most games aren't set in times square, or any other heavily-dominated-by-advertising area- it doesn't even matter what he's saying. But even if we take him at face value, he's hip deep in BS.

I won't buy games with ads. I avoid TV because I hate ads. Keep them the hell out games, thanks.

TMNT for the NES has Pizza Hut ads everywhere. Looks absurd. Looked absurd back then too.

No thank you. (1)

Datamonstar (845886) | about 5 years ago | (#29696079)

I don't care it if it helps lower the cost of the game because it's not going to be significant enough to make me buy a game that I wouldn't buy otherwise because of the price. In reality, if there's a game I really want to play, I'd be willing to pay heavily for it if the cost is justified.

Just slapping some ads into the game, regardless of how cleverly they are slapped in, does not change my decision to not play a game. In fact, it changes the game that I wanted to wanted to play in the first place so that I no longer wish to play it, and this actually nullifies the purpose of the ads: to get me to buy stuff they think I'd like because I'm playing this game. So, if I found out that a game featured real-world ads, I simply wouldn't buy it because it's no the game I want to play. Circular marketing reasoning, go figure.

Fake adds are better... (1)

nweaver (113078) | about 5 years ago | (#29696103)

Do you think the GTA series would be improved by having the adds be for Dunkin Doughnuts instead of Rusty Brown's Ring Donuts?

I prefer the fake ads (1)

British (51765) | about 5 years ago | (#29696111)

One of the best parts of the GTA series are the hilarious fake radio commercials & stupid billboards. I swear they have a 12 year old heading the creative department at Rockstar with all the toilet humor. But all the fake media MAKES the game. You end up playing more to find all those silly things. Still want one of those degenatrons(it takes quarters!).

You can almost tell the graphic artists get bored so they put some real inappropriate content in there. I remember in one of the Carmageddon games there was a billboard showing a pic of a woman holding what looks like lemonade. Then you see the label URINE underneath it.

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