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The Industry On In-Game Advertising

Zonk posted more than 8 years ago | from the less-marketing-in-my-fps-please dept.

The Almighty Buck 63

Gamasutra's weekly 'Ask The Industry' feature deals, this week, with the ever-increasingly relevant issue of the importance of in-game advertising. From the article: "I believe that advergaming will continue to be a growing significant segment of video games. As with movie and TV product placement, games that do a good job of it won't be considered an affront, those that don't will be panned by gamers and critics. It will be interesting to see how the current clash between the Writers Guild of America (and SAG) and product placement interests works out, and whether similar issues will arise between game designers and financial stakeholders in the future. -Kim Pallister, Microsoft Corp"

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63 comments

Why can't they just be honest? (5, Insightful)

voice_of_all_reason (926702) | more than 8 years ago | (#14159687)

Just say it. "We can get more money by putting advertisements in games, and it'll generate more revenue than we'll lose by alienating gamers."

Re:Why can't they just be honest? (1)

the_humeister (922869) | more than 8 years ago | (#14160156)

They could, but remember, we live in a society where verbal obfuscation is the name of the game. Words and phrases no longer give the connotation that they should anymore. Everyone is now some sort of "engineer" or "manager." It's not a "bug," it's a "feature." Uttering anything preceded by the phrase "synergistic paradigm shift" gets you promoted to a "manager."

Re:Why can't they just be honest? (1)

Drakai (828042) | more than 8 years ago | (#14168362)

It certainly seemed pretty honest to me.

  What I got from it:
We are going to do it. Some will be good and tactful but attractive and make money (for everyone). Others will be poorly done and be hated and not make money (for anyone).

That was the gist of it, yes? The natural extension of the 'wait and see' aspect seemed to say that if going forward it becomes clear that game developers are incapable of successfully placing an ad without angering consumers then they shall taper off trying to do so. But modest success will engender further controlled efforts.

I also like that they seem to see obvious failures for what they are. It means that we do not have to live in Fear of playing a Captain Amazing (from Mystery Men) game where every five mins is an ad/product placement. All we have to worry about is seeing the tired thirsty hero knock back a refreshing soda on occasion. God forbid :)

The Next Batch of Articles . . . (5, Interesting)

Seumas (6865) | more than 8 years ago | (#14159708)

Now, let's wait for the next batch of articles where coders and designers and industry mavens try to justify how their hack and slash videogames are "art", while defending the blatant Mountain Dew or US Navy recruitment or Mentos commercials in-game.

You hosers from the previous game/art article want to know the definition of art? I can give you *one* of them:

Picaso never embedded a Wendy's ad in a painting.

Re:The Next Batch of Articles . . . (4, Insightful)

BigDork1001 (683341) | more than 8 years ago | (#14159760)

You hosers from the previous game/art article want to know the definition of art? I can give you *one* of them:

Picaso never embedded a Wendy's ad in a painting.

Oh yeah, well this [jssgallery.org] is considered art.

Re:The Next Batch of Articles . . . (1)

Seumas (6865) | more than 8 years ago | (#14159906)

Yeah, but Andy Warhol wasn't an artist. There is a clear observable difference between "artist" and "attention whore".

Re:The Next Batch of Articles . . . (1)

snuf23 (182335) | more than 8 years ago | (#14163011)

And that my friend is an opinion, not a fact.

Re:The Next Batch of Articles . . . (1)

Seumas (6865) | more than 8 years ago | (#14163028)

Okay - so it's not such a clear and observable difference between artist and attention whore. Andy Worhol being an attention whore, however, is an indisputible fact of which he himself would most feverishly agree.

Re:The Next Batch of Articles . . . (1)

snuf23 (182335) | more than 8 years ago | (#14168243)

Oh yes I would agree. However, the two are not mutually exclusive. You can be an attention whore and an artist. Many artists have been. In fact it's probably a good thing for an artist to be as it motivates them to promote themselves.
I'm not a big fan of Warhol myself but it's hard to argue that he didn't make a huge impression on the art world. Indeed the his images of soup cans and coke bottles were put out there to ask viewers that question of "is this art?" Given his commercial design background it was a logical progression.

Re:The Next Batch of Articles . . . (2, Insightful)

joemawlma (897746) | more than 8 years ago | (#14159922)

Yeah but you could make that claim with ANY form of entertainment that SHOULD be considered art. Because Brittney Spears and Nsync weren't branded together with PEPSI or anything right? Oh wait, they were... Along with pretty much ALL popular entertainers, artists, and media out there these days. What about TV commercials or product placement in TV shows and Movies? It's all the same.

A reference to Picaso using Wendy's ads is a retarded statement. Times are different obviously and ads are here to stay. We are all consumers. But ads should not be a burden on any of us, they should be "background noise" in our lives; nothing more.

Re:The Next Batch of Articles . . . (1)

Seumas (6865) | more than 8 years ago | (#14159998)

So you wouldn't have a problem going to an arthouse and seeing a giant "this painting brought to you by Lowes Home Improvement" advertisement stamped on the corner of the painting?

And your assertion that my comment must not be correct based on "if you're right, then Brittney Spears and Nsync can't be commercialized and still be called art" pretty much supports my point. NO - Brittney Spears and Nsync are not art! They're entertainment! Again, not all entertainment (or even most) is art. And not all art is entertaining. Just singinging, painting, acting or sculpting or writing in itself is not art. Shakespear could be art. The guy who writes jingles for Midas mufflers is NOT.

Re:The Next Batch of Articles . . . (1)

joemawlma (897746) | more than 8 years ago | (#14168221)

I didn't realize you were the all knowing person who decides what is ART or not. Actually ANY CREATION can be considered art. Just because you consider century old art to be more important than the shit spewed out by Brittney does not make her "creation" non-artistic.

And sorry but you are wrong. Entertainment IS art, in ANY form. Expression is art. Take a class.

Re:The Next Batch of Articles . . . (1)

centauri (217890) | more than 8 years ago | (#14160130)

Yes but lots of classical artists (and probably modern ones too) put images of their patrons in their (now priceless) works, either in thanks or as a condition of continued patronage. We mostly think they were subtle about it, but those to those who could recognize the patrons it was probably glaringly obvious. Those who didn't like the patrons probably thought it was tasteless.

Re:The Next Batch of Articles . . . (1)

shawb (16347) | more than 8 years ago | (#14160505)

While there was not necesarilly advertising for a company, you can bet artists were required to spread the good word of their patrons and benefactors in order to continue getting paid. Since there were no corporations per se, this is about as close to advertising as you can get (and many patrons were wealthy businessmen.) Maybe a Picaso (sic) wouldn't have a picture of someone eating a Wendy's burger, but you can bet that some had a placard which read "Commissioned by Gertrude Stein."

Re: Art, Advertising, and Poppy Culture (1)

some guy I know (229718) | more than 8 years ago | (#14164274)

You hosers from the previous game/art article want to know the definition of art? I can give you *one* of them:

Picaso never embedded a Wendy's ad in a painting."
If you think that advertising can't appear in art, here's three words for you: "Mr. Sixteen Minutes".

If you don't get that reference, here's another three words for you: "Andy Freaking Warthog" (who once said that that everyone would be famous for sixteen minutes, even Martin Short (or was it Pauly Shore? I don't remember, but it was some guy whose last name starts with "Shor"), and then went on to paint a "Poppy Art" picture of Misty Mundae doing it with an empty Coke bottle, which lead to a 30% increase in the sales of empty Coke bottles in the month after the painting appeared in the world-famous Newark Metropolitan Art Gallery, followed shortly after that by a 35% increase in visits to hospital emergency rooms by women with Coke bottles lodged in their weepies).

I know that all of the above information is absolutely true and factual because I found it in various articles on Wikipedia.

Why not? (2, Insightful)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 8 years ago | (#14159783)

I can't see that anyone would be surprised by this. Advertising and cross-promotion already permeates almost every part of our entertainment media. Music is perhaps the only place where product placement is not widespread within the content, since the industry looks down upon those who do not consider themselves 'artists.'

Of course there are differences, but there are also a lot of parallels between this and the commercialization of the 'pop art' movement. If you consider games to be art, look to Warhol for where the industry is going.

Re:Why not? (1)

Eric Giguere (42863) | more than 8 years ago | (#14160996)

There's a lady who's sure all that glitters is gold
And she's buying it all from Amazon.
When she gets there she knows, that the store's never closed
With a click she can get what she came for.


(with apologies to Page and Plant)

Eric
Speaking of product promotion [ericgiguere.com] (features my dogs)

Re:Why not? (1)

subshop (592164) | more than 8 years ago | (#14162159)

I like girls who wear Abercrombie and Fitch...

Re:Why not? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14165359)

By "girls" did you mean mud covered gay frat boys who wrestle each other?

Re:Why not? (1)

the_humeister (922869) | more than 8 years ago | (#14162201)

I would argue otherwise. Cadillac Escalade, Courvasier, and a host of other high-end luxury items are name-dropped left and right in hip hop/rap.

Re:Why not? (1)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 8 years ago | (#14164867)

Yes, but is this paid advertisement, or bragging about the ability to buy luxury goods?

Probably some of both...

Re:Why not? (1)

obeythefist (719316) | more than 8 years ago | (#14162924)

It's a very odd thing to bring up Warhol at a time like this.

Warhol was *not* trying to sell Campbells Soup when he made that famous painting. Quite the opposite, where once artists painted women and men and scenes of the land - all things that reflect their own surroundings, Warhol did just the same thing. Only, by painting a branded can of soup, he really said, "Hey, look how things have changed now. If I were born 100 years ago this would be a person or a landscape. Now it is a brand or a product."

Frankly I think we're meant to hate the soup.

On Warhols behalf, I'd like to ask modders and gamers and users of IT everywhere to rage against this machine. Skip commercials on playback. Change radio stations when an advert comes on. Use Adblock. Block popups. Use spam filters. Most of the people here already do.

Now I'm asking a little more. Mod games, strip out the ads. Download the mods. Play the games without the ads.

We had a society once where advertising budgets did not eclipse R&D budgets by a factor of 2-3 times (at least). We can have that society again. Fight the advertising mechanisms.

Re:Why not? (1)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 8 years ago | (#14164889)

That's why I referred to the commercialization of pop art, not the foundations of pop art -- Warhol made plenty of money by doing commissioned brand pieces, as well as portraits.

Warhol saw obsession with money as an American cultural value, but was not immune to its power.

"Frankly I think we're meant to hate the soup."

I'm not so sure about that. I thought I remembered his commentary on it, but turns out I was thinking about Coke. Shamelessly pulled from wikipedia: Warhol said, "a Coke is always a Coke; the Coke that the president drinks is the same as your Coke or mine." I think the same holds true for the Campbell's soup can -- these pop culture images represent some fundamental sameness of people in that era.

I don't think we need to act against advertising in art products. I believe myself to be intelligent enough to see past the adverts, and I don't mind if they subsidize my gameplaying or tv/movie watching.

My concern is that people unaware of the saturation of advertising fail to look at things clearly. This is, after all, what makes advertising so effective.

Re:Why not? (1)

patio11 (857072) | more than 8 years ago | (#14163620)

Music is perhaps the only place where product placement is not widespread within the content, since the industry looks down upon those who do not consider themselves 'artists.'

Not a hip-hop fan, are you?

I'm all for it (3, Interesting)

meta-monkey (321000) | more than 8 years ago | (#14159789)

I'm all for advertising in video games...up to a point. I don't mind billboards or posters on walls, although I'd rather not have to sit through a "Drink Coke" loading screen.

Have you seen the price of games for the Xbox 360? They're going for $60 a pop. It only makes sense, though...next gen games cost a fortune to make. More complex engines, more detailed graphics, motion capture, voice actors, sound tracks with popular music, etc etc. It's a far cry from blocky 8-bit graphics with bleeps and bloops. If game makers can tap another revenue stream and thereby reduce the cost to the gamer, I'm all for it.

Oh, and to cut off the "they won't cut prices! they'll just make more money!" responses, of course prices will come down. That's the way the free market works. If company A can sell their game for $50 instead of $60, and thereby grab market share from company B, who has to charge $60, then of course company A will lower their prices.

Re:I'm all for it (1)

Seumas (6865) | more than 8 years ago | (#14159952)

The thing is, there is ONLY a company "A" and a company "B". No need to drop prices when you can fix them instead.

Second, videogames haven't reached the "movie" production cost level yet. I could be wrong, but I don't think any videogame has cost over one hundred million dollars to make. Maybe Duke Nukem Forever will be the first.

If a movie costs $100m to make and you can see it for $6 or own it for $20 -- why should a game that costs $4m to make cost $60 to play/own? Maybe more people see a movie than buy a game - but I don't think that's necessarily true. Do you seriously think more people have seen Princess Diaries or GI Jane than own GTA or Madden?

Re:I'm all for it (2, Interesting)

hal2814 (725639) | more than 8 years ago | (#14160255)

"Do you seriously think more people have seen Princess Diaries or GI Jane than own GTA or Madden?"

Maybe not, but that's an apples to oranges comparison. Games cost $60 to own when they first come out, but they drop in price rather quickly. Madden 2005 is as cheap as $7 now but last year at this time, it was fetching $40. It started at $50 - $55. I've seen Madden 2004 being sold for what it would cost to ship the thing. EA Sports has to throw another $X million into a new game every to keep the Madden franchise afloat. The typical game won't drop in price that quickly but you'll be hard pressed to find any game over 3 years old fetching more than $20. And most games that old tend to fall anywhere from $5 - $15.

A movie will start out at $20 - $30 on video but then after about a year it will drop to about $15 and stay there for a LONG time. Eventually, it might go down to $7 - $10 but typically only if it's not that great a movie. The same game over that period of time may very well be worthless. Also, don't forget that advertisers and pay TV stations will make money for a movie via TV stations paying broadcast rights over the course of many years. Video games simply do not have such an outlet yet (at least not a popular one).

Also, Companies A and B can only fix prices to a certain extent. The only reason there's not a Company C is because there isn't enough financial incentive for there to be a Company C. If the markup is too great from A and B, expect C and maybe even D-Z to come storming out of the gate.

Re:I'm all for it (3, Insightful)

Digital Vomit (891734) | more than 8 years ago | (#14160298)

Oh, and to cut off the "they won't cut prices! they'll just make more money!" responses, of course prices will come down. That's the way the free market works.

I don't know what country you just stepped off the boat from, but you'll soon learn that's not the way things work here.

If company A can sell their game for $50 instead of $60, and thereby grab market share from company B, who has to charge $60, then of course company A will lower their prices.

Here's a more likely scenario: Company A realizes they can sell their game for $60, the same as company B, while making extra money selling ad space in the game. End of story.

If you think the inclusion of ads is going to reduce the cost of games, I've got a cable channel package to sell you.

Re:I'm all for it (1)

meta-monkey (321000) | more than 8 years ago | (#14161911)

You are economically illiterate. The only things that stop the free market from working are monopolies and government, and neither are at play here.

Re:I'm all for it (1)

Surt (22457) | more than 8 years ago | (#14160628)

Thankfully, the cost of producing video games is likely to come back down. It has been rising persistently as 3d has been evolving, but it looks to be reaching a zenith. The tools for 3d design are getting better (read as artist produces what he wants faster), but not more expensive. The import/export formats are getting standardized, so you don't have to invest programmer time there. The APIs for 3D are stabilizing. Gameplay data formats are settling into excel/xml. There are lots of reasons to believe that next-next-generation games might be made for half of what the next generation games will cost.

Re:I'm all for it (1)

Immercenary_2000 (863998) | more than 8 years ago | (#14162109)

I think the fatal mistake in your reasoning is that you are assuming that "game a" is a perfect substitute for "game b". This is not really the case. If I want to buy halo 2 there is only one company making that game. I can't decide to buy a copy from activision or another competitor. While it's true I can get the game cheaper from a used outlet or maybe catch a sale on a new one, at some point the retailer is paying the manufacturer so the manufacturer is getting their cut when the game is sold as new. While a customer may decide to save money and get "game b" it's more likely that if they really wanted "game a" they would just spend the extra money to get what they want.

Re:I'm all for it (1)

meta-monkey (321000) | more than 8 years ago | (#14162619)

For some games, that's true, but most games are not those kind of "break out titles" that people will shell out for. Most games people could take or leave. A lot of games are also bought by parents for kids, and they parents don't know or care what the kid wants, so they're more inclined to shop on price. Regardless, when deciding what to charge for a game, the studio has to make a decision. They know if they sell it for next to nothing, they'll sell a ton, but won't make any money. They know if they sell it for way too much, (like $150), they won't sell any, so they won't make any money. Somewhere in the middle is the point where they'll make maximum profit.

Advertising helps move that point closer to the low end of the price scale. Advertising is sold per view. So, the more people the game makers can get that ad in front of, the more they can charge for it. So by lowering the price of the game, they can increase the number of copies sold and therefore the amount of money they can get from the advertisers.

Ads in games can only lower the price to the gamer. So long as it's not too intrusive, I don't mind in the least.

How long... (2, Funny)

AdamWeeden (678591) | more than 8 years ago | (#14159791)

...before someone invents something like AdBlock for this stuff?

Re:How long... (1)

Surt (22457) | more than 8 years ago | (#14160578)

It will be very difficult, because much like adblock for firefox, you won't easily be able to move the code to another platform (try running adblock on IE).

Anything that blocks ads in one game will be completely useless for the next game. And worse, unlike firefox, you won't have the platform's cooperation.

All in all, a very challenging problem.

Non-intrusive (1)

joemawlma (897746) | more than 8 years ago | (#14159850)

I think ads in games on billboards and walls or buildings that mimic businesses is a great idea just as long as they are not intrusive or overly distracting.

The last thing I want is for video games to not have enough funding to be of good quality. PC games lose a lot of revenue to pirating (consoles a little too) and most newer games take a lot of money to create. If putting SILENT ads in game play can help this and keep the games innovative and well-made, I say go for it.

If Google can include ads in their service without being too annoying about it and make a profit, there's no reason video games can't do it as well.

The middle ground? (2, Insightful)

NanoGator (522640) | more than 8 years ago | (#14159878)

On the surface, I don't mind in-game advertising. If Carl Johnson drank Sprite instead of (whatever the made up name of a soda was), I'd actually prefer that. Vice City would have been more interesting if they could have used billboards from the 80's etc in it. (Although I must say, their parodies were pretty darned funny.)

Just like anything else in this world, it can be taken to a silly degree. One of the reasons I don't like going to IGN.com is because they INSIST on occasionally loading a full-page commercial instead of taking me straight to the news. I can understand that they need to make money, but when it makes me think twice about heading on over, it's not working right.

Truth be told, I don't think advertising in video games is an issue at all. The issue is whether or not the game is entertaining. Being forced to watch a 30 second ad during a game is hardly any different than a game with a 30 second load time or irritating control. Why aren't they that different? Games are measured by 'fun'. Advertising can be a good element or a bad element. Imagine running around Liberty City, passing a TV show, and running across that ad of the Jack in the Box ball with his hole xeroxed.

Re:The middle ground? (1)

goodenoughnickname (874664) | more than 8 years ago | (#14160176)

>>One of the reasons I don't like going to IGN.com is because they INSIST on occasionally loading a full-page commercial instead of taking me straight to the news.

Use Adblock and block atax.ign.com; no "click to continue" pages and everything loads faster. It is the sweet life.

Re:The middle ground? (1)

Supurcell (834022) | more than 8 years ago | (#14161201)

If Carl Johnson drank Sprite instead of (whatever the made up name of a soda was), I'd actually prefer that.
That would just cheapen the whole experience for me. Think about all of the in-game radio ads that, instead of trying make you laugh, will be trying to separate you from your money.

Re:The middle ground? (2, Interesting)

NanoGator (522640) | more than 8 years ago | (#14161306)

" Think about all of the in-game radio ads that, instead of trying make you laugh, will be trying to separate you from your money."

Um, those ads in the game do that, too. Don't believe me? Go read any review of the last 3 GTA games and notice the comments made about the sound track in that game. It's also worth noting that the Serenity trailer had the exact goal that you're mentioning. Why not the picthforks over that? For the simple reason that entertainment was achieved. Even TV ads can be entertaining. "This'll be the best prom ever!"

So how about reducing the prices of the games then (1)

Zane Edwards (562074) | more than 8 years ago | (#14159893)

This is actually pretty fair. Movies do the same thing. I mean, all Apple users are "good" and all PC users are "bad". Do you want your children growing up with that brainwashing? Its all a plot for you to buy Metallica and rot your brain out on a new svelte Apple laptop.

Re:So how about reducing the prices of the games t (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14159976)

I haven't noticed my ticket prices getting any cheaper since they started showing 5-minute coke ads in front of my movies. If anyone has some statistics or historical trends regarding this stuff I'd love to see it, but I have a feeling that movie theaters are just trying to make more money off the few viewers they DO get for the substandard fare that's been released lately.

What, $3.50 for an already-marked-up $.50 box of candy isn't enough?

Re:So how about reducing the prices of the games t (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 8 years ago | (#14160151)

The MPAA is taking nearly (and in the first few weeks really) 100% of the ticket price, the cinema has to run ads and sell overpriced junk just to break even.

Re:So how about reducing the prices of the games t (1)

Zane Edwards (562074) | more than 8 years ago | (#14160363)

I have been going to Landmark theaters since they started showing commercials (which I thought was a myth, until I went to Lowes). Anyways, back on track...

They aren't playing commercials at the beginning of games though. Yet.

Let them stick ads in there. I won't buy them. (1)

sc0ttyb (833038) | more than 8 years ago | (#14159992)

So let me get this straight: you want to stick ads in something I pay a hefty amount of money for already just so you can "offset development costs"? Here's a hint: focus on the gameplay itself and then worry about the other crap. Your latest whizbang game can have HDR and astronomical polycounts and a score written by Hans Zimmer himself, but if it's as much fun as slamming your junk in the fridge door then it was a waste of both our time and money..

I'm sorry, but there is absolutely nothing saying that in order for a game to be successful it has to include famous voice talent, hyper-realistic cutscenes, and licensed music from [insert Flavor of the Month band]'s newest album.

The problem is that games are just, well, sort of straying from what they're all about. I'm not trying to be a gaming tech Luddite and I realize that games typically don't come from 2-3 guys in an apartment anymore, but damnit, it seems that the focus is more on displacement maps than fresh ideas.

Now, where'd my copy of Below the Root go?

Re:Let them stick ads in there. I won't buy them. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14162013)

Now, where'd my copy of Below the Root go?

I think you dropped it while you were slamming your junk in the fridge door.

It's the next step (1)

GadoBone (934512) | more than 8 years ago | (#14160009)

There is going to be advertising in every possible medium. It's exploded all over tv, movies, radio, sports and concerts. It's either going to be multiple companies placing their ads, or eventually someone will sponsor an entire game or series.

The worst.. (1)

ronjeremysjohnson (899273) | more than 8 years ago | (#14160167)

The worst is when you buy a game which doesnt have ads and then you are more or less forced to upgrade to a patch which has them. If you are computer saavy yhey are very easy to turn off, which is great, but I wish I never gave my money to the developers in the first place.

Advertising might = new content (2, Funny)

DRAGONWEEZEL (125809) | more than 8 years ago | (#14160400)

True, it might be weird seeing COKE in an INNKEEPERS inventory of goods during WOW, but think. Advertized goods will probably be uber kewl.

COKE
"allways refreshing"
3 min cooldown
must remain seated to drink
USE:
Restores 100 mana / second
If you continue drinking for 15 seconds get a "sugar rush"
that gives you +15 AGI but -10 STA.
Also causes you to "BURP" in chat!

Some times it might not be too bad (1)

DRAGONWEEZEL (125809) | more than 8 years ago | (#14160461)

I can just see it now though..
Political campaign adds in your favorite FPS. 8')

One add could go like this....
"Vote for me or else I'll kill you." Then later in the game you through non linear scripted action... could be "FORCED" to vote against him, or accidentally pull on a voter mashine handle and he could come out as a BOSS to beat.

Mmaybe some Special Sprays in CS (oops we got those allready)

How about a dell computers you have to access with certain keys in SYSTEM SHOCK 3000?

Better yet...
A Liandri sign with the face of a congressional candidate.

Some of it could be tasteful....

It CAN be ok (2, Interesting)

Apreche (239272) | more than 8 years ago | (#14160589)

Advertising is ok as long as I don't notice it. Or even better when it makes sense and has no effect. For a good example look at the Ninja Turtles game and Pizza Hut. Makes perfect sense. If you're playing a game and the burger joint is named Merv's Burgers (smiles are free) it's cool, but McDonald's makese sense.

Despite my dislike of McDs I really wouldn't mind this sort of advertising. I don't notice it, it doesn't feel like advertising and it has no effect. It has the added bonus of giving the game developers more money. I am in favor of random companies paying game developers to make their games more genuine by including real world items and getting nothing in return for it other than the illusion that it is somehow helping their sales.

Re:It CAN be ok (1)

HarvardAce (771954) | more than 8 years ago | (#14161797)

I am in favor of random companies paying game developers to make their games more genuine by including real world items and getting nothing in return for it other than the illusion that it is somehow helping their sales.

I wholeheartedly agree. I enjoy that PGR3 for the XBox 360 has real advertisements on the walls of the racetrack. This isn't just trying to plaster advertising wherever you can place it -- it mimicks real life, where the ads are plastered everywhere on the racetrack. The same is true for sports games -- I'm always disappointed when the ads on the scoreboards of the MLB parks are of made-up companies. I'd much rather them be the real advertisements that can be found at the ballpark today.

What I don't like, and, thankfully, haven't really seen yet, are advertisements that don't really fit with the game. I don't want to be running around WoW and see an alienware ad. I also don't want to order Dominos or Pizza Hut from EQ, but if I'm playing Madden 2005, I want my players to be wearing Nikes/Reeboks or whatever the shoe company of the month is. I want the ball to be a Wilson. These things add realism and make the game company more money to boot. Even if this doesn't in turn lower prices for the games, it at least gives more money to the game companies who will hopefully invest it in better games.

Re:It CAN be ok (1)

olego (899338) | more than 8 years ago | (#14161830)

To take your idea further, how about flashing an advertisement for a brief period of time, during the loading of the levels, etc. They'll never notice it! :-D

On tv... (1)

tom8658 (899280) | more than 8 years ago | (#14162162)

... the ads can sometimes be distracting to the plot. My girlfriend had CSI: New York on last night, and as one of the characters was walking across the street to a suspects apartment, his girlfriend calls him and his blackberry starts ringing with Coldplay's "Talk".

I didn't know what was going on until it cut to commercial and the first ad was "Buy Coldplay's 'Talk' ringtone, as advertised on CSI: New York!". I personally find this kind of ad distracting, it felt like the whole 30 second scene was inserted purely to generate advertising revenue.

Compare this to the Cingular billboard in the Spiderman movie. The scene had to be in the movie, spiderman has to swing around the city in big panoramic shots. To me, this is the difference between a coke logo on the wall in a game, and the character having to collect a scattered 12pack of coke in order to bribe a guard/script kiddie.

A Potential Problem (1)

Master Asia (887029) | more than 8 years ago | (#14162458)

Remember when baner ads first started creeping up on websites? A somewhat benign way of advertiseing that didn't get in the way of your info....but look not at the major game sites: IGN, Gamespy, Gamespot, etc...you can't go 2 clicks without either an ad page or one of those obnxious expanding ads or pop-ups. Its gotten so bad that we need software to prevent it from flooding our desktops.

What I'm worried about with games is that I can image something similar if left unsupervised. Streaming ads over a HUD, or ad paged after loading a game level. I would hope that these are my own little nightmares, and that many publishers will not subscribe to this type of advertiseing. But What of Fox interactive, Sony, or Warners Bros., companies that span various media and therefore have more incentive to advertise their products?

I just hope that if/when this starts up, its kept in control...

"Advergaming" (1)

Ugly American (885937) | more than 8 years ago | (#14163367)

Would that be short for "adverse gaming experience?"

Seriously, it reminds me of "infotainment," which is neither informative nor entertaining. No marketing buzzword is going to make me see advertising in games as anything other than what it is; an intrusion into my leisure activity in an attempt to sell me something.

In-game Ads = Unwanted Butt-sex (1)

GrumblyStuff (870046) | more than 8 years ago | (#14163405)

First off, what kind of ads are we talking about? McBurger Kongs in Red Alert 2? You know, in modern CITIES. Or little "Sponsored by" ads in the corners, loading screens, startup screens? Maybe "special" items (I know Gunbound did this recently).

Second, if, say, it's a single player game, would players be forced to download updates or be connected to the internet to get new ads or send play times?

Waitwaitwait, why am I even asking these kind of questions? Must yet another aspect of my life be penetrated (pun intended) by annoying advertising of products I DON'T. FUCKING. WANT?

Here I am, typing away on a website for free. It costs money (but not mine) so ads are expected. On the TV I'm watching cable. Which is payed for. With money-you-can-buy-burritos-with. WHY THE FUCK AM I BEING ASSAULTED WITH ADVERTISING FOR SOMETHING I (someone) PAID FOR? Why the fuck is advertising in games that will be sold even being considered as a viable option?

If you don't have the resources to hire bigwig Hollywood monkeys to write, act, or talk in your game or to make 2048x2048 textures, 30k polygon meshes, or super duper nice animations, then maybe the developers need to get out of this graphic whore rut and think about making nice graphics but not necessarily the kind you need uber-1337 computers to get a decent FPS out of. There's not a damn thing wrong with only "decent" graphics esspecially if it means you have a larger user base that can actually run your game and if it means you can spend more time refining the gameplay.

Hell, you might get games that are better than the competitions', that are funner and rate better, and that have a larger possible player base.

Unwanted ForceFed Butt-sex (1)

DRAGONWEEZEL (125809) | more than 8 years ago | (#14166399)

Listen, I agree with you whole heartedly, but your gratuitous use of the F-word is a little disturbing. What if I were a 13 year old "script kiddie" or something.

Now fictitiously I think that you must swear to be KEWL on /O.

Overall, what is wrong with in-game advertising? (1)

jasonmicron (807603) | more than 8 years ago | (#14164205)

What is wrong with in-game advertising? I personally see nothing wrong with it so long as it fits the personality of the game.

Let's take GTA: San Andreas. Wouldn't it be more beneficial to see a Pepsi sign on the billboards vs. some other made-up brand? It would definitely make the game seem more realistic (oops, wait, we want GTA to avoid the courtroom, yes? hahahah

World War II FPS are very popular right now. Seeing ads for companies that were around at the time on signs etc implemented in the game would also give it a more 'realistic' feel.

On the other side are game where advertising has no real use, say EverQuest, World of Warcraft, Mario, Zelda etc. How would advertising fit into all of that? Surely we wouldn't want to see advertisements for real life products in these enterprises.

Where does the line get drawn?

Honestly, I have no issue with in-game advertising so long as it helps support the game. I have no problem seeing ads for Viagra in games such as "The Matrix Online" or "GTA: San Andreas". I do have a problem with advertising showing up in games where it doesn't belong, like seeing an ad for "Trimspa" in WoW".

Re:Overall, what is wrong with in-game advertising (1)

cluke (30394) | more than 8 years ago | (#14165312)

Let's take GTA: San Andreas. Wouldn't it be more beneficial to see a Pepsi sign on the billboards vs. some other made-up brand?

I don't think so. Part of the appeal of the GTA series for me was how it took place in a slightly distorted version of our own world. Brands were satirised and mocked, which along with the radio content the game made quite an anti-consumerist statement - people blatantly trying to sell you over the top crap they knew was crap. The game was art, IMHO, making a statement about how modern society is going to hell in a handbasket, simply by exaggerating things that we have in the real world. How could this not have been spoilt by real ads?

For example - if you go into a Cluckin' Bell restauraunt in GTA:SA, chances are it is filthy, the staff insult you and the food is crap. Contrast if it had been a licensed KFC or Taco Bell - it would be pristine and you would have genuine marketing slogans shouted at you. The satire would have been turned into a cheap shill, and by extension the world the game was trying to create would be diminished.
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