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Paying Subscriptions for MMOs with In-Game Ads?

Cliff posted more than 8 years ago | from the more-like-product-placement dept.

246

CokoBWare asks: "Next Generation is reporting that NC Soft, makers of the beloved City of Heroes, Guild Wars, and other MMOs have announced that they will be incorporating in-game advertising for their MMO Auto Assault, using an ad service from Massive Inc. NC Soft has made no indication that they intend to change their subscription model in light of this new announcement. I wanted to know how other people would feel paying $50US for a game, plus approximately $15/month in subscription fees, and in addition be served with in-game advertising as well? Is this a good trend for subscription-based MMO games of the future? Should gamers pay for the privilege of having to be subjected to in-game advertising on a monthly basis?"

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246 comments

It's quite simple: (5, Insightful)

robyannetta (820243) | more than 8 years ago | (#14927692)

If I'm paying $15 a month, I better not see an advertisment.

If I'm getting the service for free, bring on the ads.

Re:It's quite simple: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14927740)

It's done with cable tv channels all the time. You pay for access to them and then they show you commercials. It's unfortunate, but the way it goes.

Re:It's quite simple: (2, Insightful)

chrismcdirty (677039) | more than 8 years ago | (#14927783)

That's slightly different. There is the middle man of the cable company that you're directly paying. That payment covers the cost of the infrastructure to get the signal to your home. You pay indirectly through the commercials, used by the networks in order to make money and stay in business.

Re:It's quite simple: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14928542)

Close but not quite. The cable companies themselves pay for the right to transmit the non-broadcast channels (really, can you imagine an *AA member company letting anyone make money using their products without getting a big slice of the pie?). So you're indirectly paying the channel operators by paying the cable companies who pay the channel operator (and build/maintain infrastructure).

The recent FCC ruling requiring ala carte pricing will really throw the system for a loop. The reason you get the bundles you do is because they're contractually required, not because the insurance company wants to bother to sell you drek with your discovery channel.

Re:It's quite simple: (1)

aichpvee (631243) | more than 8 years ago | (#14928555)

Exactly. Maybe if I could pay 15$/month and play any of the dozens of MMO games out there it'd be cool. Of course they could always do tiers like Anarchy Online does where paying members don't see the ads. But doesn't that take something away from the game? For instance the paying members will never understand what people are talking about when they point out a bizarre ad or something.

Re:It's quite simple: (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14927774)

I agree that there should only be ads in a free version of the game. If that happens, they might consider an option to charge a couple bucks a month to get rid of the ads, too.

Do you have cable TV? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14927797)

Just curious.

Re:Do you have cable TV? (1)

Tim C (15259) | more than 8 years ago | (#14928379)

The stations don't get anything like as much from subscriptions as they do from ads, if they get anything. Your subscription goes to your cable provider.

With an online game, what you pay goes to the game developer, as does the advertising revenue. Now it may be that the ad revenue helps to keep subscription costs down, but in that case, they'd better be lower (or the package better) than competing services.

Re:It's quite simple: (4, Interesting)

tukkayoot (528280) | more than 8 years ago | (#14927867)

Some product placement might be acceptable in a game that I'm paying a subscription for, assuming of course the game takes place in a modern or contemporary setting where you might actually expect the products being advertised to exist. It wouldn't necessarily obtrustive be too obtrustive to be playing a GTA-style game and to see billboards on the side of the road as you drive down the city highway. In fact, it might even make the game more believable. It could prove limiting as well, however. If a car game only features GM automobiles as a part of their product placement contract, it might not work out to be as immersive an enviornment as compared to if they populated the game entirely with made-up autos (or those patterned after a variety of different makes of car).

If I'm paying the market price for a MMO subscription (presently, $15/month or so) not a single advertisement had better be integrated as a part of the UI/HUD, unless I can easily and permanently disable it. Integration of ads in the UI might be acceptable as long as you're paying less than what an adless MMO of comparable quality costs, and if you're given the option to pay a bit more to get rid of the ads.

And though I say that might be acceptable, it doesn't mean I want to see it happen. I worry about the old slippery slope. Today you can easily fork over $80/month to your cable company and the majority of stations will still be displaying pure advertising 15% of the time or so. Gaming companies may figure that if people will accept this in television, they will accept it in games. This is obviously not the direction that I'd like to see another medium headed in.

Re:It's quite simple: (5, Funny)

Fulcrum of Evil (560260) | more than 8 years ago | (#14928529)

If a car game only features GM automobiles as a part of their product placement contract, it might not work out to be as immersive an enviornment as compared to if they populated the game entirely with made-up autos (or those patterned after a variety of different makes of car).

That's suck in something like GTA - you jack a car and it breaks down 3 blocks later.

Re:It's quite simple: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14927898)

what if the options are $17 w/o ads versus $15 w/ ads? then would u pay $15 a month for a game with ads?

Re:It's quite simple: (1)

darkhitman (939662) | more than 8 years ago | (#14927967)

In a game like Auto Assault, ads could be counted as the immersion experience.

But it'd be more immersive if it didn't cost to see them.

Cable tv or satellite? (1)

IflyRC (956454) | more than 8 years ago | (#14928413)

Do you have cable tv or a satellite dish? How much per month do you pay for that? I think if its done tastefully it won't be bad. A tall building with a billboard of a real product may add realism to the game.

Re:It's quite simple: (3, Insightful)

Traa (158207) | more than 8 years ago | (#14928662)

"Better not" does not qualify as an argument. We live in a world where you pay for magazines that have advertisements, you pay for TV which has advertisements, etc. I would argue that we, as a collective "feed us"-species have come to embrace this advertisement model as a norm to shave of a few $$ with which we can buy more advertisement ladden services.

Given that you got "+5 insightfull" hints that there is at least a certain group of us, I would say "market", that is willing to pay for advertisement-free content. Yes, I am one of those. But I at least recognize that our 'freedom-means-you-are-allowed-to-make -money-no-matter-what' attitude isn't as grandiose as is advertised by the overlords.

Advertisement = $$. This simply equates to the fact that we will have to shell out extra $$ to allow the games to be how we want them to be. So be it.

Re:It's quite simple: (2, Insightful)

Moofie (22272) | more than 8 years ago | (#14928749)

I don't know about you, but I definitely choose which magazines I'm willing to subscribe to based on the mass fraction of advertising. I'm happy to pay more for a subscription to a well laid out magazine that isn't 3/4 advertising copy.

I knew it... (4, Insightful)

danpsmith (922127) | more than 8 years ago | (#14927729)

It was only a matter of time before advertising and subscription fees both hit you in a package. Cable has been doing this for years with little justification in my eyes. One of the major points in signing up for cable was to get rid of the advertisments, but that idea has been tossed by most cable networks decades ago. Now they are doing the same thing with online stuff. I hope they finally bump into a wall here. I hope this greedy sales model falls right on its face. It's one thing to get us to accept advertising for free services, but when you are paying, and you are online. It just feels so slimy and unnecessary. I hope this project falls flat on its face and serves as a lesson that online, people don't want to pay to be marketed to like everywhere else where they had no choice.

Re:I knew it... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14927863)

If they didn't accept advertising, they'd have to raise the prices. That's the theory, anyway, but it's probably more applicable for a cutthroat industry like magazine and newspaper publishing than for cable TV or gaming.

Like Cable TV (1)

Erioll (229536) | more than 8 years ago | (#14927730)

Unfortunately it's going to be like Cable TV: you pay for cable, but you get the commercials too.

Maybe this can go another way though, and people will abandon the games that want to double-dip. We can only hope.

Re:Like Cable TV (3, Insightful)

ab0mb88 (541388) | more than 8 years ago | (#14928003)

This is not how cable TV works. Cable TV is like online games are now. You pay for the cable to provide the connection to the content but the actual content providers still need to make money through their ads. This is like having to deal with ads on HBO.

Re:Like Cable TV (1)

climbon321 (874929) | more than 8 years ago | (#14928223)

Mod up parent.

No one would be able to afford cable if there were no commercials. With the costs of producing the number of hours of cable television that is on every week commercials are a necessary evil.

In-Game Ads... No problem... (4, Funny)

creimer (824291) | more than 8 years ago | (#14927733)

I don't mind blowing up, burning down or melting sideways the billboards inside the gaming world. Heck, I wouldn't mind slashing and dicing the local authorities if they try to arrest me for cleaning up the environment. Whatever makes the game fun. :)

Re:In-Game Ads... No problem... (5, Insightful)

Sylver Dragon (445237) | more than 8 years ago | (#14928275)

I don't mind blowing up, burning down or melting sideways the billboards inside the gaming world...

Unless the game doesn't let you. For those that haven't seen it yet, Rainbow six:Lockdown on the PC had in game advertisements. Actually it only had one, which was repeated over and over and over again. It was for a movie, The Hills Have Eyes which I will never see, partly due to the ad, also partly due to the movie looking like it is going to suck.
While just about everything else in the game took damage, or at least spawned bullet holes when I shot them, the ads did not. No matter what you did to the posters, the looked good as new. This was tested quite often since the ad had a picture of the main actress on it, which was often mistaken for a taget for a second, and shot. In the end, I'm looking to find a way to replace the image with something a bit more interesting, say porn, before the next LAN (which is how I play the R6 games).
This was bad enough in a game I just paid $50 for, getting that along with the StarForce crap was a real slap in the face. But, the idea of paying for a game subscription and then getting ads as well, just seems like too much to me. Yes, I realize that I'm getting shafted in the same way by the cable company; and that I will probably end up with no choice when it comes to my games; I still don't have to like it.

Well Life is Tuff (4, Insightful)

ResQuad (243184) | more than 8 years ago | (#14927739)

Ya know what I'd like to say "Bullshit, I'm never gonna pay for a game that has advertisements". But the reality is thats not going to make a difference. Just look at TV. Most people pay around 50$ (or more) a month, and there are 15mn+ of commercials per hour.

At least with in game ads they aren't stopping you from playing. You can just walk right past them. And if this helps the companies put out better games cause they can afford to spend more time in devel becaues they are making X more per month per person - well great. (And Frankly, I'd rather see adverts than pay more than 15$ a month per MMOG)

Re:Well Life is Tuff (4, Insightful)

danpsmith (922127) | more than 8 years ago | (#14927818)

At least with in game ads they aren't stopping you from playing. You can just walk right past them. And if this helps the companies put out better games cause they can afford to spend more time in devel becaues they are making X more per month per person - well great. (And Frankly, I'd rather see adverts than pay more than 15$ a month per MMOG)

It won't lead to better games, I can almost guarantee that much. And as far as being able to walk past them, yeah, that's true. But the way I look at it is that it's another place they've taken from us. Another form of entertainment that isn't ours anymore. Another form of advertising that they can use to force brand names on you. People never seem to mind, they always say "well advertising is everywhere else, why not?" And my question is, why is it everywhere else? Why do we tolerate things like the "Tostitos Fiesta Bowl" when the taxpayers paid for the stadium and the fans paid for tickets? We shouldn't. When I hear complacent comments like this one it just makes me sad and it reminds me of a Matthew Good Band song called "advertising on police cars."

Re:Well Life is Tuff (1)

MindStalker (22827) | more than 8 years ago | (#14927970)

Another form of entertainment that isn't ours anymore.
HEHE EA took that away a long time ago.. MMORGS yours?? HA..

Re:Well Life is Tuff (4, Interesting)

Ohreally_factor (593551) | more than 8 years ago | (#14927847)

I could even see where in game ads, properly done, would improve the experience. If someone where to make a Bladerunner MMORPG, it would seem utterly naked if there weren't huge electronic billboards.

However, what would be interesting would be top player endorsements. Imagine if you were the "best" (whatever that might mean in the context of the game) in a game, and your play was subsidized by wearing logos or having logos on your vehicle. A Nascar MMORPG?

Re:Well Life is Tuff (1)

ResQuad (243184) | more than 8 years ago | (#14927963)

Indeed. Like most racing games now adays have advertising in them, because thats how it is in real life. I assume other sports games are like this (but I wouldnt know). Planetside with adverts are way out of place, but MxO with adverts makes sense.

As for the nascar MMORPG - its called Auto Assult - just keep driving to the left and you have the NASCAR minigame.

Re:Well Life is Tuff (1)

Moby Cock (771358) | more than 8 years ago | (#14928407)

Just look at TV. Most people pay around 50$ (or more) a month, and there are 15mn+ of commercials per hour.

TV is free. Just plug in you TV to a power source and watch free broadcasts. What? You want more channels and guarenteed quality reception? Well, you are in luck, for $50/mo we can hook you up.

Re:Well Life is Tuff (1)

lgw (121541) | more than 8 years ago | (#14928628)

Heck, if you watch PBS over the air, there are no commercials and no $50/month. Heck, that's about all I use my TV for besides Netflix. I've never understood paying for "nothing on"!

It _could_ affect gameplay (2, Funny)

Man in Spandex (775950) | more than 8 years ago | (#14928656)

Just imagine this. 2 players in a duel. In the middle of the match, you hear a voice

*Players freeze*
"AND NOW, a message from our sponsor. Tired of a small dick? Get Viagra NOW!........ back to fight in 3... 2 ... 1.."

Missed a point.. (5, Informative)

Daxster (854610) | more than 8 years ago | (#14927741)

Guild wars is free to play per month, unlike EQ2, WOW, etc.

Re:Missed a point.. (1)

Nos. (179609) | more than 8 years ago | (#14927845)

Exactly, I had to recheck the article to make sure they weren't going to START charging a subscription fee to play. Of course since the box says Free Online Play, they might have a problem switching to a subscription model.

Re:Missed a point.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14927948)

Ive often wondered how they manage that.

Re:Missed a point.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14928039)

It's also not an MMO...

Re:Missed a point.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14928448)

It's actually not as hard as you think - server costs, if taken in-house, can be easily offset by sales of the game itself.

This Depends... (2, Interesting)

those.numbers (960432) | more than 8 years ago | (#14927760)

This completely depends on the game. In some games, in some context, ads could almost add to the atmosphere. I'm not too familiar with this game in particular, but if they placed the ads on billboards in games so that you would see them as you drive by, I wouldn't mind. Real city streets have them, so why can't the MMO? Now, if they're too obtrusive, the company should tone them down. Especially since people are already paying good money to play.

On the other hand, if I see one advertisment in Guild Wars...

Re:This Depends... (2, Funny)

Spy der Mann (805235) | more than 8 years ago | (#14928299)

On the other hand, if I see one advertisment in Guild Wars...

Magic Boots +1 (sponsored by Reebok) - 1000GP
Chain mail +1 (sponsored by Adidas) - 2000GP
Regeneration potion (sponsored by Novartis) - 50,000 GP
Screwing up your game experience with ads like this one - Priceless.

Re:This Depends... (1)

Sabaki (531686) | more than 8 years ago | (#14928571)

This is what I was thinking. In fact, I remember commenting to someone last year wondering how long before City of Heroes put of real ads on its billboards. As long as the ads are non-obtrusive (and this includes load times) I don't mind.

If we suddenly have a bunch of missions to recover the spices KFC needs to make their chicken, I might get a bit annoyed.

In fact, I've noticed that in City of Villains, they've had "Your ad here" billboards -- I've been wondering if that was an actual sales pitch. Maybe so.

At first it's cool, but gets old fast. (1)

Nymz (905908) | more than 8 years ago | (#14928676)

The Matrix Online started with ads just over a year ago. At first a few bilboards of movies like Constantine, and Batman:Begins. Then onto computer products, real-world magazines, and car ads.

Sony-Entertainment bought them from AOL-Time-Waner a year ago, and that's when I quit too, so I can't tell you what they are doing today.

Probably unavoidable really ... (1, Insightful)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 8 years ago | (#14927761)

Basically, these companies are looking for as many sources of revenue as possible. Advertising is just another of them.

There are loads of examples of things the user pays for that have advertising: TV, magazines, movie theatres, movies themselves, etc. You almost can't escape it nowadays.

Now, ask me if I think paying $15/mo for an on-line game makes any sense and I'll tell you NO -- but I'm not the entire gaming market. =)

Re:Probably unavoidable really ... (1)

Thisstinks (832936) | more than 8 years ago | (#14928513)

I only play Guild Wars. I will not pay for a game then pay to play that is extortion if you want me to pay a monthly fee to play then give me the game. As for adds I am 100% against them I no longer watch TV because of them.

Depends (0)

SaidinUnleashed (797936) | more than 8 years ago | (#14927764)

If the ads are just banners on loading screens, OOC Chat, etc, I have no problem with it.

If they are putting up billboards in the gameworld, I have a HUGE FUCKING PROBLEM with it.

Re:Depends (1)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 8 years ago | (#14928307)

"If they are putting up billboards in the gameworld, I have a HUGE FUCKING PROBLEM with it. "

Why?

Seriously, I don't understand this. I recently played San Andreas. There are soda machines all over that game using some made-up brand. Why couldn't Sprite pay Rockstar to get their logo placed in that texture? Why would this be a pitchfork waving offense?

Re:Depends (1)

RavenLrD20k (311488) | more than 8 years ago | (#14928595)

If they are putting up billboards in the gameworld, I have a HUGE FUCKING PROBLEM with it.

I might forgive even billboards if they included one feature: Make the billboards interactive. In other words, if you see a billboard for Mountain Spew that you realy realy hate seeing, aim your BFG-9000 and fire...watching the billboard splinter before your, and everyone elses, very eyes.

Or even if you could take a can of spray paint in game and give the guy showing off the product a nice moustache and select nose ring.

Hell...blow up a billboard, get 1,000 exp.

Advertising actually fits the theme, so why not? (1)

Crazy_MYKL (721064) | more than 8 years ago | (#14927776)

Seriously, why the outrage? You see ads while driving IRL, so why wouldn't you in-game?

Re:Advertising actually fits the theme, so why not (2, Insightful)

xzanthar (543209) | more than 8 years ago | (#14927834)

Games are a way to get away from real life.

Re:Advertising actually fits the theme, so why not (2, Insightful)

Andrew Kismet (955764) | more than 8 years ago | (#14928826)

Maybe for you - don't cast your opinion on all gamers. I read books too, but not to get away from real life. I play games for the same reason I read books - either as a mental exercise (Ikaruga, Starcraft) or for an amazing story (Kingdom Hearts, FFVII, Starcraft) and sometimes both (Starcraft).
Adverts would be intuitive in a game like GTA, which is meant to be realistic, and Full Auto makes sense too. As long as they're not intrusive, and they stay to realistically-placed billboards, vending machines, a few posters and loading screens, I'm happy. Besides, a McDonalds poster might remind me that I need to eat when playing.

Re:Advertising actually fits the theme, so why not (1)

dsands1 (183088) | more than 8 years ago | (#14928116)

Seriously, why the outrage? You see ads while driving IRL, so why wouldn't you in-game?

So, vice-versa, I get to beat prostitutes with golf-clubs and kill cops in-game, so does that mean I can do so in real life?

Re:Advertising actually fits the theme, so why not (1)

geniusj (140174) | more than 8 years ago | (#14928304)

Well, you CAN. It's a matter of risk vs reward though. You might not like your 'reward' ;-)

Re:Advertising actually fits the theme, so why not (1)

Galen Wolffit (188146) | more than 8 years ago | (#14928721)

Actually here in Fairfax, Virginia ... we don't have the displeasure of being bombarded by huge billboards struggling to steal your attention while you're trying to do something else: pay attention to the road.

They have been outlawed.

Can't say I miss them! Not that I ever really glanced at them anyways. But some of the ones in the bay area, with flashing lights ... those were over the top.

This is an example of how the people CAN vote to keep this sort of crap from happening and actually win.

cost per hour of entertainment (4, Insightful)

RingDev (879105) | more than 8 years ago | (#14927781)

I'm not the hard core gamer I used to be, but I probably play 4-8 hours a week. So you figure $15/month = $180/year = $3.46/week = $0.43 to $0.86 per hour of entertainment.

Compared to a Movie, I paid $8.25 to see Underworld 2. Run time 106 minutes, but you could theoretical count the travel time and previews as "entertainment" so let's call it a 3 hour event. That puts the cost at $2.75/hour.

For me, $15 is a drop in the bucket. I would prefer to not have adds (specifically since I play high fantasy games usually) but in some games (the NFS series for instance) Ads can be put in the game seamlessly in a way that does not break immersion.

-Rick

Re:cost per hour of entertainment (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14928288)

I would prefer to not have adds

I also hate adds. Hunters have very little CC unless you've specced for scatter shot. I rerolled a lock, hoping to have a little better control. Fear and Death Coil FTW.

.... that is what you meant, right?

Re:cost per hour of entertainment (1)

RingDev (879105) | more than 8 years ago | (#14928444)

Yes, I type-oed "ads" thank you for pointing out my short comings as a human-being.

-Rick

Re:cost per hour of entertainment (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14928477)

>>>For me, $15 is a drop in the bucket. I would prefer to not have adds (specifically since I play high fantasy games usually) but in some games (the NFS series for instance) Ads can be put in the game seamlessly in a way that does not break immersion.

So, what's wrong with Elvish sports-drinks?

Gnomish anti-smoking sigils?

Dwarvish sports utility vehicles?

Predictions (4, Insightful)

BaudKarma (868193) | more than 8 years ago | (#14927787)

Prediction: 90% of respondants will react to the concept of in-game ads as if someone was offering to attach live leeches to their eyeballs. Brave proclomations will be made about how respondant will never, ever, EVER pay for a game that has in-game advertising, no matter what.

Prediction: If the game is good, same people will buy it and play it, complaining bitterly the whole time. Until and unless the advertisments get so intrusive that they actually interfere with gameplay, people will put up with them to get their gaming fix.

Re:Predictions (1)

Gojira Shipi-Taro (465802) | more than 8 years ago | (#14927989)

Fortunately, Auto Assault just isn't very good, so it won't be difficult to "boycott".

Honestly though, as far as gaming fixes, No one game is going to get a hold on a gamer such that they are going to put up with something they hate. There's just too many choices, too many alternatives. I loved playing WoW, but I won't put up with waiting in line, so the choice to quit, even after a year of playing, was quite simple.

There are folks out there with no will power, but many people who draw the line at say, advertiseing in-game mean what they say.

The problem is (5, Insightful)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 8 years ago | (#14928394)

The bar is set fairly high, and keeps getting higher. Ok so time was your competition was Everquest, a game that felt like a job run by people who seemed to actively go out of their way to screw their customers. Didn't need a big leg up there. However now there's World of Warcraft. It's a fun game, a REALLY fun game. Certianly the best of the five I've tried and the only one to hold my attention for over a year. Sales figures seem to back that up, with 5 million subscribers and rising.

Ok so people who need their MMORPG fix can (and do) go there, you game has to offer something different or better, if you don't, they'll ignore you for the most part. Thus if you decide that a fee plus intrusive ads is the way to go, gamers will tell you to fuck off, they have something better already.

The reason I'm very anti in-game ads is because I know how stupid advertisers are when it comes to computers. They seem to think that ads need to be extremely in your face, noisy, and interactive. If they aren't getting your full attention for an extended period with lots of click throughs, well they must be failing. I mean shit, look at the previlance of not just popups, but take-over-your-browser types of Flash ads. The web is a non-linerar medium and the closest thing would be a newspaper, where you can skip around as you want, yet they insist that's not good enough, their ads have to be in your face.

See I could go for a game with well integrated ads, I even think they could enhance the experience. For example you walk by a TV and instead of displaying some 3 screen loop with babble sounding audio, it has downloaded some new ads and plays them. Would feel nice and realistic, and integrate in to your experience well.

However that's not how it will go, I'm afraid. The advertisers would bitch since people could just ignore the ads and look at other things (I'll never understand why that's not a problem with real billboards and such, just ocmptuer ads). What they'll want is forced ads on loading screens. So you zone in to a place and it starts loading, but instead of a loading screen you get an ad that talks to you, wants you to click thigns, etc. You computer finishes all it's work in 5 seconds but you spend 20 more being bombarded by an ad before you can play.

Thanks, but no.

Re:Predictions (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14928462)

I predict games that want to use ingame advertising have their development controlled by uncreative nitwits who think the whole world revolves around business, pop culture, and advertising. These games will suck. If they have a big franchise, they'll sell well pre-release, but in the end they will suck and be in the 10$ bin in the line at best buy with all the other crapola.

Do you have cable TV? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14927810)

Should gamers pay for the privilege of having to be subjected to in-game advertising on a monthly basis?

I pay for cable television only to have to watch ads on channels like FX, Discovery, etc... Granted, the finance structure is totally different there, but my point is that the General Public is just so used to seeing ads everywhere, even in content they pay for, that my guess is that no one will even notice.

How do you even know there will be a fee? (2, Insightful)

brunes69 (86786) | more than 8 years ago | (#14927838)

I see nowhere in the announcement that NC Soft plans to charge a monthly fee in adition to having advertisements.

Seeing how they *already* have a very popular MMORPG without a monthly fee (Guild Wars), I don't think it is a stretch to think this one won't either.

Re:How do you even know there will be a fee? (1)

AK__64 (740022) | more than 8 years ago | (#14928397)

Mod parent up.
I looked into Auto Assault a few months ago, and I got the impression from the website that it would be one-time purchase only, similar to Guild Wars. May not be correct, but that's what I seem to remember. Browsing the website, I can't see anything that specifies either way, so that probably means that Auto Assualt will have a monthly fee.

As far as in-game advertising goes, I wouldn't mind too terribly as long as the game quality was higher (or the price was lower) and the ads weren't too obtrusive. I'm not a role-player though, so that certainly influences my opinion. If the advertising engine is not integrated well into the world, i.e. ads exist on rocks or in the middle of forests, for instance, or if you have to wait to load up a new ad, then we would have a problem and I would cancel my subscription.

Incidentally, despite the corny-sounding premise of the game, Auto Assualt seems to be fairly innovative and unique. The biggest feature being touted right now is the "fully-destructible environment" but the potential for unique characters (or, more likely, unique cars) and the ability to "craft" new items (Second Life, anyone?) are more intriguing to me. I might have to check it out come April 12.

Better Games? (2, Interesting)

carterhawk001 (681941) | more than 8 years ago | (#14927848)

If the publishers and content produces for MMO's are going to stick advertising in games, then I have no problem continuing to pay my monthly fee so long as the revenue from said advertising is used to improve the game im playing. Less downtime should be a top priority for both sides because downtime = less advert money. More content in general would also be nice. More places for that advertising to go i figure. You have to remember that disneyland is like the real life equivelent for an MMO, and in addition to your entrance fee, many of the E Ticket rides [go.com] have corporate sponsors [energizer.com] , which is totaly cool because it means the ride is better than it otherwise would have been. As long as the big wigs at the publishing companies arent just fattening their wallets, im cool with in-game advertising.

If the game is good people will accept it. (3, Insightful)

Quarters (18322) | more than 8 years ago | (#14927852)

"...wanted to know how other people would feel paying $50US for a game, plus approximately $15/month in subscription fees, and in addition be served with in-game advertising as well?"

People pay $5000US for a hi-def set, plus approximately $80/month for HiDef satellite and/or cable service, and are served ads without complaint.

This alone will separate quality from crap (2, Insightful)

popo (107611) | more than 8 years ago | (#14927869)


No publisher with any sort of standards would allow the game setting to be destroyed this way. I think we'll see the games with low subscribership succumb to this trend, and lose even more players as a result. Its one thing for Anarchy Online, City of Heroes or a game with a futuristic setting to use in-game ads (since ads exist within those worlds thematically), but a Volvo ad in a dungeon?

Ambience, mood, storyline, graphical quality and believability are hugely important in a MMORPG. All I can say is, if my Lvl 20 Monk/Ranger comes across a "Lower Your Mortgage"
ad in the depths of Hell, I'm never playing Guild Wars again. ...Not to mention the inherent problems with advertising Pepsi on some bloodstained field of carnage.

US centric adverts (2, Interesting)

forgotten_my_nick (802929) | more than 8 years ago | (#14927945)

One thing amazed me about the US when I lived there is how badly you are bombarded with adverts. Not just TV but everywhere. Really its like having a fast computer. You don't realise it until you start to try to use a slow one.

I found amazing, and very annoying. But for everyone else because they grew up with it they more or less blocked it out. Advertising companies know this, which is why adverts are becoming more and more intrusive. Take a look at this site.. http://www.womma.org/wombat/agenda.htm [womma.org]

It will give you an idea of how intrusive they actually get. Whats intresting in that site is that NCSofts Auto-Assault has used these marketing companies for viral/Gurrilla/astro-turfing. So having them put adverts into the game is just an extension of this to be honest.

As for the OP question. I wouldn't play it. I'd quit. If I am paying a subscription why the heck should I be paying to be spammed with adverts. Don't talk to me about it. Think it helps? Guess you have never seen "Deuce Bigalow: European gigalo" pictures in planetside.
http://www.secretlair.com/index.php?/clickablecult ure/entry/massive_ruins_planetside/ [secretlair.com]

which incidently was hacked to stop adverts spawning in game (just basically edited the hosts file).

It's all in the execution (2, Insightful)

Zaffo (755234) | more than 8 years ago | (#14927954)

In-game ads could work in a subscription-based game model, if done right.

The most important thing advertisers (and game companies) have to accept is the fact that their ads will only be appropriate in contemporary-themed game environments. City of Heroes and Enter the Matrix fit this description, and not much else does. They try shoehorning an ad for potato chips (or anything else, for that matter) in a game with a fantasy/medieval setting. The reaction from subscribers will be instant and negative.

Interstitials might work ("While the game loads, check out this tennis shoe!"), but they must be extremely low-bandwidth. Like a simple graphic. They cannot add to irritating stream of data coming and going between the game's client and server because people complain enough about lag and latency already; ads would earn a game company a blue ribbon in the "Fastest Drop in Subscriptions" contest, hands-down. Video or flash are absolutely detested on the Web, and their acceptance in a paid-for game is far below any means of measurement.

Re:It's all in the execution (1)

Deathlizard (115856) | more than 8 years ago | (#14928204)

Context wise, I don't see how there going to add these to Auto Assault outside of loading screens.

The world is set in a futuristic, post apocalyptic "Mad Max" world. if youre going through a war torn zone and start seeing pristene unweathered billboards for Pepsi, it's going to look fishy.

I really don't understand why they don't do this in COH/V instead. It's like they built the world to show billboard advertising, and it's built in such a way that it would make the world seem more realistic. It's almost to the point where you're bummed it's an "In-Front Steakhouse" billboard instead of a real "Outback Steakhouse" billboard. As long as they followed billboard rules and didn't have Pepsi and Mt. Dew on every billboard you see in COH, it would really make Paragon city feel like a real big city on the east coast.

I've said it before... (1)

steveo777 (183629) | more than 8 years ago | (#14927969)

and I'll say it again...(Disclaimer, can't read the article, so if there is content about the style, I only get the summery).

As long as the ads are unobtrusive and fit the style and content of the game I'm fine. For instance, racing games advertising cars or tires, no problem. If there was an advertisment in WoW for hand lotion, however, I would be less than pleased.

Oh, and I think everyone would agree with me. If there's ads in the game, I best be getting some sort of substantial discount. Say, at least 5 bucks a month. Or maybe the game for free as a good will gesture.

Not so bad really... (1)

DLG (14172) | more than 8 years ago | (#14927992)

I really always assumed that we would begin to see both advertisement and sorts of sponsorships in online gaming. It might not always work in the most thematic way, but this is not really different than product placement for example.

The Ancient Order of Coca-cola have defeated the Mercedes Barbarians to bring the glory of the gods to America.

I'm fine with it (1)

dsands1 (183088) | more than 8 years ago | (#14928000)

...as long as it is

a) contextually correct
b) not overy distracting/annoying

If they replace Morning Glory Dew with Mountain Dew in WoW you're gonna see one angry dwarf.

.

Re:I'm fine with it (1)

Dachannien (617929) | more than 8 years ago | (#14928773)

Scott (Galstaff, Sorceror of Light): No waaay! His character is carrying Mountain Dew, too?!
Graham (The DM): If I roll a ten or higher, then yes. (rolls die) Eleven.
(Everyone laughs hysterically.)

Choice and disclosure (1)

9mm Censor (705379) | more than 8 years ago | (#14928040)

I ask for this from Game Publishers: 1) Choice: Let me pick to payless and see ads, or pay more and not see them (bonus, make fake ads that are cool). Better yet for cheapo's let me fill out a survey and give me less but better ads for me (or less money). 2) Disclosure: Tell me your going to put ads in your game, and what they are, and will not be.

Planetside has that (2, Informative)

RobinH (124750) | more than 8 years ago | (#14928146)

Planetside already has that. They're not overly invasive, but they are noticeable in areas that people frequent (it's not like people's tanks have billboards on the side of them, a la nascar).

It's also very very easy to get rid of the ads. Apparently you just enter a line in your lmhosts file that tells the game to redirect all requests to the Massive Inc servers to some black hole. No more ads.

This could be a good thing (1)

mmalove (919245) | more than 8 years ago | (#14928211)

As long as the in game advertising is on the side of destructable buildings, I'm all for it.

Take that, Wal-Mart!

KAPOW!

New registration card for products (3, Funny)

Tsunayoshi (789351) | more than 8 years ago | (#14928249)

Thanks for purchasing Product X! Please take the time to let is know where you heard about our product:

1. Newspaper
2. Billboard
3. Gaming Magazine
4. Farming Blue/Purple Items in Molten Core.

Thanks for your input.

Cable TV is NOT a good comparison to this model (1)

i_am_the_r00t (762212) | more than 8 years ago | (#14928286)

Cable TV has many channels that are commercial-free
Cable TV 'packages' many products i.e Channels to provide a service. Some of the channels are nothing but commercials (HSN, QVC etc) some are Movies/Specials only (MAX, Encore, Showtime, HBO)

a better comparison would be a single sporting event. Nascar, NFL game, Olympics, whatever.

Ads are part of our culture. Personally, if they are unintrusive (they do not hinder the gameplay) I would not mind

in fact, I would rather see a Drink machine in a game say Pepsi or Coca-Cola than some goofy "Spritza-Cola" or "Popsci". having actual Ads presented in a realistic way will add to the immersion.

Re:Cable TV IS a good comparison to this model (1)

pandrijeczko (588093) | more than 8 years ago | (#14928583)

On British cable/satellite TV, all channels in any basic package that you buy contain adverts. Some of the movie channels do not contain adverts but these are usually rented at a much larger additional cost. Plus I've been to the US quite a few times and I can never recall ever seeing a TV channel which did not have adverts on it - if anything, I found US TV pretty much unwatchable due to the sheer number of adverts that pop up without warning (especially those that appear straight after the prequel and main theme tune of several popular TV series).

I have absolutely no problem with the *concept* of having something for free with advertising included in it (I just probably won't use it) but I definitely will NOT pay for something that has advertising included - for this reason I don't have cable TV, I've complained about some movies I've seen at the cinema where product placement has been too excessive & I buy no designer clothing that has a corporate logo on it.

Advertising is NOT our culture, it's about directing and manipulating our culture for the pure reason of making money. When they can survey a few hundred kids & have all of them recognise an image of Ronald McDonald but a far lesser percentage recognise an image of Jesus Christ, I think that illustrates exactly where our "culture" is actually going. And no, I'm not Christian or religious either - if marketing and ad men are the most dangerous threat to society, then those people who need ten commandments that can be summed up in the phrase "Just be nice to everyone" come a close second...

I don't know, it could be fun (1)

kuriharu (756937) | more than 8 years ago | (#14928358)

Think about it -- you could see ads for McDonald's or Coke in World of Warcraft. Maybe they could make them relevant to the context -- "Eat a Big Mac for your ORC sized appetite".

No in-game advertising! (2)

MaWeiTao (908546) | more than 8 years ago | (#14928361)

I have two fundamental problems with in-game advertising.

The first is immersion. If I'm playing a game set in a post-apocalyptic world why am I seeing ads, and worse yet, why are they for products that don't exist in this world.

The second problem is specific to subscription based games. If I'm paying a monthly fee why should I be subjected to advertising? I don't even think I should see advertising in a game I've spent $50 for. Corporate greed knows no bounds and I expect in-game advertising to grow increasingly obnoxious and obtrusive.

I have a few other problems with this form of advertising, one of the largest being the general lack of quality for these ads. It's like ad banners, nearly all of which are complete and utter garbage. The stuff I've seen from screenshots of other games looks awful. I don't expect this to improve and I'm sure we'll see poorly placed ads. Like posters for Subway sandwiches in terrorist hideouts.

Now, advertising fits a bit more neatly into a world like that in City of Heroes; it's a contemporary city based in the United States. But again, the general idea of advertising in games rubs me the wrong way.

It's far more enjoyable and faithful to the game world to see the fake ads the designers have created. The moment I see an ad for a real-life product I'm no longer based in the game, I'm thinking about my life outside the game.

To put it simply, I think in-game advertising is lame. It's companies tried to grab every last penny from consumers. But too many consumers seem to think this is okay which means that its going to be forced on us all whether we like it or not. Consumers are far too accepting of being charged for nonsense and there aren't enough people willing to organize to oppose anything.

Already Done (1)

IflyRC (956454) | more than 8 years ago | (#14928392)

Anyone ever played Star Wars Galaxies? The whole thing is an advertisement for the Star Wars movies, toys, posters, etc. The same can be said for the upcoming DC Comics superhero MMORPG, the upcoming Star Trek MMORPG and a few others.

These are the same as playing a game where your character is a coca cola bottle and you're trying to save the vending machine that is under attack by "generic" can mobs.

It is all about the experience. (1)

Rifter13 (773076) | more than 8 years ago | (#14928503)

As someone else pointed out, if you are going past a pop machine, it makes more sense to see say Coke or Pepsi, instead of some made-up cola name. Same with billboards. There are ads in Burnout Revenge. They add to the environment, and I really don't mind them. On the flip side, you have SWAT 4. It seems that there are posters about every 10 feet advetising SOMETHING. Last week, it was The Hills have Eyes, this week it is the History Channel show with Shatner's head plastered everywhere. I don't mind advertising... as long as I get a break in the price. I am NOT seeing that happen. Hell, in SWAT 4, it was perfectly fine, until they patched it to force streaming ads.

The key is emersion... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14928602)

If ads take away from the game (i.e. I have to stop and watch one) then I won't have it and I'll simply play a different game. If on the other hand they're incorporated into the game in a manner so as to add realism be they real product billboards or something even more agressive alla from the movie Minority Report set in a SciFi genre then I'm all for it.

In the end, it's all about game quality and if the ad can help set mood or tone and add to the emersion factor I'd love it. I feel like in this case I'm getting something from it too. If on the other hand it's disruptive and I have to work to get past the add to get to the emersion the screw it...I'll find a better game with better content.

I suspect game companies will go to far toward the ad model first and ruin a few games but I'm hopeful they'll eventually come back to the middle where the ads actually add to the gaming experience.

Re:The key is emersion... (1)

fooslacker (961470) | more than 8 years ago | (#14928686)

Adding to the emersion factor could also be accomplished by by mixing real world brand recongnition ads for in game products. That is something along the lines of Mercedes-Benz selling a futuristic in game hover car. This kind of thing could actually make games better rather than worse. I'd better not see an advert for laundry detergent in a futuristic post apocolyptic setting however and you know I will with Proctor and Gamble pays enough to the right money whores. =)

Matrix Online was doing this a long time ago... (2, Interesting)

TheNetAvenger (624455) | more than 8 years ago | (#14928606)

Billboards in the Matrix Online had both fake and real ads on them from launch. It actually added to the realism of the game, as it wasn't just fake ads. (Made it feel more real)

I quit Matrix because SOE (Sony Online) bought it, and started adding in everquest abilities to the game model, a lot like when they brought the everquest developers over to Star Wars Galaxies and started destroying because they didn't 'get the difference'.

But until then it was kind of cool to see new movie billboards or alienware ads for a new model, etc.

It can make the world more real, but if it fits in the context. I wouldn't expect to see a Pepsi Machine In WoW or a Billboard for a new movie in WoW, it has to fit the game and not break it. Matrix it worked because it was mimmicking a real city.

And if it adds revenue they use to make the game better and add content and expand the game, I'm for it...

In other news... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14928611)

Adbusters announced today that they WTS [Culturejammer Stickers]x40, 25g, on top of mailbox in Org.

Seamlessly blending into the game world... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14928622)

"Will pay a mage for conjured Mountain Dew"

"WTS [Goodyear Boots of the Eagle]"

"Need a McHealer for BRD"

"Need an Alchemist to make me some Pepsi pots. I have the [Radioactive Goop]"

Damn you, Adam Smith! (1)

jabber (13196) | more than 8 years ago | (#14928639)

My goodness, this is terrible! The market is getting to critical mass, and suppliers are trying to see how much (more) money it is able to bear? Say it ain't so!

Of course, when CDs got too expensive, some geek wrote Napster. Maybe this assault on gamers' aesthetics will prompt a few creative ones to come up with a free alternative, or some enlightened company will roll out an ad-less alternative - and use the asence of ads as a selling point.

Sheesh! If the ads are so bad, don't play the game. If you're addicted to the game, you'll absorb the ads like a crack-whore who comes to terms with servicing the Johns for the drug.

More Ad paid stuff?!! (1)

cb0nd (893473) | more than 8 years ago | (#14928651)

It seems that it is a nice model, since many things we use today are ad powered. But where's the limit? How much more can the budget for ads grow? Are the industries willing to spend that much money on ads? Not that games cannot be run with money from ads, but this solution is being adopted for paying for everything.

Oh boy (1)

katorga (623930) | more than 8 years ago | (#14928672)

I can't wait to see mobs looking like nascar drivers, covered in ads....cheap gold! www.china.com.

It wouldn't make me buy the products advertised.. (1)

Shacky (948434) | more than 8 years ago | (#14928693)

I have two comments for this one:
First, how is this really different from say, paying $40 for two people to go to the movies that
are subjected to all kinds of crappy adverts as they are waiting for the movie
(or even previews, which include more crappy ads) to start?

Second, I don't think seeing an ad in a game is going to make me buy the product.
As said before, it's better to see a pop machine with coke or pepsi on it, rather than "cola!"
but it wouldn't make me say "hmm, I see a coke ad.. I need to run to the store right now and buy
some!" Have we really come to the point that consumers will make purchases of products based on
an ad in a game? Maybe I'm not in that reality :)

Same as in Movie Theaters (1)

smalltownhick (955397) | more than 8 years ago | (#14928781)

Movie theaters do the same thing, you pay $8 for the movie and if you get there before the show you end up watching 25 minutes commercials, not to mention all the product shots inside said movie.
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