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More In-Game Advertising on the Way

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the would-you-like-your-coke-cure-potion-now dept.


jizziknight writes "Wired has an article up detailing the many types of in-game advertisements and product placements on the way to future games. Advertisers and developers might actually be starting to think it through, rather than just slapping the company's name on everything. Adidas Basketball will be sponsoring some unlockable 'features' in Electronic Arts' NBA Live 07 on the Xbox 360 and the PS3 that showcase its new 'It Takes 5IVE' slogan. The features include 5 players with special uniforms and an exclusive arena. In Fight Night Round 3, Burger King is sponsoring an unlockable boxer as well as an avatar of The King that joins your entourage when you win a Burger King-sponsored event. There are also a few details about an ad-supported MMOG by Acclaim, in which sponsors offer to buy items for you when you go shopping in the game. Another interesting tid-bit from the article: A comScore survey showed that 'Thirty-seven percent of heavy gamers (those who play games at least 16 hours a week) agreed that featuring actual products or companies in games make the games feel more realistic. About one-third (27 percent) of medium gamers (those who played less than 11 hours per week) agreed that in-game ads can add to a game's realism.' Of course, we've all seen instances where ads make the game less realistic."

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The new TV? (4, Interesting)

commisaro (1007549) | more than 7 years ago | (#16327315)

Does this mean that games are going to become free, paid for by advertising? I doubt it. Where is all the extra revenue generated from advertisements going, because it sure isn't going towards lowering game prices, from what I've seen.

Re:The new TV? (3, Funny)

kfg (145172) | more than 7 years ago | (#16327403)

Where is all the extra revenue generated from advertisements going. . .


Now all you have to do is figure out how to sell advertising on underpants.

Oh, wait. . .


Re:The new TV? (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 7 years ago | (#16328567)

Now all you have to do is figure out how to sell advertising on underpants.

Grand Theft Auto: Hot Coffee, a PC game from Rockstar, sold only through Rockstar's online store.

Re:The new TV? (2, Insightful)

Necroman (61604) | more than 7 years ago | (#16327565)

The cost to produce a Video Game has become extremely high. With the increased cost of production and a semi stagnant price in video games, companies are looking for a way to get some extra money out of the deal.

Publishers will make a lot of money on the big title games (Grand Theft Auto and the lot), but will have to take a gamble with other titles by investing a lot of money they are not garneted to make back. So when they do make a lot of money on one title, some of those profits will go to help funding another title (and into the pockets of executives).

Re:The new TV? (1)

j00r0m4nc3r (959816) | more than 7 years ago | (#16328641)

Where is all the extra revenue generated from advertisements going

It's going straight to the Ferrari dealership down the street from the developer's office...

Re:The new TV? (1)

twistedsymphony (956982) | more than 7 years ago | (#16335427)

don't forget the boob-job for the trophy wife... or the overpaid hair stylist for your "wind blown" blond locks.

Re:The new TV? (2, Funny)

krgallagher (743575) | more than 7 years ago | (#16330095)

"Does this mean that games are going to become free, paid for by advertising?"

This has always been one of my prefered gaming models. If the MMORPG's worked my way, that potion of strength would be a Starbucks Latte.

Re:The new TV? (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 7 years ago | (#16334453)

Yes but with a Starbucks Latte you'd have people asking if that's supposed to strengthen or kill them.

Re:The new TV? (1)

Aladrin (926209) | more than 7 years ago | (#16334483)

You know, I actually don't find that offensive. A bit tacky, but not offensive.

I hear a lot of hate from gamers that think advertising is evil no matter how it's done. But I just don't see it that way. When done properly, as the examples in the summary, it doesn't detract from the experience.

Burger King has been doing the unlockable thing for quite some time. I believe there's been 2 or 3 race games that they had an unlockable vehicle already. Having 'The King' be in your entourage is hilarious to me. I might even work towards that, if I were inclined to play sports games at all.

NFS:U used Cingular for all their cellphone communications in-game. That was huge advertising. They made it a bit too gaudy, though... They should have toned it down and had it be more subliminal. Instead they made it way too obvious that they were trying to pound their name into your head.

Time will iron out these wrinkles. If the currently ad companies can't figure out how to do it right, new ad companies will be born that can.

Re:The new TV? (1)

Nerd4News (661915) | more than 7 years ago | (#16340927)

Burger King has been doing the unlockable thing for quite some time. I believe there's been 2 or 3 race games that they had an unlockable vehicle already. Having 'The King' be in your entourage is hilarious to me. I might even work towards that, if I were inclined to play sports games at all.

I wouldn't mind having a BK King bot in UT 2007 so I could blast his friggin' ass off the planet.

This can be done well. (3, Insightful)

cowscows (103644) | more than 7 years ago | (#16327379)

As long as it's worked into the game reasonably well, and not an interruption to the game, it doesn't bother me much. Like most things, it can be done badly, in which case it will certainly be annoying. But if it revolves around product placement and brand awareness, rather than direct "Buy me now for only $14.99 at Walmart!" it shouldn't be bad. More clever things like BK having the king escort you to the ring in FightNight are actually pretty cool, and would make me laugh.

I don't have any problem with ads in game on principle. If it keeps the prices of games from going up as quickly as they would otherwise, then so much the better.

Re:This can be done well. (1)

kannibal_klown (531544) | more than 7 years ago | (#16327499)

Agreed. If I'm playing NHL Hockey and see some ads along the rink's wall then I don't care if it's a make-believe Cola company ad or a Pepsi ad. Likewise, if I'm street-racing in another game and see a well-placed billboard or a painted building wall, then I don't care. Just keep it low-key or interesting.

Re:This can be done well. (3, Insightful)

mythosaz (572040) | more than 7 years ago | (#16327841)

While I hate to "me too" on a topic list this, the parent is correct. In game ads, where appropriate, add to the realism. NASCAR games *need* ads on the cars and along the racetracks. Fight Night might have gone over the top with the Burger King ads, but the rest of the in-game "advertising" was spot on -- and, yes, Beating el Ray to get The King as your trainer/promoter was, at least in my opinion, cool/funny/neat. Fights have sponsors. Real sponsors add a sense of immersion in the game.

Nobody wants to kick in a door in a FPS and find a flashing "$10 off your first $50 in electronics at" ad plastered on the wall, but since I drink branded soda, I don't have a problem with kicking in the door and finding my target sipping an ice cold Coca Cola. I'm more bothered by the knock-offs seen in movies/games without sponsored products. They're even MORE distracting.

Art echos life. Life had ads.

Seen this coming since 1983 (2, Insightful)

SomeoneGotMyNick (200685) | more than 7 years ago | (#16327445)

That damn Tapper [] game advertising Budweiser (and Mountain Dew in a "think of the children" variant)

I'm a fantasy game freak (2, Insightful)

NaeRey (944457) | more than 7 years ago | (#16327469)

How do you think will they put ads in THAT and make it feel more realistic??

Re:I'm a fantasy game freak (2, Funny)

kfg (145172) | more than 7 years ago | (#16327557)

How do you think will they put ads in THAT and make it feel more realistic??

You got a problem with serving wenches named Taco Belle?


Re:I'm a fantasy game freak (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16327925)

>You got a problem with ...

no, but do you ask to see the name of the characters serving you in a game or the names of the people that serve you in RL?

Re:I'm a fantasy game freak (1)

kfg (145172) | more than 7 years ago | (#16327991)

. . .do you ask to see the name of the characters serving you in a game or the names of the people that serve you in RL?

That would be redundant. I've already seen them.


Re:I'm a fantasy game freak (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16327993)

In RL, they generally tell you their name when they greet you. "Hi, I'm Taco Belle. I'll be your wench this evening. What can I get you?"

Re:I'm a fantasy game freak (1)

hotdiggitydawg (881316) | more than 7 years ago | (#16328365)

I think it's more the "This +5 sword of malicious wounding proudly brought to you by Ginsu. It slices, it dices, it even juliennes! But wait, purchase in the next 15 minutes and we will throw in not one, not two, but six steak knives of +3 grievous bodily harm, absolutely free! And all this can be yours for the low low price of 29 95!" part that he's worried about...

Re:I'm a fantasy game freak (1)

kfg (145172) | more than 7 years ago | (#16328435)

Hey! That's some kick ass shit. Where do I get it? Does a +5 turnip twaddler come with it?


It isn't that hard... (1)

cptgrudge (177113) | more than 7 years ago | (#16327983)

"Four out of Five Greenskins Agree! Diet Coke really does taste Better than Diet Pepsi!"

"Ask your local Apothecary about the new Diet Dr. Pepper restorative potion. Restores more mana with less wait time!"

"This year, vote for change. This year, vote for Edward Johnson (AKA: Endwyl the Just)"

See? It's not that hard!

does your sword talk? (1)

BitterAndDrunk (799378) | more than 7 years ago | (#16328097)

Is it vorpale?

Every once in a while doesn't it suggest some food? Snicker Snack!

for what it's worth, it hurt to type this

Screw in-game ads (2, Insightful)

RichPowers (998637) | more than 7 years ago | (#16327491)

I refuse to buy a game that has in-game ads AND retails for $50. If you're going to ruin the creative integrity of the game, at least make it cheaper for me to purchase. Until some of the ad revenue gets passed down to consumers in the form of cheaper retail prices, I can't get behind this scheme. For every one game that does in-game ads right, there will be 50 that blatantly sell out and ruin the gaming experience...

My $0.02 (2, Insightful)

robyannetta (820243) | more than 7 years ago | (#16327493)

If I can play the game for free, then I would expect to see ingame advertising.

If I have to pay $50 for the game and $14.95 a month for online gameplay, I better NOT see any online ads.

Re:My $0.02 (2, Interesting)

Cahrin (1002520) | more than 7 years ago | (#16327629)

MMO's have a huge opportunity here, as they could probably get away with selling you the game at $50 and then giving you the option of paying a monthy fee or playing the game with a ton of ads in it. It'll be interesting, though, to see how they try to seamlessly integrate ads for Nike into a game like WoW.

Re:My $0.02 (1)

kfg (145172) | more than 7 years ago | (#16327631)

That's exactly why I first started paying for TV reception.


Wii (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16327739)

I just wanted to let you know that I'm buying a Nintendo Wii and I am not buying any EA games for it.

Only one thing to point out... (1)

porcupine8 (816071) | more than 7 years ago | (#16327767)

37% is closer to one-third (33.3%) than 27% is. In fact, 27% is closer to one-fourth than it is to one-third. Trying to skew the perception of the numbers?

Re:Only one thing to point out... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16327851)

At first I thought you were whoring karma... but you're right... it makes far more sense to say ''About one-quarter (27 percent)...''

Re:Only one thing to point out... (1)

jizziknight (976750) | more than 7 years ago | (#16327919)

Aye, you're right. And I thought the same thing as I was quoting that bit of TFA. I'm glad someone else noticed.

Ah this old chestnut again (1)

cliffski (65094) | more than 7 years ago | (#16328351)

Every month (or less) another company puts out one of these hilarious *studies* that tells us that "actually, gamers really love advertising in games, they think its cool". Its always nothing more than manipulative bullshit to pimp the stock price of the game-ads companies, and sucker more publishers into stuffing their games full of burger king billboards.

Gamers might think that these are simple deals when you get some money towards dev costs in exchange for the odd billboard. this is NOT the case. I've worked directly on this stuff in a previous job.
The advertisers pay BIG money, just to have their billboards in a game, but they are NOT happy to be silent partners. Those same advertisers have very strong views on where those ads are placed, whether or not there is any way to skip them, and what content goes in the games alongside their ad. They are also keen to have a say in the game design, even putting forward their own game design ideas on how their 'product' can be better integrated into the game.

When I'm at the cinema I see people laughing at those motorola ads with the marketing guys coming up with stupid ideas to ruin films with mobile phone ads. The thing is, I've seen those kinds of people behave EXACTLY like that in the games biz. Those ads arent comedy, their a fucking documentary. Games with ads in have often had to make serious compromises in content, design and gameplay to fit in with the advertisers demands.
Gamers need to vote with their feet. Do not buy games with ads in.

e-Sports (1)

aeth0r (1004923) | more than 7 years ago | (#16328589)

Dynamic in-game advertising for competitive multi-player games is a must imo. Especially for regional tournaments in smaller countries (such as mine, NZ) who often already struggle to provide decent incentive (prize money..) for gamers to take leave from work and spend money on travel etc.

Re:e-Sports (1)

Homology (639438) | more than 7 years ago | (#16328807)

Re:e-Sports (1)

aeth0r (1004923) | more than 7 years ago | (#16329121)

Yea I read his comment already but I consider his points more relevant to the single player/casual gamer market then competitive games/gamer market. Simply because the requirements for competitive games is to maintain balanced gameplay and preferably excellent gameplay mechanics.. So advertising 9ideally) would not be allowed to affect these elemnts adversly. You know, in order to offer a "competitive" playing field ;)

I think the distinction of both markets is important because from a casual gamers perspective I can see absolutely that in-game advertising has very little to offer unless it lends itself to a more immeresive environment.

Escapism vs Competition, perhaps.

statistics (1)

nEoN nOoDlE (27594) | more than 7 years ago | (#16328889)

'Thirty-seven percent of heavy gamers ... agreed that featuring actual products or companies in games make the games feel more realistic. About one-third (27 percent) of medium gamers ... agreed that in-game ads can add to a game's realism.' Of course, we've all seen instances where ads make the game less realistic."

37 percent and 27 percent aren't high percentages. More than 60 percent of gamers don't think that real ads make a game more realistic, but the way the numbers were stated in the write-up made it seem like a large portion of gamers want real ads in their games.

Be realistic (1)

taureanx (613910) | more than 7 years ago | (#16329181)

I'm not sure what most people think of when they consider in-game advertising, but there are already plenty of places in games where it can go and would probably only add to them. FPS games where you're wandering through a building, or outside in a city, doesn't it seem weird to not see the media blitz you're used to in the real world? I often think city scenes turn out very plain and unrealistic due to this. Often game companies make up advertisements to put in billboards or posters, etc.. this would just be making better use of those spaces. Who cares if you see a bunch of movie posters for actual upcoming or currently showing movies when you're about to kill some zombies in the theatre? Or advertisements for Pepsi/Coke/etc behind the counter of a concession stand? I'll only be annoyed when I see this sort of thing in fantasy settings or if it gets out of hand... it can easily be done "the right way".

How to make ads work better (1)

CaptCommy (872383) | more than 7 years ago | (#16329223)

The biggest problem I've ever had with ads in games is repetition. After seeing the same ad for the same product about 15,000,000,000 times in one level, I start to really get sick of it. But if you can get a bunch of different brands and such involved, it becomes a LOT more bearable IMO

Advertising spoils the atmosphere (1)

Somebody Is Using My (985418) | more than 7 years ago | (#16329517)

I know a lot of people here have argued that advertising in games makes the game feel more realistic, but even if it does, it still spoils my enjoyment of the game. I'll agree that to create a faithful depiction of "real life", the game should have advertising; after all, you can't walk 100' (30.48m for you metric folk :-) in the real world without bumping into some sort of advertising.

But every time I see advertising in a game, it pulls me out of the experience because I know that billboard/spray-on/conveniently-placed logo/whatever was purposely placed their by marketing executives. The thought that crosses through my head is not "Oh, an ad! Just like in real life!" but instead, "I'm being advertised to". I am immediately reminded that I am not racing in the Indy500/fighting terrorists/whatever, but instead am playing a game. It completely spoils the atmosphere and mood. It doesn't make things feel more realistic because the real world -the marketing shills- forcibly drag me out of the fantasy of the game.

Worse, because games only have a limited number of advertising pieces, they re-use those over and over again. Drive down the highway in real-life and you'll see a tremendous variety of billboards advertising dozens or hundreds of different products. In a game, you'll see the same twenty products repeated over and over again. And you won't have competing products, either; if a designer puts in a Pepsi machine in the game as product placement, then you sure as heck aren't going to see a Coca Cola machine stuck right next to it. The ad execs limit you to their own fantasy world where the only choice of products is the one they give you (that is to say, no choice at all). How does this make games anymore real, again?

I suppose if all you are interested in is the challenge of a game, then maybe advertising won't bother you much. But I'm more interested in story, character, and atmosphere than twitch gaming, else I'd still be playing PacMan. Advertising does not aid in any of this.

I have the same problem with product placement in movies and television (so much so that I can't watch either, anymore, though I don't consider that much of a loss). But so far games have remained (largely) advertising free and, because of this, have remained enjoyable pasttimes to me. Put in ads, and you're less likely to get my money.

The last time this idea was brought up on Slashdot, somebody posted an interesting article on the subject. Sadly, I don't remember the URL but it did ask one thing which I thought was worth repeating: rather than accept that games such take on ads to nominally become "more realistic", why aren't we striving to make our real-lfe world more like games in this regard, e.g., bereft of the advertising we all despise?

Re:Advertising spoils the atmosphere (1)

taureanx (613910) | more than 7 years ago | (#16330941)

I find it hilarious that you used the Indy 500 as a basis for your argument. Advertising already occurs heavily in games of that genre, like Codemasters IndyCar Series [] . It is apparently so seamless that someone who feels so strongly against the concept doesn't even realize it. Did you feel strangely compelled to drink a delicious Red Bull once you finished playing?

Re:Advertising spoils the atmosphere (1)

grumbel (592662) | more than 7 years ago | (#16333421)

And you won't have competing products, either; if a designer puts in a Pepsi machine in the game as product placement, then you sure as heck aren't going to see a Coca Cola machine stuck right next to it.

That is true today because games are shipped on DVD and have static content, but the next generation of consoles will all be online capable, thus things might change quite a bit. Advertising would no longer be limited to a few sponsors, but the advertising space would become something dynamic where everybody could add there advertisment on each start of the game, the new ads could be downloaded and placed directly into the game.

Re:Advertising spoils the atmosphere (1)

d3ac0n (715594) | more than 7 years ago | (#16335215)

"Somebody is Using My" is correct.

There are such a small number of games where advertising could be added in in a seamless way. We have pretty much named them all here already; Sports games, and FPS games that take place in the 20th century in an urban setting. That is IT. Sci-fi games, either MMO, RPG, or FPS won't work with ads, Fantasy games same thing. Any FPS game taking place ANYWHERE other than a modern day urban setting will look odd and out of place with ads in it. To be honest, even the games where ads stand the best chance of working STILL don't work because of the advertisers meddling with the developers' vision.

The worst part is, and what nobody is touching on yet, are the long term effects of allowing adverts in gaming. Gaming isn't like T.V. where the type of show doesn't matter to advertisers, because they can put commercials in every 10-15 minutes regardless. Since you can't do that with games, they HAVE TO pick games where the ads will "work" with the game. Games that get the reputation for being jarring, out-of-place ad fests won't sell. Thusly, the ad money will only go to games where ads can be integrated in as seamlessly as possible.

What is going to happen over time is the migration of talent and design emphasis to areas that make the most money. Let's face it, if "large gaming company A" consistently sees more profits in ad-supported games, where do you think they will be focusing all thier development attention? Over the long term we are going to see a reduction in the type of games that don't work well with the advert-supported model. Basically we will end up with no more WOWs, no more Oblivions, no more Half-lifes, no more Command and Conquers, no more of ANY OTHER kind of game EXCEPT those that work well within the Ad-Supported universe. Gaming companies will simply be unwilling to take a risk on a game they know they won't be able to reliably make advert money off of.

So enjoy your unique and creative games while they last, because the brave new world of "Walmart's Super Motocross Racing" is on the way.

Re:Advertising spoils the atmosphere (1)

twistedsymphony (956982) | more than 7 years ago | (#16335773)

Advertising CAN work in a Sci-Fi setting... Some movies have shown that like Minority Report, and I-Robot... The most difficult setting I think would be fantasy, trying to work modern product ads in would just be campy and probably ruin any serious moods the game was attempting to portray.

But I think ads COULD work beyond just 20th century scenarios, certainly products exist in nearly every form of human life and advertising has probably been around as long as products have. I agree that some games it would be difficult to make use of product placement; for instance I can't see how it would work in games like Oblivion, WoW, or Spore. But there are more Scenarios where I think it COULD work heck I could even see Mario wearing Carhearts or Sonic putting on some Nikes, maybe that new ship in EVE is made by Cadillac.

I think for other game types, like Oblivion or Wow, advertisers would have to stick to sponcership... for instance maybe there's an expansion pack that is "sponsored" by Burger King and you get it for half cost by looking at a "brought to you by" still frame when the game loads up.

I think if developers are making a game worth playing the first place, they're also bright enough to limit advertising to what's appropriate. It's a touchy subject and traditional advertising rules do not always apply. I think the best course for gamers is to accept that advertising is coming to the gaming world and the best thing to do is pay attention to reviews/previews and avoid titles where the adverts cross the line.

if you don't think that's bad (1)

Wizzerd911 (1003980) | more than 7 years ago | (#16330377)

In case you're one of those people that claims to not mind in game advertising, you have to think about the natural course of evolution for it. Anyone can write an always on top program that's just a big rectangle that covers annoying, distracting ad banners or hack a game so advertising skins don't load on 3D objects but picture this: you log on to WoW and start walking around and suddenly a strange looking character runs up to you with a Radio Shack logo on him saying "Can I help you find something?!" and then following you around until you log out.'re against in game advertising now aren't ya?

Oh the irony (1)

AmiMoJo (196126) | more than 7 years ago | (#16334285)

Does it seem strange to anyone else that Burger King, a company selling unhealthy fast-food burgers, should be sponsoring a sports game? Okay, boxing is a rather strange sport but you do need to be fit...

Maybe mechanically recovered head-meat from steriod enhanced cows fed on bits of other cows is actually really good for you?

Re:Oh the irony (1)

Aladrin (926209) | more than 7 years ago | (#16334515)

Why, do you expect they wouldn't sponsor that sport in real life if it was cheap enough? Of course they would. There's simply other sponsors willing to pay more in real life.

The target audience is what matters, not the subject matter. Do you think real boxers often stop and pick up a gamepad and play Mike Tyson's Punchout? I doubt it. Advertising boxing gear in the game doesn't make sense, because the audience isn't there. The entire audience for this game is ... gamers! Wow! And amazingly, gamers eat food. And often eat fast food. Seems like a perfect match.

Re:Oh the irony (1)

tomgeller (1010795) | more than 7 years ago | (#16354541)

LOL, burger king should sponser herself and not sport events

Easy (1)

KlausBreuer (105581) | more than 7 years ago | (#16335027)

"Much more than 'free goodies,' the level of the interaction between Adidas and EA Sports has helped to create a dynamic and unique gaming experience,"

Look, whoever buys these EA Sports games obviously are not in a very high league. They do not care about adverts. They watch TV, lots of it, with adverts in it. They wear t-shirts with advertising on it. Their shoes have company logos (more advertising!) on their side.
To them, (freely) advertising a large sports company means that they appear sporty - which most of them badly require.

Pfff. So which one of us cares about advertising in EA Sport games? Nobody with enough brains.
Thus adding advertising to this is actually a good idea - the people buying this trash will actually see the ads as A Good Thing.

It takes 5ive (1)

malf-uk (456583) | more than 7 years ago | (#16336485)

what the heck does fiveive mean?
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