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In Game Ads May Just Not Work

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the hard-to-tell-when-you're-going-a-hundred-mph dept.

Businesses 119

GigaGamez is reporting that the humorously-named Bunnyfoot research company (which specializes in behavior studies), has found that in-game ads just don't work. Some games which featured semi-stationary areas (like NBA Live) ended up with ads sticking in the minds of players. Games like Project Gotham Racing 3 ended up with the players having a 0% retention rate for ads that whizzed past. From the press release: "These results demonstrate a significantly poor level of engagement with consumers and exposed an apparent weakness within games to efficiently capture consumer attention. Despite following the model of real world sports advertising, current methods are not optimizing consumer engagement and are failing to influence the consumer in any significant way, the key driver for any marketing campaign and its validation. 'These results reflect the industry's concern relating to brand value and return on investment. Understanding consumer interaction at a deeper level of analysis allows us to measure the value of advertising investment' said Alison Walton, Head of Visual Engagement."

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119 comments

Who would have thought... (4, Insightful)

Bin_jammin (684517) | more than 7 years ago | (#17335188)

that the marketing geniuses would be so at odds with the players of games. Finally the data is in, you're playing a game, and you want to go around in a car, or run around and shoot people or play a sport or whatever. You don't want to think about a new pair of sneakers or getting a sandwich. You bought the game to play it, not to solicit advertising for upgrades to your lifestyle.

Re:Who would have thought... (2, Insightful)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 7 years ago | (#17336028)

Finally the data is in, you're playing a game, and you want to go around in a car, or run around and shoot people or play a sport or whatever. You don't want to think about a new pair of sneakers or getting a sandwich.
All you've really said is that the advertising guys were stupid to insert ads into unsuitable games.

The Sims is a perfect example of a game where advertising works, because you are thinking about a new pair of sneakers or getting a sandwich. There is room for advertising in-game and I would have thought it's fairly "no duh" that it won't work everywhere.

Re:Who would have thought... (4, Insightful)

pla (258480) | more than 7 years ago | (#17336418)

There is room for advertising in-game

No. Not even a little.

As long as I PAY FOR the goddamned game, the advertisers will accomplish nothing but pissing me off by trying to advertise to me in-game.

When they start giving the games away, my opinion on the matter may change (though if my stance on ad-funded television means anything, I just won't play those games). But I do not pay to watch ads.


Pay up front, or watch ads. Make me do both, and you've lost a customer.

Re:Who would have thought... (4, Insightful)

SatanicPuppy (611928) | more than 7 years ago | (#17336716)

You're missing the whole point of advertising.

It's not to make you go out and buy something, because that depends on a whole host of factors that they know damn well they can't control. Are you hungry? Do you even need shoes? Do you own an HDTV? They know that, for the most part, and delivery food ads are the exception here, you're not going to drop what you're doing and lunge out to buy their product.

What they want is to build up and reinforce this idea in your head, so that when you do need shoes or an HDtv or something, and you go to the store, you have a positive bias toward their product because it seems "familiar" to you. So it made sense for them to put ads in games, because they believed that you would subconsciously notice the ad and that subconscious recognition would reinforce that positive bias.

What seems to be happening however, and what they didn't count on, is that the games require so much focus that you're not aware of the ad, even on a subconscious level, so they're getting crap return for their advertising dollar.

Re:Who would have thought... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17338804)

Web advertisers seem to have forgotten this. All their pricing is based on the viewer immediately clicking their link. If you don't want *Product* RIGHT NOW, then the ad is worthless. Maybe they should be using all their evil tracking cookies to see if you ever come back to their site hours/days/weeks after viewing the ad.

Re:Who would have thought... (4, Insightful)

xappax (876447) | more than 7 years ago | (#17337578)

But I do not pay to watch ads.

Do you pay to watch movies? Do you pay for cable/satellite TV? Hell, have you ever paid for a newspaper or magazine?

If you do any of these things, you do indeed pay to watch ads. Wherever there is concentrated public attention combined with greed, advertising will find a way. Movies include ads both at the beginning, and included throughout the feature in the form of product placement. Some movies are even produced so cynically that the entire film can even be thought of as an ad for a product line primarily, and a film secondarily (Spiderman, for example).

Pay-TV does the same thing. While you may not be exposed to "after these messages"-type ads, there are definitely large amounts of advertising dollars and interests having their way with your HBO Original Series. What brand of cars do they drive? Why do Cisco-brand routers happen to save the day from the hacker attack?

Advertising does not always come in the form of 30-second TV spots or banner ads. Much of the most valuable advertising is subtle enough that it usually isn't identified as advertising. A glowing product review on a web site, a movie star seen using a certain brand of cell phone, a story on your local news station about a new video game system...

Re:Who would have thought... (3, Insightful)

Total_Wimp (564548) | more than 7 years ago | (#17336426)

Movies are sometimes dinged for product placement. Sometimes this is justified, but other times the product placements are necessary. Do you really want to see characters drinking a generic soda or beer? how about driving through San Francisco and seeing fake billboards on the freeway? In some cases it can be funny, but if it's a realistic police drama, it would just pull you out of your suspension of disbelief.

As some games get more realistic and they try ever harder to portray a true-to-life atmosphere, they need to include more elements of the real world. If fake ads or no ads work better for your game, like in Duke Nukem, then terrific. But if you're trying to portray a realistic view of many major cities, like many driving games do, or you're trying to portray the realistic environment of a pro sports stadium, real advertising on real billboards is going to be crucial to the atmosphere. I personally never played the GTA games, but my guess is the same goes there.

Gratuitous advertising where the game creator just wants to rake in a few bucks is another story. Unless the game is ad-supported, like the US Army game which is completely free, but is essentially an infomercial for the Army, I see it as double-dipping the consumer. It would be like HBO all of a sudden putting ads in The Sopranos. It angers me that the game manufacturer would charge $60 for entertainment, but then put content in the game that is not only not entertaining, but actually annoying. It's like a friend inviting you to dinner and then pushing Amway. It's disrespectful.

I hated it when BF2 made me click through ads for expansion packs to get to the game. Yeah, I get the "informative" argument, but does that justify the ad showing up every time I play, adding one more step to an already tedious start-up procedure? It doesn't add atmosphere, it doesn't increase my enjoyment of the game, and BF2 costs the same as any other popular game so I'm not getting a break on the price. Furthermore, I had no clue when I purchased the game that this would be the case. When I watch broadcast TV or pick up a paper, at least I know ahead of time what the rules of the road are going to be. Here it was just a grab on my time.

As I mentioned before, it's all about respect. If the game manufacturers respect us, then they'll put ads where it's important for atmosphere and they'll avoid them where it's not. If they continue to try to annoy us and then continue to try to justify lining they're pockets by whining, "but games are so expensive to make!" I say fucke 'em.

TW

Re:Who would have thought... (1)

Itchyeyes (908311) | more than 7 years ago | (#17337010)

Product placement does have its place in some cases. The problem though, is that a product is usually placed at the exclusion of other products. Instead of getting a generic soda, you get a world where Pepsi is the only thing people drink, or Fords are the only cars anyone drives, or every billboard is for the exact same product. To me, these things detract from the experience just as much as the situation where all products are generic. I think there's a balance to be struck there. For instance, have a variety of different drinks in the game/movie but make only one of those brands a placed product.

Re:Who would have thought... (1)

Total_Wimp (564548) | more than 7 years ago | (#17337412)

You make an excellent point. I've seen TV shows where all the people, good, bad and otherwise, drive cars from the same manufacturer. To make matters worse, everyone drives this year's model. It's a little more subtle than advertising, but not much.

TW

Re:Who would have thought... (1)

readin (838620) | more than 7 years ago | (#17337554)

or you're trying to portray the realistic environment of a pro sports stadium, real advertising on real billboards is going to be crucial to the atmosphere.

For me, one of the major benefits of playing a sports game on the computer rather than watching it on TV or going to the stadium is that I don't have to put up with the advertisements. I mean, do people really want a realistic environment when they play sports games? How many people stop playing for 3 minutes every so often to go watch an advertisement on youtube? How many people, get up to go to the bathroom and wait at the door for 20 minutes to simulate the line they would stand in at the stadium? How many people order hot dogs and pay the delivery guy an extra $5 to simulate prices at the stadium? If people don't want to have other negatives of the stadium experience, why would anyone expect us to have the advertising of the real stadium? When I finish playing a sports game, I don't go sit in my car for 3 hours to experience a realistic environment of the trip home!

Re:Who would have thought... (1)

blugu64 (633729) | more than 7 years ago | (#17338396)

"How many people order hot dogs and pay the delivery guy an extra $5 to simulate prices at the stadium? "

Please tell me where I can order delivery franks. That would be just too awesome for words.

Re:Who would have thought... (1)

Total_Wimp (564548) | more than 7 years ago | (#17338890)

" I mean, do people really want a realistic environment when they play sports games? "

Your hot dog and bathroom examples notwithstanding, people do appear to be asking for a more realistic environment. I was kinda surprised to see real players' faces in next-gen football, basketball and boxing games, but people seem to be snapping them up.

"If people don't want to have other negatives of the stadium experience, why would anyone expect us to have the advertising of the real stadium?"

I really don't agree with your apparent assertion that advertising is fundamentally negative. In some cases it's actually funny or otherwise interesting. In others, it's simply innocuous. I tend to put stadium advertising in the second category. If I were playing a sports game, I think I'd enjoy the immersion of being in an environment as indistinguishable from the real place as possible. You're right, I wouldn't want that much realism in the restroom or at the snack bar, but I've never actually played a game that offered those experiences so I suspect they won't be a problem.

TW

Re:Who would have thought... (1)

HalAtWork (926717) | more than 7 years ago | (#17338848)

Do you really want to see characters drinking a generic soda or beer? how about driving through San Francisco and seeing fake billboards on the freeway?

I think it's great when they show generic things. Often times you see a derivative of a real-life product and notice nothing out of place, but at least if you DO notice it, you don't feel distracted by the idea of someone trying to influence you and you don't just get distracted by seeing the product prominently placed, it just blends into the background. Sometimes they put thought into it and parody the product or have an insightful tongue-in-cheek joke about it, and it's something extra for Tivo or DVD owners to see when they pause it to check things out.

if it's a realistic police drama, it would just pull you out of your suspension of disbelief.

So would it if I saw a real product prominently placed, I'd just think "Man this is just an ad for ____" and get pissed off, distracting me from the story and realism. I'd honestly rather have very good fakes than the actual article, because then they just concentrate on where to place it or how many times they can show it to you or have the camera pan across it.

Re:Who would have thought... (2, Funny)

Professor_UNIX (867045) | more than 7 years ago | (#17336462)

There is room for advertising in-game and I would have thought it's fairly "no duh" that it won't work everywhere.
Well, advertisers aren't stupid obviously. They're not going to go insert advertisements into some first person shooter game.. that would just be silly. Imagine if you had a game like Battlefield 2 and you were running around and there were billboards for Coca Cola in the middle of the desert. How stupid would that be?

Re:Who would have thought... (1)

rujholla (823296) | more than 7 years ago | (#17336874)

They're not going to go insert advertisements into some first person shooter game.. that would just be silly.

I don't know if you were just poking fun at the Subway add in HL with that comment or not. But, I think if done right adds in a game could work. What if you are wandering through some french town seeing an old style add for Coca-Cola with a french theme painted on the side of a bldg with maybe a few holes knocked into it might be realistic enough that it would make some people think of grabbing a coke after the current game. Or if you were in some futuristic shooter ala Halo and a Mountain Dew Video clip was in a city area somewhere would probably fit in. I guess I wouldn't mind advertising in a game if it fit the theme of the game.

However, themed adds wouldn't work for every game but other things might. If Gehenas in WOW as he died sighed "Finally its Miller Time." I don't know if that would be funny/silly enough to work or just annoying. I might be willing to put up with some advertising if it would drop the monthly fee.

Re:Who would have thought... (5, Insightful)

Shaper_pmp (825142) | more than 7 years ago | (#17336298)

Exactly. When you watch TV you're passively receptive, so advertising works because you're already passive and receptive to being "told" messages and instructions - what's coming out of the TV is the object of the exercise

Computer games and the web are much more active, intellectual media - you're constantly deciding where you want to go and what you want to do, and a large part of successful game playing/web browsing consists of quickly and efficiently identifying the useful information presented to you, isolating it from the irrelevant information and ignoring the rest - the computer game or website is a method to achieve the object of the exercise, not the object of the exercise itself. And (as we all know), anything that interrupts you in your pursuit of an aim doesn't persuade you so much as irritate the living shit out of you.

TV advertising is aimed at people who are sitting there waiting to be told things.

In-game and online advertising is aimed at people who already know exactly where they want to go and what they want to do, and unless it's an essential part of their activity your advertising can and will be ignored and discarded as fast as the user can humanly process it.

Re:Who would have thought... (1)

Fozzyuw (950608) | more than 7 years ago | (#17336964)

Computer games and the web are much more active, intellectual media

I wouldn't classify the web as being intellectual. hehe I've killed more brain cells on some sites than all my years of drinking beer. =P

Cheers,
Fozzy

Re:Who would have thought... (1)

rujholla (823296) | more than 7 years ago | (#17337018)

Are you sure?

Didn't those old subliminal adds in movie theaters that got banned that just flashed pictures of coke and popcorn get banned because they were too effective almost like commands.

I think your mind would process out most stuff like you said, but it its something that you might be thinking of anyway, an add in game might trigger something in you even if it is almost immediately processed out. It would have to be done correctly, but ...

Going back to my previous post, if its been a long hot gaming session, if towards the end of the session seing some kind of drink add, even if quickly ignored might make you think man after this game I gotta grab a drink. Or in a game like WOW where a lot of the game is passive and receptive maybe some clever adds might make you think.

I'm not sure if its a good idea, but I think if done correctly, and for the right products, in game adds could be very effective.

Re:Who would have thought... (2, Interesting)

Black Perl (12686) | more than 7 years ago | (#17337736)

It's simpler than that. Ads are for the audience, not the participants in the event. Do you think true-to-life NBA players are going to remember what brand name is on the wall at half-court?

What's amazing is it seems that they haven't yet had that d'oh!!! moment.

Re:Who would have thought... (1)

Lord_Dweomer (648696) | more than 7 years ago | (#17336436)

You don't want to think about a new pair of sneakers or getting a sandwich. You bought the game to play it

And thats just the thing. Of COURSE traditional sports advertising didn't work! They were measuring the wrong targets response. I wonder how effective ads in a stadium are for the pro athletes since that would be the accurate comparison. Here's a hint to marketers...when we're focusing on playing the game, we ignore passive ads on the sidelines and billboards. If you make your ads more intrusive to counter this, we won't buy your game.

Re:Who would have thought... (2, Interesting)

xappax (876447) | more than 7 years ago | (#17338820)

The most interesting thing about advertising is that it's become so ubiquitous that even the people it's targeted at don't realize they're seeing it. People filter ads out all the time, ignoring them in order to pay attention to the information that's interesting to them at the time. People look past billboards, flip past ads in magazines, turn to have a conversation during TV commercials - we tend to ignore ads, but they leave an impression on us anyway.

The human brain is a very powerful pattern recognition device, and when we see things that fit into a pattern, for example the same logo in many places, our brain notes that, even if we don't intellectually take interest in it.

Much of modern advertisement is about this, which is why logos have become so much more important than the message of advertisement. A logo is a compressed, subliminally accessible image that people can't help but notice. If people see the same image, or hear the same slogan or jingle enough times, it becomes familiar. Familiarity offers a huge bonus to the marketing of a product. Even if the consumer has never tried it, s/he feels a slight level of familiarity with it, and so is likely to trust it more than the competition.

I don't mean to seem like a raving tin-foil-hat-wearer, but people who do in-depth media studies will tell you that the public's belief about the effect advertising has on them is /way/ different from the effect that it actually has, observable through actual market research. Most people's actions are very much influenced by an advertising environment that we cannot even identify.

Re:Who would have thought... (1)

Fozzyuw (950608) | more than 7 years ago | (#17337362)

You don't want to think about a new pair of sneakers or getting a sandwich.

I don't want to think about buying sneakers or eating a sandwich, no matter what I'm doing. People don't watch TV because they're hungry or they want to go shopping (exception might be the Super Bowl ads and the Home Shopping channel). They don't drive their cars to look at billboards (unless there's something news worth [blogs.com] about one). And they don't go to the cinema to sit through 20 mins of ads (though, I love seeing the pre-views). Yet, advertisements are there (often times undesirably so, just ask any European who watches a TV show in the U.S. how annoying ads are).

You bought the game to play it, not to solicit advertising for upgrades to your lifestyle.

I paid for cable to watch TV, not watch ads. I paid my $10 for a movie ticket to see a film, not watch ads. I pay my taxes and toll fees to drive on good roads, not watch ads. Yet, they're there. Why? Because there's an audience. Part of what I got from this article was that advertisers realize that ads are not effective in some (if not most) games, not just that gamers didn't want ads. Ads will become common in games soon, in one way or another. WoW is already doing marketing tie-ins for some time, through their website with Nvida and other companies. They're running Coka-Cola TV ads and cross-promotion in Asia.

A lot of this 'games in Ads' is just FUD. You're not going to see Pepsi billboard in your Lord of the Rings game, and your not have to eat a Domino's pizza to regain your life points in Half-Life 2. (though, companies have made their own video games, and continue to do so, look at Burger Kings mascots games [gamespot.com])

What you will see are Nike ads in NBA 2k8, or maybe some kind of half-time "Ford Motor Company Quarterback Challenge" mini game in the next Madden. Whats FUD is to not realize that game developers are still the ones who are making games and not marketing people. If a company is going to pay to put an ad in a game, first, the marketing department is going to make sure there is a good potential ROI for spending that money on an ad. Second, the game developer is going to make sure that promotion will and can be fit into the game without destroying the game play or story or whatever. What you'll see are littered Dr Pepper cans in the streets of Resident Evil. Or maybe you bust down a door in some 'COPS' game to find the bad guys scarfing Pizza Hut pizza (or hey, maybe it's not delivery, it's Di-Gorno's!).

Ads are not necessarily a bad thing. In fact, they can be a good thing! They can make a game feel even more 'realistic', a common mantra of many gamers desire. It's ultimately going to be up to the game developers choice to how to implement ads. I can tell you, ad revenue will not be enough to compensate a crappy game and it won't sell a game, and that's the primary purpose of a game company, to sell games.

Now... I'll be waiting for the companies listed above to send me some money for all the advertisement I just gave them. =P

Cheers,
Fozzy

Make the ads a game themselves! (1)

halsver (885120) | more than 7 years ago | (#17335200)

You want to engage the consumer right? What consumer are we talking about!? A Gamer! Make finding an ad in a game like a secret area of a stage, which is equiped with its own special bonus! Or how about minigames on loadscreens that involve a product or logo? The real problem with in-game ads is trying to get marketing employees to do something creative in a nerd enclave like the gaming realm.

Re:Make the ads a game themselves! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17335262)

This has already been done. Remember "Cool Spot," which was basically a platformer for Virgin drinks, and there was this Nickelodeon game on the Genesis where the player had to collect bonuses which were basically Mac Donalds logos... Nothing new under the sun, really...

Re:Make the ads a game themselves! (1)

Mr2001 (90979) | more than 7 years ago | (#17335414)

This has already been done. Remember "Cool Spot," which was basically a platformer for Virgin drinks
Virgin was the company that made the game; the drink was 7-Up.

The great thing about Cool Spot was it was a really fun game, with solid gameplay and production values, even though it was centered around the 7-Up brand and mascot. I don't know how well it actually worked as an advertisement, but it's still among my favorite Genesis games. But meanwhile, who remembers Mick and Mack? If you take a crappy game and slap some brand logos on it, you'll just be forgotten, or ridiculed at best.

Re:Make the ads a game themselves! (1)

WormholeFiend (674934) | more than 7 years ago | (#17336756)

I don't know how well it actually worked as an advertisement, but it's still among my favorite Genesis games.

It sure worked on YOU! ;)

Re:Make the ads a game themselves! (4, Insightful)

The Evil Couch (621105) | more than 7 years ago | (#17335290)

No, screw marketing gimmicks. The way is to bring compelling games that focus on a product or brand. Like the old 7up spot games. Hell, Burger King just did it. Selling for 4 bucks a pop, their Xbox games are actually pretty decent and are selling like hotcakes.

Actually, considering how crappy Burger King breakfast is, they're probably outselling hotcakes by a wide margin.

Ads and games are not new at all. (1)

palad1 (571416) | more than 7 years ago | (#17335844)

IIRC the amiga game Zool [wikipedia.org] was sponsored by Chupa Chupps, having the first levels 'candy-themed' and it worked nicely.

Supercars II (top-view driving sim with homing missiles) was also sponsored... by a local driving school in the UK :)

It was obvious then that these ads had about 0 impact on the player, it should still be obvious now.

Re:Ads and games are not new at all. (1)

silentounce (1004459) | more than 7 years ago | (#17336372)

What are you talking about? Ever since I played that game I can't get enough Chupa Chupps. They're all I've thought about for the past 20 years.
 
What you gon' do with all that junk?
All that junk inside your trunk?
I'ma get, get, get, get, you drunk,
Get you love drunk off my Chupp
My Chupp, my Chupp, my Chupp, my Chupp, my Chupp
My Chupp, my Chupp, my Chupp, my lovely Chupa Chupp

Re:Ads and games are not new at all. (4, Interesting)

nelsonal (549144) | more than 7 years ago | (#17336458)

I know Subaru was shocked at how much demand there was for WRXs when they were launched. I think they decided that games like Gran Turismo were responsible for a huge amount of branding. That's the sort of advertising that works in games.

mnb Re:Ads and games are not new at all. (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17338482)

It had nothing to do with the fact most all the major automotive review publications declared it the best engine/transmission/suspension package for the money, and one of the best combos period?

Re:Make the ads a game themselves! (1)

DarkIye (875062) | more than 7 years ago | (#17335350)

They already sort of do that with Flash banner ads. Adblock has long since removed them from my view, and good riddance to them.

Re:Make the ads a game themselves! (2, Interesting)

Mikachu (972457) | more than 7 years ago | (#17335380)

Or even better, have companies create games to help advertise their companies, and release them cheap.

Ever heard of Sneak King [xbox.com]?

what a sad story.. (4, Insightful)

oedneil (871555) | more than 7 years ago | (#17335206)

They don't work for the advertiser? More importantly, they don't work for the consumer. When there's evidence that in-game ads are subsidizing (or cancelling out) my game purchase costs, maybe I won't mind so much. I can't get behind this double-dipping.

Re:what a sad story.. (2, Insightful)

Rob T Firefly (844560) | more than 7 years ago | (#17336358)

Exactly. Burger King's Xbox games are a perfect example of this. People know they're buying a marketing tool, but at $4 it's actually worth it to the players because the games are pretty neat game-wise.

o rly? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17335230)

y rly!

Value of advertising (4, Insightful)

KiloByte (825081) | more than 7 years ago | (#17335246)

Understanding consumer interaction at a deeper level of analysis allows us to measure the value of advertising investment' said Alison Walton, Head of Visual Engagement."
If they say they can measure the value of advertising, why don't they see it's negative? Ads not only push people like us away from the product being marketed, but also cost the consumer twice. Once in the cost of the time/attention wasted trying to avoid them, and a second time in the costs incurred by the marketing department and the ads themselves.

What about, let's say, increasing the quality, or, if that's too hard, reduce the price by exactly the amount wasted on marketing? The price reduction would get you way under the price of competition and thus the company would have the same sales without ads. Same sales, same profits, just with the customer more happy.

On the bright side... (5, Insightful)

mattmacf (901678) | more than 7 years ago | (#17335492)

In my experience, in-game ads haven't been terribly burdensome to look at, and in many cases they blend in reasonably well so as not to detract from the overall experience (TFA mentions NBA Live, where banner ads can even add to the realism as seen on TV). On the bright side, selling advertisements subsidizes the cost of the game for the consumer at the expense of the product being advertised. For those of you feeling smugly superior because you intentionally disregard the ads, congratulations, your game was made cheaper because of them.

Also, if you think about your comment for a moment, the idea that an advertisement costs the consumer twice is illogical. If the advertisements are avoided (and precious brainpower is consumed to NOT buy the product being marketed), the costs incurred by the marketing department AREN'T passed on to the consumer (who doesn't buy the product after all). If the consumer does buy the product, it's unlikely s/he spent a great deal of time avoiding the ad.

Furthermore, I'd like to point out that advertisements aren't inherently good or bad. It's entirely possible that an advertisement made a consumer aware of a product that a producer was producing. It's possible that said consumer now enjoys a greater economic utility per dollar than with whatever alternative s/he was using prior to seeing the advertisement.

Finally, (and I think we /. folk seem to forget this) many people actually prefer the higher priced name brand product to the lesser known generic. Whether it be spiffier packaging, clever marketing, or simply the fact that "everyone else does it," many people make purchasing decisions on more than simply price/performance or whatever similar metric you care to devise. Believe it or not, something as simple as the container a beverage comes in can unconsciously affect the taste. Try serving cheap plastic bottle vodka in a handle of Grey Goose to your friends and see if they can tell the difference. (note: great for college parties!) Bonus points for swapping the good stuff into the plastic bottle and seeing whether its the beverage they prefer, or just the packaging. (For a much better perspective, check out the book Blink [wikipedia.org] by Malcolm Gladwell. The Wikipedia entry doesn't do it justice, but the book is a great read.)

Re:On the bright side... (5, Insightful)

DrSkwid (118965) | more than 7 years ago | (#17335604)

I think you'll find that the price of a game is set by what the market will bear, not the cost of production.
So although the production costs are offset by the advertsing revenue, the saving is not passed directly on to the purchaser. Except to say that the availability of the game is perhaps made possible by the offset in prduction costs.

Advertisers will want to advertise in the the already successful franchise games such as the aforementioned PGR. How much different the game do you think the would be in both polish and price if it carried zero paid for advertising compared to whatever revenue it can generate through in-game ads? I would say zero.

Ergo, in-game advertising is a cost borne by the purchaser by having to experience them, not so bad in PGR but I find them quite annnoying in other games.

Why then is BF2142 still 49.99? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17336060)

In game ads do not come back to the consumer. BF2142 did not lower the cost of their game after putting in ads. That extra income served instead as a second revenue source for the maker of the game. Last I looked BF2142 was still 49.99 retail. It certainly looks like scalping of the consumer to me.

Re:On the bright side... (4, Insightful)

Lord_Dweomer (648696) | more than 7 years ago | (#17336428)

On the bright side, selling advertisements subsidizes the cost of the game for the consumer at the expense of the product being advertised.

Oh, silly me, I'll just ask Valve and EA for some money back from CS:S and BF2142 because since they just stuck ads in there, I should be saving some money right?

Don't be so naive. The companies see it as an additional revenue stream, not as a way to pass on savings to the customers.

Re:On the bright side... (1)

nelsonal (549144) | more than 7 years ago | (#17336476)

Dunno if games will ever get there, but newspaper circulation barely covers the cost of paper and ink, so in that case the savings are very well passed on to the consumer. Even more true with broadcast television.

Re:On the bright side... (1)

ShakaUVM (157947) | more than 7 years ago | (#17336450)

In my experience, in-game ads haven't been terribly burdensome to look at, and in many cases they blend in reasonably well so as not to detract from the overall experience (TFA mentions NBA Live, where banner ads can even add to the realism as seen on TV). On the bright side, selling advertisements subsidizes the cost of the game for the consumer at the expense of the product being advertised. For those of you feeling smugly superior because you intentionally disregard the ads, congratulations, your game was made cheaper because of them.

I don't believe so. I think they just make extra money. They aren't going to charge more or less for a game since they have an advertising stream, unless that stream is *really* significant. Prices are more or less standard across the industry, in fact.

I agree that ads in games like NBA live are pretty fitting, but imagine Cheetos ads in, say, Thief III. Or Britney Spears ads in the alien spaceship in Prey. Some of the in-game ads really are that jarring, and make me want to buy their product never, since they've pissed me off so badly.

Of course, a good technique could thus be running ads for the competing company inside of the games, but maybe that's illegal or something.

Re:Value of advertising-indeed (1)

way2trivial (601132) | more than 7 years ago | (#17336582)

I've seen couple of dozen ads for PS3 and WII lately. (last two weeks)

all things considered, has this paid for advertising garnered them a single sale? will it?

supply & demand are tied right now- and I believe they would be without the advertising..

Until there is one sitting on a shelf unwanted, why pay for airtime?

talk about wasting advertising dollars.

BRB (5, Funny)

PWill (1006147) | more than 7 years ago | (#17335268)

"Oh man, you're so dead. Right in my crosshairs!" "Oh shit!" "OOH! 2 Liter of Mountain Dew only $.50! BRB"

Re:BRB (1)

Aladrin (926209) | more than 7 years ago | (#17336650)

This got modded funny, but I don't think it's so far off the mark... Change it just a bit...

Hunter: "Oh man, you're so dead. Right in my crosshairs!"
Prey: "Oh shit!"
Hunter: "OOH! Mountain Dew... Hmm... After this round, I think I'll go grab one from the fridge." **blam**

The ad DID help increase the 'need' for the product, just like ads are supposed to do. Nobody sees a Mountain Dew ad on TV and immediately rushes to the store for that and only that. They put it on their list and get it later. Or they remember it first when they are shopping for 'soda'. Etc etc.

It doesn't even have to be a major brand. "Cola X... WTF is that?" is the same thing you think when you see an ad for it on TV, and it's what you'd think in-game. And next time you see it for sale, you think "Oh yeah, I saw the ad for that in Game Z." And maybe you buy it, since they obviously had the marketing to pay for an ad campaign.

Advertising isn't a simple thing, and that's why so many don't understand it. Including marketers.

Well, duh. (2, Insightful)

iainl (136759) | more than 7 years ago | (#17335298)

No-one looks at trackside adverts in Gotham, because we're too busy looking at where the road is going, what the other cars are doing and so on.

Real motorsport doesn't just have trackside adverts, but sponsorship on the cars, too. If the rear bumper of the opposition has a big Bosconian logo like in Ridge 6, I'm rather more likely to notice it when trying to get past him.

Re:Well, duh. (1)

quintesse (654840) | more than 7 years ago | (#17335338)

No, because you will still be too busy playing!

Trackside adverts are not there for those driving the cars (like you are doing while playing) but for those people beside the track watching the race.

Those people are not constantly engaged because there are always those moments when you are waiting for the race to start or waiting for the next car to appear. And that's when you have time to look (consciously or not) at the adverts.

Pilots (1)

Wooky_linuxer (685371) | more than 7 years ago | (#17335600)

In a racing game, we are the pilots. I highly doubt real pilots pay any attention to ads either in the track or in their opponents' cars.

Re:Well, duh. (1)

danpsmith (922127) | more than 7 years ago | (#17336674)

Real motorsport doesn't just have trackside adverts, but sponsorship on the cars, too. If the rear bumper of the opposition has a big Bosconian logo like in Ridge 6, I'm rather more likely to notice it when trying to get past him.

Please, please, don't give them any free ideas. I'd rather have them pay for those in marketing research, at least then I can be spared the advertisements that are intrusive and effective for a few years.

I've personally passed my saturation point on advertising and I've become entirely sick of it altogether. It's to the point now where if there were products that simply DIDN'T advertise as a stated goal in their mission, I would purchase those products, even if it cost a little more.

I'm simply sick to death of being accosted by advertising, spam, advertisers for schools disguised as job opportunities, telemarketers, TV commercials with volume higher than the rest of the channel's programming, internet ads, stupid boxes with "BUY NOW" flashing over my webpage when I'm trying to read a fucking article, names on the beginning of college football bowl games, names on the front of stadiums we as taxpayers practically paid for, billboards, viral marketing, junk mail, ads on the front of home movies posted to the web, credit card applications and astroturfing. When you look at the perverse lengths that these companies will go to to further "spread" a brand that's already well-known (I guess to squeeze an extra .0001% out of the market), it just makes you wonder if we'll ever be able to have anything without ads invading ever again. Where the hell can you retreat to when you are simply sick of the advertising? I'd build a cabin in the woods, but they just sold part of the lot to a billboard company, they are gonna use the space to erect a 50' LCD which will flash messages about what to do when you feel that "not so fresh" feeling. Where can someone who is tired of being sold to go nowadays? Is it necessary that they exploit every square inch of real and virtual America with advertising? Ads in video games = me not buying said video game. Can't you keep BK and McDonalds from exploiting every single type of entertainment? We've paid our $60, now leave us alone.

Re:Well, duh. (1)

iainl (136759) | more than 7 years ago | (#17337082)

It's too late for that. I mentioned Bosconian, because it's already on one of the Ridge Racer 6 cars. Gotham is modelling road cars instead of dedicated racing ones, which is why there is no advertising currently on them.

Not that you need any; while they got a 0% recognition for the trackside advertising, I can certainly tell you that the F50 GT I was driving is sold by Ferrari.

Bullshit! (2, Funny)

yoprst (944706) | more than 7 years ago | (#17335312)

They just didn't do it right! Pogo the monkey is just engraved into my brain!

Re:Bullshit! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17337950)

They just didn't do it right! Pogo the monkey is just engraved into my brain!
They didn't do it right because their's wasn't a joke. We respond very well to such satirical humor, not sales pitches. The problem the marketing departments have is that they can't afford use these tactics - you'd never see a real car advertisement like those for the Maibatsu Monstrosity (the one that uses a testimonial by a marketing manager).

Know what? (1, Insightful)

Unknown Poltroon (31628) | more than 7 years ago | (#17335336)

I don't really care about in game ads. They add to the realism of the scenery, at least in most games. Our whole lives are saturated with ads, a few billboards in a game make it more realistic. If the ads are remotely applicable to me, fine. If not, ill just ignore them, like every other ad. Plus, it will backfire, as people spray paint comments on the more annoying ones, and advertisers realize we dont even notice their crappy ads, for the most part.

Re:Know what? (1)

Johann Lau (1040920) | more than 7 years ago | (#17335698)

When you say "not notice", you actually mean "not consciously notice" -> advertisers are perfectly aware of and perfectly happy with that.

Sure About That? (3, Interesting)

FreeRadicalX (899322) | more than 7 years ago | (#17335342)

I don't know, I'd be willing to refute the article's claims. About a month after beating the first Guitar Hero I bought an (effin SWEET) Epiphone Flying-V, which I've been playing 1-2 hours a day since then, even after the release of Guitar Hero 2. I'm not ashamed to say that the inspiration for the purchase was mostly the game (Loading screen: "You may eventually want to consider buying a real guitar"). Not that I didn't have Guitar fantasies to begin with. Maybe I'm just a toolshed.

Re:Sure About That? (1)

PopeJM (956574) | more than 7 years ago | (#17335506)

the same could be said of racing games. But Axe commercials in Ghost Recon? The unintended marketing may make me think the guns in that game are cool (whether I can buy them or not.) same with the helicopters. However, I don't buy a game for someone to obviously try and ensnare me in a web of consumerism that I didn't pay for.

Oh shit, better hope Jack Thompson ain't reading (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17335842)

If a guitar game made you go out and buy a guitar then what the hell will you come home with if you buy say Counter Strike. Would playing X-wing (oldie but are there actually any recent good SW games?) make you go out and see the Phantom Menace?

Even worse. What if you played a bioware RPG and opted for the romance side quest!

A slashdotter on the make. *SHUDDER* It would be the end of the world as we know it. Jack is right, games are dangerous.

Oh but unless guitar hero contained an ad for a specific brand of guitar then it don't count. Just because I took a flying lessons after years off playing flight simulator games does not mean that these games were ads for flight schools.

don't mind them till ... (2, Insightful)

xk0der (1003200) | more than 7 years ago | (#17335412)

I don't mind in-game ads, until they become too intrusive as TV ads are. As for their effect, they might, if they gel with the game and are properly placed. (IMO) Like If (hypothetically) I have to pick a bike in HalfLife or Halo and, I get to choose from some branded ones! :) cheers

Re:don't mind them till ... (1)

Kasis (918962) | more than 7 years ago | (#17335812)

Agreed. I used to enjoy watching TV, now I don't watch it at all because I hate the constant advertising. I would have considered a TIVO type solution but we were still using VHS when I was pushed past my limit. Now I simply obtain my viewing entertainment from other sources.

I was quite content with internet advertising when the ads were just static banners or even bold images. Then they became intrusive, noisy and distracting so now I have an ad-blocking solution which eliminates almost all advertising.

If the same thing happens with games then either the ads will be modded out, or I will stop playing games. I doubt I'm alone.

When I walk through my local town center, people are standing in the street trying to hand me adverts. When I drive I am faced with 40ft billboards covered in advertising, and when I return home I have to wade ankle-deep through a pile of junk mail advertising things I would never even consider buying.

Re:don't mind them till ... (1)

danpsmith (922127) | more than 7 years ago | (#17337784)

I don't mind in-game ads, until they become too intrusive as TV ads are. As for their effect, they might, if they gel with the game and are properly placed. (IMO) Like If (hypothetically) I have to pick a bike in HalfLife or Halo and, I get to choose from some branded ones! :) cheers

Oh, have no doubt, they will eventually become as intrusive as TV. We already have forced advertising on DVDs that you paid for and it's only a matter of time before games become just like that format. The idea is to do a slow grow on you, first hit you with normal and subjective advertising, and then eventually make it more and more intrusive until you don't even realize you are paying for the privilege to be advertised to.

Re:don't mind them till ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17337968)

I don't mind in-game ads, until they become too intrusive as TV ads are. As for their effect, they might, if they gel with the game and are properly placed. (IMO) Like If (hypothetically) I have to pick a bike in HalfLife or Halo and, I get to choose from some branded ones! :) cheers


That's an example of how not to do in-game advertising. It would significantly detract from the immersion if the Master Chief was, say, riding around Halo on a Honda. How did it even get to an alien planet?

I never see ads in games (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17335424)

I have not had a desire to play the newer games out, so I do not see the ads. Most are incomplete and bug-filled. I do not play sportsgames so I do not have the last X many years of Madden.

Most of the games I play are presented in a different time period. Sid Meier's Pirates, Medal of Honor: Spearhead, Battlefield 1942, and Age of Empires/Mythology. These are not games that could have an ad slipped in to make it part of the environment. Exception being the WWII era games, if they used some classic ads from that time period, like maybe a Hershey or Coke sign, naw, it would not work.

Part of the reason I do not buy newer games is because the price has gone up, but the quality has gone down. In addition to a higher price they want to make money off of showing me ads while I play a game. A game I paid money for? Maybe if they put the ad filled games on BitTorrent or something. But if I buy the game at the store and it has ads of this variety in it, they better not expect me to be paying more than 15 bucks, that would be a fair trade to me. Although, I would probably still not buy those games.

Not sure I agree with that... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17335432)

I've been trying to order a bazooka online at ammu-nation.net for ages, but they're always out of stock. I'll try again after christmas.

Would a publisher put ads in a novel? (4, Insightful)

dircha (893383) | more than 7 years ago | (#17335474)

If the publishers really aren't making enough money, they should just charge everyone the extra $1 per unit or whatever it takes, and let the market decide.

Would a book publisher seriously consider adding in some full page adds in the middle of a novel? Of course not, so why do they think they can get away with it games?

I'll happily pay the extra $1-2 per unit for a game that isn't offered at a lower price without ads.

Whereas I will not even consider purchasing a game with ingame ads for real world products.

And I doubt this is a matter of publishers not being able to finance their games and make a reasonable profit. This is a matter of publishers being greedy, and I hope customers will make them pay for their greed by refusing to purchase products in which they introduce this crap.

Re:Would a publisher put ads in a novel? (1)

LegionX (691099) | more than 7 years ago | (#17335710)

"Would a book publisher seriously consider adding in some full page adds in the middle of a novel? Of course not, so why do they think they can get away with it games?"


This is a lame comparison.

Comercial products are *mentioned* in books often (although most writers arent paid for this), and that would be the real comparison.

Pages of ads in a book would be comparable to popups in a racing game, i.e. distraction.

Re:Would a publisher put ads in a novel? (1)

fotbr (855184) | more than 7 years ago | (#17336422)

It may be a lame comparison, but they DID put ads in books, as mentioned elsewhere, usually in the form of tear out cards. In a way, its a better comparison than many -- the ad is there, and its annoying, but with a little effort, it can be removed. In a game, that removal would be considered a 'crack', and given how loosely applied the DMCA is, could result in criminal charges against you if companies really wanted to force the issue.

Re:Would a publisher put ads in a novel? (1)

Sefert (723060) | more than 7 years ago | (#17338626)

They are starting to put product placement in books. In a really bizarre way, Proctor and Gamble are trying to sell tampons to girls by marketing to early teens. They do this by referencing Clinique lipstick (one of their divisions) in the book, and making references to web sites that eventually can redirect them over to their site to push tampons. Talk about obscure.

Here's the link to the article.

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/06/12/business/media/1 2book.html?ex=1307764800en=89d58b622aa65b7dei=5088 partner=rssnytemc=rss [nytimes.com]

Re:Would a publisher put ads in a novel? (4, Informative)

unapersson (38207) | more than 7 years ago | (#17335764)

Would a book publisher seriously consider adding in some full page adds in the middle of a novel? Of course not, so why do they think they can get away with it games?
They certainly used to in paperbacks. Adverts for Menthol cigarettes, Insurance, etc. They were normally in a postcard style page right in the middle of the book with a perforated edge so they could be torn out. They were really annoying to read around. I'm just glad the practise has disappeared.

Re:Would a publisher put ads in a novel? (1)

ben there... (946946) | more than 7 years ago | (#17338196)

Would a book publisher seriously consider adding in some full page adds in the middle of a novel? Of course not, so why do they think they can get away with it games?

The reason they are considering it is because they see "mind share" leaving television and movies for video games, a trend that will likely continue. The advertisers want to place their advertising anywhere that has the most viewers/participants. They are willing to pay game studios money to put the ads in the games, and the game studios have a hard time turning down money.

As long as people increasingly turn to games for entertainment, advertisers still want their ads seen, game studios want extra money, and people don't get overly annoyed by ads to the point of not buying the games, it will continue to get worse.

ads in games (1)

operato (782224) | more than 7 years ago | (#17335550)

it's a pity they don't have a game that simulates traffic jams. we'd be more likely to look at roadside ads if we were stuck in traffic. but then again, that would be one lame game. however, when i've played plenty of fps games i tend to look at the environment around me more often because of the stupid puzzles they put in to break the shooting fest which would become repetitive.

Not the whole story.. depends on the game.... (1)

blahplusplus (757119) | more than 7 years ago | (#17335726)

I know in Need for speed series I remember the stupid burger king and shaving adds, as well with cingular wireless... It DOES work but you have to have a game that fits the context and the focus of attention needs to be paid attention to. You can strategically place adds in high visibility areas and they will get noticed if they stand out or are repeatedly seen over and over again, provided the exposure is long enough.

Of course this study picks the worst games to do it, I would really like to see a study done on Need for speed underground 2, I remember many of the adds in this game. Autozone, Gillette, Burger king, Cingular, etc.

Re:Not the whole story.. depends on the game.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17335906)

Me too, I remember them .. but the impact is still null as there's absolutely no Cingular, Autozone, Burger King around here ...

You know something is wrong when... (1)

El_Muerte_TDS (592157) | more than 7 years ago | (#17335736)

people say advertisements make games more realistic. (or at least you should)
People are starting to get used to something that annoyed them in the first place (making them jump ship).
What's next? ads in your dreams (to make them more realistic?)

To quote Futurama:

Leela: Didn't you have ads in the 20th century?
Fry: Well sure, but not in our dreams. Only on TV and radio. And in magazines. And movies. And at ball games and on buses and milk cartons and t-shirts and written on the sky. But not in dreams. No siree!

Wrong approach (1)

Tom (822) | more than 7 years ago | (#17336000)

These results demonstrate a significantly poor level of engagement with consumers and exposed [...] Understanding consumer interaction at a deeper level of analysis allows us to measure the value of advertising investment
Nope, these results demonstrate a total lack your understanding of a very simple consumer preference: Fuck off and stuff your advertisement where the sun don't shine.

The whole quote is a longwinded marketing-droid newspeak for "we don't yet know how to force ourselves on these people who don't want to see our stuff".

I sincerely hope the piracy scene will rise to the challenge. A few years from now, you will have two jobs: Removing the copy protection and removing the ads.

Explanation is in the excerpt (4, Insightful)

GryMor (88799) | more than 7 years ago | (#17336030)

"Despite following the model of real world sports advertising..."

There is the problem. Sports advertising is targeted at spectators, not athletes. For the most part, games don't HAVE spectators. I don't see how advertising can work when the target is in an active, task oriented, state as oposed to a passive observer state.

Re:Explanation is in the excerpt (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17336644)

Really, that's the problem. Marketing firms should be looking at ways to aim advertising at athletes, as they have significantly greater resources to bring to bear on products. Put a Rolex ad on the basketball. Put a Mercedes ad on the bat. Put a Coke logo on the steering wheel.

And stop bugging the rest of us.

The Path Ahead (0, Troll)

DrunkenTerror (561616) | more than 7 years ago | (#17336152)

As a marketing d00d myself, clearly the message here is that the current models of in-game advertising are not effective enough. My firm is looking to increase the saturation of our in-game ads, and product placement is really taking off. I've been talking to several big names. Let's just say you'll be seeing a lot more of Tony Sinclair [tanqueray.com] as a playable character in a variety of genres. For example, why leave your on-screen message display system unbranded, when instead you could have a simulated Nextel [nextel.com] walkie-talkie on-screen for the whole game, complete with the signature beep sound whenever the player accomplishes a goal? We're also looking at putting watermark logos into the alpha channels of game textures. We've done some focus groups and the subtlety of these watermarks is very good, with a much higher impression rate than with "traditional" subliminal advertising. Really, the sky's the limit these days. Will these new methods be enough to crack the resistance gamers have to advertising? Only time will tell.

Re:The Path Ahead (1)

Sciros (986030) | more than 7 years ago | (#17336892)

Yeah I've been looking at putting ads into sci-fi games in order to increase immersion. Imagine, on GoW's war-ravaged Sera, as you drive a big sunlight-shooting tank through the streets, you get to see billboards of Evan Almighty and Saks Fifth Ave. Will people totally love this stuff and thank me for it? Only time will tell.

Real world ads target spectators, not players (1)

Tech (15191) | more than 7 years ago | (#17336448)

Despite following the model of real world sports advertising, current methods are not optimizing consumer engagement and are failing to influence the consumer in any significant way

That's because real world sports advertising targets the spectators, not the competitors. Spectators have time to look around when the action on the track/field/pitch is slow. Competitors are busy all the time.

"Need For Speed: Spectator Edition" - coming soon to Xbox360, PS3 and Wii (hotdogs sold separately).

the model of real world sports advertising (1)

way2trivial (601132) | more than 7 years ago | (#17336536)

is NOT directed towards the guy with a basketball or steering wheel in his hand, it's directed at the AUDIENCE of the sporting event, who have a little free time to look around..

Advertising for basketball stars? (3, Insightful)

RingDev (879105) | more than 7 years ago | (#17336544)

Despite following the model of real world sports advertising

Ask the players of a NBA game if they can remember what the adds around the bleachers are. That model is designed to advertise to the audience of the game, not the players.

-Rick

Maybe if people got smarter? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17336562)

Maybe if people just quit buying things based on advertising and actually spent half a second researching themselves, we could put marketing out of business and solve one of the worlds ills.

Or, a significant number of morons can continue being led around by a small number of larger morons.

Either way it doesn't matter. No game will grace my computer or tv screen that supports in game ads.

Period.

Is it only a problem in games? (1)

argStyopa (232550) | more than 7 years ago | (#17337186)

I think the only difference between the results they are getting for in-game ads and the results they get for real-life ads is the fact that in game, since we're dealing with a digital avatar the results can be actually MEASURED.

I think most people generally tune out most ads. Their impact is actually zero. It's occasionally possible that IF I'm thinking of buying something and IF the ad is catchy and IF I happen to notice a particularly clever presentation or jingle, it may briefly impinge on my consciousness.

But if someone at a company measured the amount of additional PROFIT gained from the airing of a single multi-million dollar 30 second spot during the superbowl, or even for a multi-hundreds-of-thousands ad campaign in say Time or Newsweek - I seriously doubt that the costs of advertising are justifiable. Do sales perhaps uptick when an ad is on? Sure. But are there really people out there who see a Budweiser beer ad who then decide to go buy a Budweiser because of that ad (importantly: who weren't going to buy a Bud ANYWAY)?? Enough to justify (in terms of actual profit, not sales) the cost of producing and publishing the ad? I sincerely doubt it.

But eliminate the sham value of advertising and a whole host of revenue structures crumble. Professional sports, for example. Hollywood would tremble as well: Volkswagen is planning to spend $200 million in the next 3-5 yrs to place its cars in Universal movies and in TV shows and ads on NBC, Bravo, Sci Fi and USA. According to Yahoo answers, GM makes nothing on a $20k car. So let's assume that Volkswagen is making at least $6k per car. Are those product placement ads going to sell 33,000 MORE cars than they would have sold without the ads? Seriously?

So now, with in-game ads able to measure very nearly perfectly the presentation, eyeball time, attention-grabbability of every nuance of their performance, advertisers are finding it might not be worth it? What a shock.

Of course, there's no accurate way to determine this in real life - something the ad industry is delighted about.

Really (1)

I Like Pudding (323363) | more than 7 years ago | (#17337226)

I fucking hate a world in which this study has to be done. Here is how much I hate marketing: Last night, at the bar, super hot promoter chick comes over to pass out free vodka. I physically recoiled. Yes, I hate marketing more than I love super hot chicks giving me free vodka.

Advertising corrupts. (1)

EWAdams (953502) | more than 7 years ago | (#17337254)

Advertising corrupts. Anybody who sells advertising becomes beholden to the advertisers instead of to their customers. Newspapers, magazines, television -- all put the demands of their advertisers before the needs of the consumer. In-game advertising stinks. It won't be long before the advertisers start demanding changes to the content, just as they do to newspapers.

Why do you think so many newspapers soft-pedal the bad news about global warming, and still have huge sections devoted to buying and driving cars, including gas-guzzling sports cars and SUV's? It's not because the consumer really needs this information. It's because the automobile advertisers demand that they include it.

Years ago Ms. Magazine had to drop all advertising and go to a subscriber-only system. Why? Because Revlon threatened to cancel an ad contract with Ms. because -- get this -- some Russian dissident women had appeared on their cover without any makeup on! These women had been raped by KGB agents and eventually kicked out of their country, but God forbid they should appear in public without any makeup.

In-game ads are the worst trend to hit video games in their entire history.

Eve Online in-game advertisement. (2, Informative)

splutty (43475) | more than 7 years ago | (#17337332)

An example of where advertisement actually adds to the whole gameplay concept and experience is Eve Online.

At all jumpgates there are billboards, and they will show advertisements for in-game corporations (Such as Quafe, who makes energy drinks, strangely enough they buy cigarettes, garbage and assorted minerals...), or list one of the current top5 most wanted people. Inside stations there will be advertisement for the corporation in question all over the place, and even for other corporations as well.

This adds to the whole game, and to the whole atmosphere of play.

Another great example is the stripbar advertisement billboard that comes with certain built outposts, including the picture of a stripper :)

However any 'real world' advertisement in this game would just simply make no sense. And I think there are quite a lot of games where advertisement wouldn't make sense, or just be plain annoying or detracting from the game.

Another example where it does work is in Quake (2?) where the background music was written by Nine Inch Nails (NIN for short), you can get a nailgun as a weapon, and the boxes containing the nails actually have the NIN log on them, that's just brilliant, and in its way an advertisement for the band (Whom I'll visit in March ;)

Just my 2 rambling isk.

Splut.

Re:Eve Online in-game advertisement. (1)

Stormwatch (703920) | more than 7 years ago | (#17338242)

Another example where it does work is in Quake (2?) where the background music was written by Nine Inch Nails (NIN for short)
That was the first one. Quake 2 was mostly by Sonic Mayhem.

Really a question for the writers (1)

thatguywhoiam (524290) | more than 7 years ago | (#17337546)

I am not opposed to appropriately placed ads. That sounds pretty vague but really that's the long and short of it.

I remember once noticing while flipping through channels a few years ago that one of the characters on a sitcom - Friends or some other thing - was drinking a beer, an actual bottled beer. And I thought, wow, it really seems more authentic to see characters doing the sorts of things you would expect.

As another poster very astutely pointed out, this can add realism and authenticity to a game if its trying to mimic the world we live in, but it has to be handled appropriately. This is a job for the writers and (to a lesser extent) the producers. I really would not mind seeing ads for Nike and others in an EA sports game. (not that I play those). You see that in real life so it works.

Writers must decide what is appropriate and what is not. I don't think the ads are inherently good or bad.

One exception to this I could see is an ad-driven subscription model for a modern/futuristic MMOG. Like, think a Shadowrun MMOG that was free monthly if you tolerate ads in the game, or you pay a small fee to disable them. That seems alright.

Marcus Feenix with a Mountain Dew, yeah, not so much. And I have no idea how you would handle it for a historically-set game like Call of Duty: maybe 7Up could generate some old-style ads or something; its much tricker advertising the latest blu-ray player in 12th century Babylon, or whatever.

0% retention (1)

Threni (635302) | more than 7 years ago | (#17337914)

So what? They're not after a good retention rate as measured using this or that test - they're interested in an increase of sales because of the advertising. The best advertising works unconsciously, by associating the idea of happiness, success of fulfilment with their product.
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