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Study Indicates In-Game Ads Actually Work

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the subliminal-videogaming dept.

Games 78

The Next Generation site is running a piece discussing new findings about in-game advertising. The results of collaboration between an ad firm and a research company show that ads in games are actually having an effect on players. Double Fusion's involvement in the study throws the results into question. Take these statistics with a grain of salt: "75% of gamers engage with at least one ad per minute across most, but not all, game types; 81% of gamers engage at least every other minute. Less-cluttered ads are three times as effective at garnering gamer notice than ads that are either cluttered or within cluttered environments. While both contribute positively to ad engagement, placement of the ad in the primary camera plane (eye-level) is more important than large size ads. Not all ads are created equal - dynamic billboards, around-game interstitials, sponsorships, and interactive product placements all offer different levels of user engagement and pervasiveness in the game" Eidos certainly thinks so; Kotaku notes that they've signed up with the same company featured in this study.

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What games did they play? (1)

Hexedian (626557) | more than 7 years ago | (#19963085)

The study doesn't say what games they've played, only that it included racing and sports games, the genres most likely to include ads. FPS, action, RTS or RPG games generally don't have ads, and if they do, they'll be either subtle (A can of branded soda on a table) or rare (Billboards).

That being said, I wonder how effective these ads actually are. Billboards on the road might work, but when you're driving at over 200 kph, you have significantly less time to check the scenery.

Re:What games did they play? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19963847)

What in the world would Never Winter Nights do for an in game add?

For that matter. What will this mean for new games coming out? No more fantasy games because they are hard to integrate adds into? Big publishers requiring game developers to have adds or at least the net code needed to enable in game adds?

NWN Product Placement (2, Funny)

WiseWeasel (92224) | more than 7 years ago | (#19963961)

How about using the Stanley Hammer of Doom to crush your enemies? Don't forget the Craftsman crossbow, or the Maglight Torch of Visibility. You wouldn't think of going into battle without your Tommy Hilfinger battle armor, would you? If only I could find some Aquafina to get my health points up...

Engagement... (5, Interesting)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 7 years ago | (#19963091)

75% of gamers engage with at least one ad per minute across most, but not all, game types; 81% of gamers engage at least every other minute

And it goes on.

So my question: How does this justify calling them "effective"?

I realize that marketing thinks that no PR is bad PR, but in the real world, I'm not convinced. That gamer might be "engaging" with that particular ad by firing rockets at it, "teabagging" it, or otherwise using it to vent their rage at that particular product, or at the very idea of sticking an ad in the middle of a game.

But seriously, I want everyone to go back and think about those "Punch the monkey and win!" web ads from the 90's. Do you even remember what it was an ad for? What about the popups for... some Internet camera? It's certainly not going to make me go out of my way to buy the product. It MAY make me subconsciously more likely to notice the product. But if it ever gets conscious -- if I ever see a physical product, for example, and remember it having something to do with "punch the monkey" -- I'll probably punch the product. Maybe physically -- right there on the supermarket shelf.

In other words -- I strongly suspect the lighter ads are much more likely to be things we'd want to buy. If you create a giant, animated, flashing billboard and stick it in the middle of a medieval dungeon, then no, that's where I take the game back to the store, claim it "wouldn't work on my computer", and ask for my money back.

In another study, parents are more likely to "engage" with children who say "Are we there yet?" every five seconds than children who shut the fuck up and look out the window.

Re:Engagement... (1)

Irish_Samurai (224931) | more than 7 years ago | (#19963659)

In all actuality, you might see certain companies embrace this.

I can honestly say that the "Will It Blend" people would be totally open to sponsoring a game development initiative where one of the bosses was a big blender monster that constantly screamed "WILL YOU BLEND!"

The trick is to advertise in a self depreciating manner. If you know that players might respond negatively to your ads being all over a game, you could easily attempt to have an element of the game be created for purposeful abuse that had your branding all over it. While the traditional marketers would most certainly balk at such a venture - it may not be such a bad idea. If the end results are funny, you can really garner a large amount of benevolent feelings towards your product. If done very well you may actually create a sense of "well, at least these guys get it."

This isn't a direct example, but Red vs. Blue really does criticize the ridiculousness of capture the flag - and people love it.

Re:Engagement... (1)

chrish (4714) | more than 7 years ago | (#19968435)

AW CRAP, it's already taking over my brain. I totally saw "... but Red Bull vs. Blue ..." there.

Re:Engagement... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19964131)

Advertising is "effective" if a potential viewer can recall having seen the ad, or remember the product after seeing it, even if he does not recall the actual ad. If a person becomes aware of a brand or product, an ad is successful, whether or not they buy it.

I must be new here... (1)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 7 years ago | (#19965879)

I thought the whole point of any part of a company is to make money. That's the whole "bottom line" argument, the excuse people like to drag out whenever they want to justify corporations doing truly evil things -- "because it makes money, and a corporation has to make money."

I guess I just don't get how making someone aware of your brand or product makes you any money at all, unless someone buys it. And didn't we learn that lesson from popup ads? Pissing your customers off is generally not a good way to make them want to buy your product, or even give the ad a moment of your attention.

Re:I must be new here... (1)

TuringTest (533084) | more than 7 years ago | (#19966679)

I guess I just don't get how making someone aware of your brand or product makes you any money at all, unless someone buys it.
Because we live more and more in an attention economy [wikipedia.org] , and public awareness makes money all by itself - you can make economic deals with stronger enterprises if your business is "emergent", specially if it sells shares in the stock market.

This "frozen attention" can be capitalized (or monetized) later in a myriad ways, even selling products other than the originally advertised one.

Re:I must be new here... (1)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 7 years ago | (#19972435)

Right, except as I keep saying, I don't see how pissing people off makes them want to buy your product -- or a different one with your brand.

Which means if I was looking to buy an "emergent" business, I'd look for one which both has attention and doesn't annoy people to the point where they boycott my brand.

For example: If you're a geek, would you knowingly buy ANYTHING to do with AOL, if you had any other choice? What about BonziBuddy? Seems to me that putting the AOL brand on anything is guaranteed to get as many people boycotting it as there will be people checking it out. Sony is moving in a similar direction.

I can see how simply making someone aware of a brand might help if they don't immediately buy your product, but presumably the intent is for them to eventually buy something because they saw that ad, or at least to make it seem likely enough that someone else will buy your company -- in the hopes that people will eventually buy something because they saw your ad.

Maybe I'm just unusual, though. I was something like 14 or 15 when Pepsi did those annoying ads with the little Pepsi girl. I deliberately avoided buying Pepsi (though I wasn't smart enough to avoid other drinks made by the same company) for years until I finally decided that Pepsi actually does taste better than Coke.

You wonder why Pepsi still has to advertise, anyway, given that every fast food place has Pepsi or Coke, not to mention the random vending machines all over the place -- it's not like you're going to find anyone who isn't aware of the brand. I would much rather they charge less, or buy better ingredients (Coke tastes so much better in countries where they use real sugar instead of high fructose corn syrup), than see yet another ad that doesn't even have anything to do with soda.

Re:I must be new here... (1)

SirSlud (67381) | more than 7 years ago | (#19978495)

You're giving yourself too much credit for being free of your subconscious. (And by the way, I didn't notice anyone else mention BonziBuddy .. I guess you *did* remember who made those ads.)

You also place a disproportionate amount of focus on ads you were turned off by. Okay, so Pepsi didn't win your vote, but if you're human, an ad has created a positive association in your mind between a brand and an ad you liked.

Branding works. Coke and Pepsi succeed *because* of their advertising, not in spite of it. Repetition improves memory recall. (See BonziBuddy, a brand you hated, you can still remember its name.) Its such basic psychology that its not even really worth discussing.

Branding ads are not meant to educate consumers. They are meant to bang a brand home via repetition, and in many cases, associate a lifestyle or a cultural association you identify with to a brand.

And hey, you and me both remember the brand name from the little camera ads ;) Who're you trying to fool?

For example: If you're a geek, would you knowingly buy ANYTHING to do with AOL, if you had any other choice?

I can assure you, AOL ads are not targeted to you. That doesn't mean they are not effective to other people. In game ads are effective because ads are effective. No matter how 'free' you think you are from the effects of repeated exposure to anything, you ain't. You do not make decisions without unconsciously consulting your subconscious. In fact, I would imagine you are quite open to advertising that proposes a consumer of a brand that subverts against mainstream advertising.

Do I like ads? No. I think in many ways they subvert the concept of a free market where people make decisions based on product knowledge and education alone. But hey, they are a necessary evil. Trust me, they work, far too well for my taste.

As for AOL and Sony moving to disassociate from their own brands, you're right, it can be a double edged sword for companies. But more often than not, its pretty much a pre-requisite for consumer products to convince people that the brand is important. All things being equal for a consumer, "Lawnmower I've seen a gazillion commercials for is 300.00, Lawnmower I've seen 2 commercials for is 300.00," *most* people will go with the more heavily advertised lawnmower. Not all. Maybe not you. But most, until the first brand lawnmower starts exploding randomly.

Re:I must be new here... (1)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 7 years ago | (#19980473)

Okay, so Pepsi didn't win your vote, but if you're human, an ad has created a positive association in your mind between a brand and an ad you liked.

Again, assuming I liked the ad.

Repetition improves memory recall. (See BonziBuddy, a brand you hated, you can still remember its name.)

Right. But again, I don't see how it's good for BonziBuddy for me to remember their name, because I won't even use their free stuff (they are spyware), and the only way I'd even mention the name to someone else is to say that they're spyware.

And hey, you and me both remember the brand name from the little camera ads ;) Who're you trying to fool?

It took awhile. X-10? For awhile, I was thinking "X-Cam"... Does it really work that well subconsciously if I can't even consciously recall it very well when I'm trying?

By the way, this is another example of advertising not being effective. How the hell is X-10 differentiated from anything else? I mean, yes, I've got great recall on the subject. But suppose it was a positive subconscious connection -- I might end up buying an Xbox instead. Or maybe an airport Xtreme. Or maybe there will be an X-11 camera next to it on the shelf, by a different company...

I can assure you, AOL ads are not targeted to you. That doesn't mean they are not effective to other people.

I get that.

What I have to wonder is, wouldn't it be a MUCH more effective tactic to not annoy the hell out of people?

For example: PeoplePC is arguably no better than AOL, and from what I've heard, may be considerably worse. But their ads didn't annoy me. They didn't send me 50,000 random CDs in the mail. So for awhile, when I heard people who claim to have no other option for Internet than dialup AOL, I suggested they check out PeoplePC.

Recently, I've found out that they have spyware. But it's an example of how a good ad can be effective, whereas a bad ad can have the opposite effect.

In fact, I would imagine you are quite open to advertising that proposes a consumer of a brand that subverts against mainstream advertising.

Tricky. But I bet I'm not.

I bet I'd enjoy watching the ad much more, simply because you'd have to get creative to pull it off. But I think I've outgrown the whole conforming-to-non-conformity thing.

Maybe I'd be open to advertising of something that's associated with maturity, then. Maybe not.

The biggest problem with most ads of this type, unless it's done very subtly, is that they insult my intelligence pretty directly. Ads that try to be counterculture are usually trying so hard that it's like watching... well... that retarded seatbelt rap PSA thing. Or "butt out", from South Park.

As for AOL and Sony moving to disassociate from their own brands, you're right, it can be a double edged sword for companies.

That is all that I'm saying here. Put an ad in a videogame, and unless it's placed very well, it's going to piss me off, and discourage me from buying your product. Do enough of this, and you become like AOL and Sony -- so I actually do believe that no advertising is better than bad advertising.

Don't get me wrong, even good ads can be annoying. But I really think that ads and product placement really can be done right in a videogame. For example:

Good:

  • Guns. (Everyone knows what a Deagle is from Counter-Strike. I am much more likely to buy a Desert Eagle or a Night Hawk as my first pistol, even if it's completely wrong for me.)
  • Cars, so long as it's done right. (You generally don't need a voiceover telling you what the car is, but there should be enough detail now for you to tell just by looking at it.)
  • Places where ads would be in reality. (Billboards, in a place you'd expect a billboard. Decals/paint on a stock car. TV, in a modern game.)
  • Product placement in general. For example -- in Doom 3, there were cans of what looked suspiciously like Coke, but was actually Robo-Cola (since they probably didn't want to have to deal with the Coca-Cola company). Coke or Pepsi could've paid them to be the one soda available on Mars. In Enter the Matrix, there are Powerade vending machines in random places.

These don't bother me, because they add to the enjoyment of the game, and if I end up more likely to buy that product, that's fine with me. Unless the product really, really sucks, I'd actually rather buy a product that supports the development of games that I like.

Bad:

  • Loading screens. Games shouldn't have these anyway.
  • Menus and configuration. These are like banner ads, but more annoying, since you can't disable them.
  • Truman-Show-esque. Max Payne, Riddick, and a few other games have voiceovers of the main character as a narrative. Fine, but Max Payne probably doesn't notice or care that it's a Ford (or a Chevy) that he's escaping in, he just wants to get the hell out of there. Use your own judgment here.
  • Places where ads are unrealistic. Some of the Counter-Strike ads are just jarring. Sorry, but there is not a billboard in the middle of a dusty arabian town, or in an alley, or...
  • Civilizations where ads are unrealistic. Sorry, but no Coke in Half-Life 2. The best you could probably do in a postmodern world like that is be in a newspaper clipping.
  • Anything that warps the story. If you have to go out of your way to explain that newspaper clipping, forget it. Maybe they'll still pay you something to put it in some "deleted scenes" in which you mention that you were paid to put it in, but it didn't fit.

Incidentally, it is possible to integrate a product placement into the storyline in such a way that it's both ironic enough that you don't feel it's an ad, yet you feel strangely compelled to buy the product. I can probably trace my inclination to buying my first and last Mac to this webcomic [applegeeks.com] . I can also date when I switched from Pepsi to Mountain dew to this one [the-whiteboard.com] , though I believe they're the same company anyway.

And again, I don't actually mind that kind of advertising -- in this case, it's certainly not paid for by the company anyway.

Lipton's... (1)

Organic Brain Damage (863655) | more than 7 years ago | (#19972335)

...paid you for that teabagging comment, didn't they? I think I'll go have a mug of hot tasty Lipton's tea now.

Re:Engagement... (1)

Deliveranc3 (629997) | more than 7 years ago | (#19972599)

Marketing for beginners 101.

Product recognition... which brands do you recognize... this leads to comfort and purchases when there are two competing products.
Misplaced quality belief... when you see Tide vs No-Name which makes better detergent?

These things are produced with advertising, not with customer education... that is marketing effectiveness and yes it's totally fking evil.

Re:Engagement... (1)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 7 years ago | (#19972765)

What I don't get is why they think it's effective. For example:

Misplaced quality belief... when you see Tide vs No-Name which makes better detergent?

If I don't care (and I don't), then whichever is cheaper. If I do care, then whichever actually performs better. If I don't have the time to test myself, I go read Consumer's Reports.

I'm unusual, I know, but I really have to wonder if anyone actually consciously says "Oh, that's Tide, it must be better."

Product recognition... which brands do you recognize... this leads to comfort and purchases when there are two competing products.

Not really.

I use one of several pretty much no-name local ISPs. Between them and, say, Mediacom, the only reason I'm thinking about Mediacom is that it does actually look faster, and not much more expensive.

Would advertising influence this purchase at all? Actually, yes, it does. I will never fucking buy AOL, ever. There is nothing they can do to make up for their crappy software -- and worse, their massive campaign of install CDs. So in that case, the fact that I recognize AOL leads to comfort -- that no matter what the competition is, at least they aren't AOL. (Unless they're Earthlink.)

But will this... (1)

fake_name (245088) | more than 7 years ago | (#19963097)

...lower the prices of games? With new games costing $90-$110 here in Australia I'd love to see that pushed down, and I'll accept in-game ads to do it.

The cynic in me says it won't happen though, and none of teh savings will be passed on to consumers.

Re:But will this... (1)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 7 years ago | (#19964467)

$90-$110 for a game? Wow, that's crazy. Just about every Wii game I've seen is $CDN 60. XBox360 and PS3 are $70. According to the exchange rage on xe.com, that comes out to $AUD 64.83 and $AUD 75.65 respecitively. You guys are getting majorly ripped off. Even accounting for the extra shipping costs, I could not see those prices making anywhere close to sense. Sometimes I wonder why AU and EU get so screwed over on prices of tech products. It's not like they have no population, or interest in the products.

Re:But will this... (1)

Profound (50789) | more than 7 years ago | (#19964965)

Back in 2000 when our dollar was 0.50 US$ a $50US game = $100 AU. Our price-point was set.

Now with the US dollar in free-fall, we're close to 0.90 US but our games are still at $100, meaning we're paying US $90 for a game.

I guess the importers are keeping the profit from the US dollar tanking, whereas that in theory should be passed onto consumers.

Re:But will this... (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 7 years ago | (#19966821)

Don't think it's much different in Europe! EUR:USD is close to 1.4:1 now, but we still pay the same for games as we did a few years ago when it was closer to 0.8:1.

Fortunately, the UK are just 'round the corner, and while the GBP didn't change much towards the EUR (still about 0.6:1, while being about 2:1 to the USD), surprisingly there games can be dirt cheap (got current games from play.com for about 30-40 EUR, compared to the 50-60 they cost here a significant difference).

Why should globalization only work AGAINST the customer?

Re:But will this... (1)

chrish (4714) | more than 7 years ago | (#19968497)

We've got the same problem in Canada; today $1 CAD is about $0.96 US, but books (for example) are still priced 33% - 50% higher than the US price. For example, the omnibus edition of His Dark Materials by Phillip Pullman (chosen because that's what I'm reading now, and because it was released recently) lists for $21.99 US on amazon.com, or $27.99 CAD on amazon.ca... at a proper exchange rate, it would be $22.81 CAD. When the Canadian dollar goes above $1.00 US again, nobody's going to adjust their pricing, they'll just keep pocketing the extra bucks.

On the plus side, if you can find an e-tailer who ships to Canada without raping you for postage, it's a great time to order stuff from the US.

Re:But will this... (1)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 7 years ago | (#19970387)

However, when they are selling to the American people, they are getting less per copy ($10 five years ago is worth more than what $10 is now). I don't think the price of books in the US has gone up lately, even though their dollar is tanking. As far as games go, aren't many/most games companies (apart from EA/MS) located in Japan? I think the Yen is doing pretty well, so that might explain why the US dollar seems to have no effect on the price of games. Then again, we all know that game prices are based on how much people are willing to pay, and not how much they actually cost to produce/manufacture. I personally think that they should make games cost less than $20, so that people will just buy a game that they like, instead of mulling over it, and trying to decide which game is the best deal for their money. They will just buy it, because it's so cheap (assuming it's a good game), and won't have to pick and choose between games.

Re:But will this... (1)

Talgrath (1061686) | more than 7 years ago | (#19965099)

You forget, they're shipping to a place that has far fewer people buying products, from talking to my Australian buddies, almost every luxury product is more expensive than in other countries. That being said, video games in particular get boned by Australia by their draconic video game laws, which often involve jumping through a lot of hoops just to get permission to sell your game in Australia.

Re:But will this... (1)

typidemon (729497) | more than 7 years ago | (#19965915)

Let's assume that a game has at least 10 hours of entertainment on average. That means each hour of entertainment costs you about $10/hour.

Considering that many games have far more than 10 hours of entertainment - I've probably got about 500 hours logged on Dawn of War, City Life. Hell, I'd have thousands (if not tens of thousands) of hours in Quake and Tribes - that makes it a pretty cheap form of entertainment.

I have no point. Just anecdote. (1)

WeeLad (588414) | more than 7 years ago | (#20001685)

Last night I bypassed my small collection of games purchased new and instead picked up my copy of Sneak King. As a sad reminder to how cheap I can be, the "Used" sticker was still on the case of this one. After 4 hours of play, I only powered off because I had work today and someone has to be here to read slashdot. Even if I never put in that game again, I'm satisfied with the $2.99USD that I spent on the game.

Does it matter if they're right? (3, Insightful)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 7 years ago | (#19963103)

Of course an ad agency is going to get a study that says their ads work, even if they had to pay for a dozen first that said they don't.

All I really care about is the pervasiveness of ads in games, and from that standpoint the veracity of these numbers is much less important than what the people putting them in games think. And I'm not convinced that even if a dozen studies came out saying in-game ads don't work that they'd actually stop. There's a lot of vested interest in putting ads in games, and while they will surely embrace this study, they'd probably be highly skeptical of a study that said the opposite. How many studies have shown that people tend to completely ignore web-based ads, not even registering their existence a lot of the time? And are there less web-based ads? No, because the reality is that they probably do work overall, and certainly the people putting ads on websites aren't going to take the risk of stopping.

Which I guess makes my only point "more ads are coming regardless of what studies say".

Re:Does it matter if they're right? (1)

Irish_Samurai (224931) | more than 7 years ago | (#19963775)

How many studies have shown that people tend to completely ignore web-based ads, not even registering their existence a lot of the time? And are there less web-based ads? No, because the reality is that they probably do work overall, and certainly the people putting ads on websites aren't going to take the risk of stopping.
Everyone playing the game knows the score. Web ads don't work if you don't do your due diligence. Certain demographics respond differently to web ads. Techies hate shotgun ads, the less enlightened really love them. B2B ads perform much better than B2C ads, if only because business people are actively searching for an answer to a problem while organic results give consumers the references they need.

I've never heard anyone complain about an ad they liked. Just ads that weren't relevant.

And Does It Matter? (2, Insightful)

p0tat03 (985078) | more than 7 years ago | (#19963105)

When I play games, I notice the ads. How can you not? When my secret agent runs head first into a Comcast van, how does one not notice?

So yes, I have no doubt that 81% of players or whatever notice their insipid ads. The question is, do gamers care, and are they more likely to purchase an advertiser's service due to the ad? There is such a thing as bad publicity.

Personally I've never made a buying decision off an ad in a game. In fact, they annoy me, and when I see the product/brand in real life I am reminded of that annoyance. I would say I'm *less* likely to choose a product over its competitor because of the annoyance it has caused me while I'm trying to relax.

Secondly, are in-game ads really worth it for game developers? My ire towards in-game ads are less directed at the advertisers than the game companies responsible for producing the mess in the first place. My opinion of EA and Ubisoft is decreasing very rapidly due to their rampant participation in this money grab. I am less likely to purchase their games, and in fact I have stopped purchasing EA games completely as a matter of principle. How much are advertisers giving them, and does it balance out with loss of customers like myself?

Re:And Does It Matter? (1)

lazyl (619939) | more than 7 years ago | (#19972465)

It's about brand awareness. For markets in which there are few differences between competing products (as far as the customer is aware) then the more exposure consumers have to a brand the more likely they will be to choose it when facing a decision between a bunch of options that they have no way to otherwise evaluate. Like what brand of hard drive or memory to choose (unless you've had experience with different brands there's lots of conflicting opinions out there about which is best). Doesn't have to be tech related either; universal products like what type of dishwashing soap to buy are good candidates for game ads.

You might say that you always do proper research before buying anything, but for a lot of products does it really matter? Do you care which soap gives you be best streak free shine on your dishes? And for less tech savy people do they really care about the difference between samsung and western digital? Most don't. That's why ads are effective. You say game ads annoy you and turn you off the brand but you are in the minority there. Most people are not annoyed by well placed ads. Well placed being the key.

Re:And Does It Matter? (1)

p0tat03 (985078) | more than 7 years ago | (#19975869)

I agree. I always do my research for large purchases, but for a bottle of hand soap I certainly don't spend hours going over studies and papers and whatnot. That being said, I do feel a negative response when I see products that have been advertised to me in an extremely annoying manner, whether it's through flashing banners on the Internet, in-game ads, or merely a poorly conceived ad that annoys me to no end every time I see it on TV. For small products that don't need research, and where I am faced with multiple products that seem largely the same, I would probably go with price, as opposed to which brands I've seen on a sign somewhere.

Case in point: Axe did a *lot* of advertising in Ubi games, and they still do. When buying deodorant I have never bought Axe. Never. That being said, some of their TV ads are quite clever, and my feelings towards the brand are fairly neutral overall, and I'm more disappointed at Ubi for stuffing an otherwise awesome game (Rainbow Six Vegas) full of ads.

Didn't include all metrics (2, Insightful)

eln (21727) | more than 7 years ago | (#19963109)

Sure, they used eye tracking software to note that the players actually looked at the ads, but they didn't use microphones to record the players cursing at the ads as they looked at them. If an ad clashes with the scenery, it's going to draw my eye. That doesn't mean I am thinking positively about the ad or its content, and it certainly doesn't mean I'm going to buy any of their crap.

They should compare these ads to just flashing random brightly colored crap on the screen, and see which one gets more "engagement".

I can't recall ever seeing any ads.. (2, Informative)

bigtangringo (800328) | more than 7 years ago | (#19963135)

I blocked the ads in 2142 at the firewall before I even finished installing the game. I'm sorry but you're not advertising in a game I bought, on which you maintain a stranglehold with ranked servers, EA.

STUDY (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19963137)

people are greeedy money grubbing asshole shit eaters, fuck people

Battlefield 2142: (2, Informative)

mikeasu (1025283) | more than 7 years ago | (#19963139)

Been playing BF2142 since January - remember the controversy with the in-game billboards for this one? Honestly, in this game, since the IGA started, I think I've noticed the ads twice. Just too much going on for me to take note of the ad. Maybe it'll work subconsciously or something. Maybe it says something about the game - I'm paying enough attention to what my squad is doing, trying to work as a team - I think the game does work well as far as encouraging teamwork - so well I don't have time to read the ads.

Good for something (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19963141)

Well, this survey is good for something.

If 81% of all players see ads every other minute, 19% of all players are campers!

Work? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19963171)

Sure, players "engage" with ads all the time while playing the game. But does that actually translate to sales?

Because when I picture myself "engaging" with advertisements in my video games, I picture myself with a BFG, the ad and the advertiser, and that scenario only ends with a lot of green if the advertiser is some kind of green-blooded freak.

So I don't know about you, but it doesn't seem very damn logical to shove ads down my throat. Unless you want me to show you my idea of how best to "engage" with them...

paid adware (1)

Device666 (901563) | more than 7 years ago | (#19963191)

Eidos certainly thinks so; Kotaku notes that they've signed up with the same company featured in this study
Doesn't look much like a scientific objective perspective. But anyway I never heard anyone talk about commercials that didn't affect people. The annoying ads might as well sell beter.
Sure, in-game advertisements can be annoying, but as the price of game development grows and the game-playing audience expands, the practice just makes more and more sense for everybody involved
Come on, as if the games business is not profitable enough? This is not a decent customer oriented way to sell games. It is just yet another way to make more money. And like all ads they start small, and while becoming more profitable they will become more dominant and make the game experience suffer. If these games were available as free (as in free beer) adware maybe it would it would be justified. I hate to pay money for a game with ads, that's my small voice about these practices. I am interested in different opinions from other gamers.

You know what ads really work? Fake ones. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19963197)

I frequently wish I could start my day with Alarm soap, drinking a nice refreshing Splode soda, and relax and watch a new episode of the hottest new reality series Tiny House.

Supersizing Mario. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19963229)

"The Next Generation site is running a piece discussing new findings about in-game advertising. The results of collaboration between an ad firm and a research company show that ads in games are actually having an effect on players. "

Just wait till they put "penis enlargement" ads into games.

My Thought Process (1)

JamesRose (1062530) | more than 7 years ago | (#19963277)

>See advert in game

>Take notice of product

>Remember the basic principle of if the advert gets me to buy the product I'm validating the technique and therefore causing more ads in the future

>Makes note to avoid in any reasonable way buying that product

I know my thought process isn't usual, but if more people thought like me and tried to actively avoid products that were advertised in places they didn't like to see adverts, then the adverts would start to disappear or lessen. Apparently trying to work the system in your favour doesn't occur to normal people, which is ashame- although many people do like useful adverts or don't mind them and it may just be my pet peeve but I'm not alone.

Re:My Thought Process (1)

countSudoku() (1047544) | more than 7 years ago | (#19963429)

You are not alone. When confronted with an annoying ad in a piece of software I actually paid for, I avoid the product like the plague. However, I can't help but patronize Ammu-Nation when playing GTA3. They seem like a reputable purveyor of fine firearms.

Spam. (1)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 7 years ago | (#19964069)

The problem is, it's like spam.

In other words, you don't matter, because even if your attitude was the usual one, they probably need less than 1% of the people looking at these ads to respond in order to justify what it's costing them.

Now, what does work is, boycotting the game. Here, if they sell 20% less copies, or 50% less copies, even if the other 50% are buying Coke/Pepsi/BonziBuddy/Viagra/whatever like mad, the game company itself might decide to stop selling ads -- whereas even if your method worked, it would probably just result in some other advertiser moving in.

Re:My Thought Process (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19968183)

You're not alone. Quake Wars is the latest game to start with this dynamic advertising. I believe they are using the same system of billboard avertising, which tracks what you look at in game and sends it back to the marketing companies.

Damn shame too, I was looking forward to it until I read about the ads.

Re:My Thought Process (1)

Pandora's Fairy (1130205) | more than 7 years ago | (#19980665)

I respond like that aswell. If an ad annoys me I try and avoid the product. Most people don't get that if they keep giving money to something/one the annoying something/one (commercial, store, begger) will keep coming back for more. Then again, maybe most people do understand, but just can't control their impulses.

What exactly is engaging? (2, Insightful)

grapeape (137008) | more than 7 years ago | (#19963545)

They mention 75% "engage" in-game advertisements, but dont define what engage is. If I'm playing a baseball game and hit a ball to the wall, I may be "engaging" the advertisement on the wall but I'm watching the ball. In racing games I "engage" billboards as a way of knowing where I am on the track (2 more turns and I finish the lap, etc). Maybe I am atypical but my memory of the advertisement is usualy more trained to its big square and blue than what it actaully says. How effective they are is questionable at best, advertising that I "notice" to the point of remembering the product usually affects me negatively, I will generally go out of my way to avoid it. That said, real billboard and signs in racing and sports games can add to the realisim, id much rather see a powerade ad than a Slurm soda one (unless im playing Blurnsball) I find fake ads more distracting than real ones.

I think it's pretty clear... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19964075)

"Foxtrot niner to base, missiles locked on target"
"Base to foxtrot niner, roger that, you are cleared to engage"
"Foxtrot niner, missiles away"

Re:What exactly is engaging? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19965073)

in a FPS - the number of times you hit one when shooting at something in frount of it.

so - 1 second burst with a MG, 10 "hits", so 10 engagment points, averaged over 10 minutes => on average 1 per minute.

Graffiti (1)

subl33t (739983) | more than 7 years ago | (#19963593)

All the games with ads should be modded to allow graffiti. Cover them up.

Here's another thought. Let's see if Adbusters can get some ads in these games...

Games with ads should be FREE (3, Insightful)

rollingcalf (605357) | more than 7 years ago | (#19963869)

... or cost $10 max. Don't piss me off by putting ads in a game that I paid $40-$50 for. Any in-game ad in an expensive game will make me want to avoid the product they're advertising.

Re:Games with ads should be FREE (1)

rob1980 (941751) | more than 7 years ago | (#19963985)

Any in-game ad in an expensive game will make me want to avoid the product they're advertising.

Not to mention the game itself...

P2P Games with ads are FREE (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19964105)

"Don't piss me off by putting ads in a game that I paid $40-$50 for."

What makes you think people are paying for the game? [thepiratebay.org]

In that context ads seem quite fair.

Re:P2P Games with ads are FREE (1)

Nazlfrag (1035012) | more than 7 years ago | (#19965805)

So it's OK to treat paying customers like pirates? You just justified the GPs point, that the publisher should make them cheap or free with ads or expensive without. Being both expensive and with ads is hardly a way to discourage piracy, it just gives extra excuses to justify it.

Re:Games with ads should be FREE (1)

Achromus (810984) | more than 7 years ago | (#19976867)

Remember kids, if you watch ads, you should get free stuff! - Morgan Webb

In handle advertising does work (1)

Bill, Shooter of Bul (629286) | more than 7 years ago | (#19964607)

I read Cmdr Taco's rant an hour before lunch today and all I could think about was wanting to eat tacos. He should get an endorsement deal with Taco Bell. The other ads on slashdot don't really hit home. I've never clicked on them, but if there was an add for savings from taco bell or some kind of food, I'd be much more likely to. Think about it, all nerds have to eat. And just about all nerds want to eat quickly to resume what with the coding and such. He could even endorse a line of Taco accessories. Think of a taco stand that would hold the taco for you allowing you to continue surfing the web, playing games, while enjoying a wonderful seasoned taco. It should be adjustable for burritos, and have wireless connectivity to award karma points and /or increase mod point probability for use. While I'm at it, it should also reward Bill, Shooter of Bull a penny per use (and / or free taco depending on the current hunger/bank account ratio) for devising the plan.

You wish it wasn't true. (1)

dollar99 (922389) | more than 7 years ago | (#19964673)

I'm amazed at all of the posts suggesting that ads don't work. An advertisement is successful even if it only makes you ever so slightly more familiar with a product. You don't even have to read it, and whether you want to or not your brain is going to remember something seemingly insignificant about the ad like color or general shape. And the next time around your brain will remember a tiny bit more, and so on. Then you'll see the product somewhere else in the 'real' world and your brain is gonna make the connection whether you like it or not. Its so damn close to brainwashing that it scares me. My solution for fighting the system is to stay drunk most of the time. Those PEPSI ads won't get me.

Re:You wish it wasn't true. (1)

Gregb05 (754217) | more than 7 years ago | (#19969165)

Those PEPSI ads won't get me.

An advertisement is successful even if it only makes you ever so slightly more familiar with a product.

Re:You wish it wasn't true. (1)

MarkAyen (726688) | more than 7 years ago | (#19974603)

I'm not at all surprised that they work. Remember, the average Slashdot reader is not the typical gamer/Internet user/consumer. Think for a moment about spam. The reason spam is so common is that it works. Clueless clods actually buy the crap they're selling, which leads to more spammers and more spam. And everyone hates spam! The same logic holds for in-game advertising. Maybe 95% of gamers won't be influenced by in-game ads (or will be negatively influenced), but a small but significant number will go out and buy the product being advertised because they associate it with a game they were playing.

Like it or not, advertising works.

No good will come of this. (4, Insightful)

MaWeiTao (908546) | more than 7 years ago | (#19964775)

First of all, I can't help but think the companies releasing these studies aren't doing much more than ensuring future business for themselves.

What exactly constitutes exposure to advertising? Let's take any EA game plastered with marketing crap. Even menu screens are promoting one product for another. Let's take one of the FIFA games. I decide I want to customize my players so I spend a few minutes equipping my players with some sneakers. Those sneakers happen to be Adidas or Nike sneakers. Does this count as exposure? Suppose I'm camping a spot in an FPS and there just so happens to be a billboard facing my direction. Does that count as exposure?

The point is that the marketing company could care less. What they want are metrics that look good. They don't care how effective the marketing actually is, nor is there any real way of knowing. But on paper it looks good and so developers fall for it. Not that they care, because it's extra advertising income for them.

Less-cluttered ads are three times as effective at garnering gamer notice than ads that are either cluttered or within cluttered environments.


I find this particularly troubling. Does this mean we're going to get less realistic environments? We can't have overly detailed environments if there's a risk of advertising blending into the background. I predict, however, we're going to end up with the gaming equivalent of pop up banners. Advertisers will just have these big crap banners floating around in mid air. And I expect the quality of these ads to be utter crap. In all the years of advertising on the web 95% of it still looks like garbage. We're going to be stuck with LowerMyBills banners in our games.

I also think it's naive to think that the cost of our games will drop once advertising is introduced. Developers and publishers aren't looking to introduce advertising in order to make the same amount of money they make now. This will be like cable and satellite television. You'll pay as much, if not more than you pay now AND you get the added bonus of advertising. Advertising will only become more intrusive and unlike browsers there will be no way to block any of it. And lets not forget that our games are going to be sanitized and inoffensive, in order to appease advertisers. And games will be compromised in order to appeal to desired demographics.

Re:No good will come of this. (1)

HBI (604924) | more than 7 years ago | (#19964969)

Logically, the end result of this is another 1984-style video game crash.

It couldn't come soon enough.

Re:No good will come of this. (1)

Alex777 (1113887) | more than 7 years ago | (#19971471)

I think dev studios (maybe not publishers; EA, I'm looking at you) are aware of the impact poorly placed ads have in their game, and try to avoid it. I just can't see in-game advertising reaching the level of saturation that you describe.

Whenever an otherwise fine game ships that is significantly hampered by advertising, the resultant uproar (and consequently, poor sales) will cause others to think twice about selling out for a relatively small advertising check. The lost sales probably won't make it worthwhile, not to mention the bad PR.

Having said that, I approve of advertising that fits within the setting of a game. (product placement, mostly) Who doesn't think it would be cool to drive a BMW in GTA4, rather than a "Cheetah"? What really needs to happen to reach this outcome is for advertisers to allow their ad assets to obey the "rules of the game". (Want to shoot up that BMW? Go ahead.)

They work great! (1)

ludomancer (921940) | more than 7 years ago | (#19964961)

Because every game featuring ads will be pirated!
Since you publisher-fellows have obviously chosen to make your revenue via an alternative method, I'm sure you won't mind that I refuse to pay for your games that have ads in them.

Thanks! They really do work!

Some in-game ads are just useless... (2, Informative)

tlhIngan (30335) | more than 7 years ago | (#19965089)

An interesting twist is that Transformers has in-game ads by Helio. Now, they're static ads - in fact, in the copyright page, they list Helio as a trademark.

The uselessness of it is that if you're not in the US, wtf is Helio? I can't buy a Helio phone here in Canada, and I'm sure, neither can anyone else outside of the US. Sure the largest market will understand it, but it sure will date itself quick when the phones they advertise is gone. The only reason I know who Helio is was from the million posts on sites like Gizmodo. So no matter how much "eye time" Helio gets, it's for naught...

Re:Some in-game ads are just useless... (1)

Dachannien (617929) | more than 7 years ago | (#19965105)

An interesting twist is that Transformers has in-game ads by Helio.

Damn. And I was so looking forward to playing it, since it's the only way I'll get to hear Frank Welker as Megatron.

Re:Some in-game ads are just useless... (1)

MaXimillion (856525) | more than 7 years ago | (#19980879)

Sure the largest market will understand it, but it sure will date itself quick when the phones they advertise is gone.
But in the end, that doesn't really matter. Most of the playtime for the game will be in the first month or few after the release. As long as the ads are relevant during that time, they work well enough.

Don't like it? They'll go somewhere else... (2, Insightful)

PhoenixOne (674466) | more than 7 years ago | (#19965111)

If you honestly hate in-game advertising so much that you stop buying games with it, then the big publishers will just make more games that people who don't hate ads like (Bejeweled-7 and The Sims 19).

I don't know much about marketing, but I wonder if this is the reason why 99% of all broadcast TV sucks (too hard to advertise to people who like smart TV).

Re:Don't like it? They'll go somewhere else... (1)

Oktober Sunset (838224) | more than 7 years ago | (#20002075)

Selling stuff to smart people will always be a niche market, cos most people are fucking idiots.

block ads (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19965687)

block madserver.net and *.madserver.net and poof, no more ads

The study is bullshit, as they always are (2, Insightful)

cliffski (65094) | more than 7 years ago | (#19966557)

Yet another study, funded by an ADVERTISING company saying that adverts work. They trot one out every 3 months or so. Its bullshit. And the facts remain gamers do not want ads. I will not buy any game with ads in, and skipped on BF 2142 as a result. When will the guys in suits get this into their thick skulls?

As ususal, whether the ad nags depends on the ad (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 7 years ago | (#19966903)

It's been discussed here that people hate in-game ads and how much, and how those numbers just reflect awareness but not how much said ads are intrusive. That's actually very critical.

An intrusive ad is a negative experience. Now, with more and more brands trying to sell with the "feel good" message instead of trying to convince you they're the better product (i.e. the "value" you get from us is based on you being cooler and better, or just that we make you feel better than the competition), it is outright mandatory that you "feel good" about the ads too, or the experience is a negative one. If bubble coke is trying to advertise with obnoxious, flashing billboards in a medieval setting, this experience is ruined. That's not cool, that's not fitting, and the ad will give me a negative experience that reflects on the product advertised. The product is not cool, the product is not making me feel good.

OTOH, if the ad fits the game experience, the product can actually become a feel good product. My pet example, BF2142. Coke Zero is advertised on the billboards there. And that fits quite well. Coke Zero is a "new" product, put into a futuristic setting, it becomes the soda of the future. It's not intrusive, but it gets noticed. Actually, by the way it's placed, it becomes sort of an easter egg (ok, not really a hard to find one, but the game isn't plastered with ad billboards), so seeing them gives you actually a memorable experience. People notice those billboards and they actually add to the experience, fitting the environment seamlessly.

That's IMO a good example of product placement in games. This way, ads can become part of a game, as long as it's not overdone. When every kind of beverage in a medieval setting has some kind of brand on it, it gets silly. But with a bit of creativity (hey, that's what marketing is about!), and with a touch of humor, this can be done. In a medieval setting, gnomes (who're infamous for tinkering) could come up with a Dell computer (gnome style, of course, where DELL could become an acronym for something) that lets you judge your enemy. Or some shrewed wizard does the trick.

As long as you don't overdo it, it ads a humorous touch to the game and won't reduce the experience for the player. It might add to his experience, actually.

What's a surefire way to destroy any "feel good" effect is ads that neither fit the setting nor add to the experience. What has to be avoided at all costs are intrusive, uninspired ads that remind people of pesky popups they have to get rid of. Subtle ads can actually have a better effect.

Re:As ususal, whether the ad nags depends on the a (2, Insightful)

MaWeiTao (908546) | more than 7 years ago | (#19968807)

I agree that most advertisers have been pushing the lifestyle message. However, I completely disagree that they're trying to convey a "feel good" message. Most aren't trying to make us feel good, they're trying to make us feel inadequate so that we rush out to buy their products. And most advertising isn't anything but obnoxious insistent. Marketing people are constantly trying to devise ways to cram more advertising down our throats, what makes you think it would be any different in games?

What these companies are waiting for is a critical mass of consumers willing to at least tolerate advertising in games. Once that happens then we're really going to see a flood of shit. And rest assured it isn't going to consist of anything subtle, inoffensive and in keeping with the theme of the game. Advertisers aren't exactly known for subtlety.

You mention that BF2142 is an example of advertising applied tastefully. Explain to me how advertising somehow fits in a world that's ravaged by war and an ice age. The few remaining superpowers are battling over what few resources are left but Jeep has decided there was a big enough market to advertise for an SUV, and then place billboards on the battlefield no less. I guess they're nothing if not persistent. Then there are the billboards for movies like Ghost Rider. The game is based over 130 years in the future and they're still anticipating the release of this movie. And apparently DVDs, Bluray and UMDs are still being used. In an energy-starved, war-torn and frozen future.

So much for advertising fitting with the theme of the game.

Re:As ususal, whether the ad nags depends on the a (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 7 years ago | (#19969909)

Tough cookie that game, but games in the future have one advantage over games in the past: The ad you want to place could have been there before and the media used to present them are now, in a world where resources are scarce, reused. I.e., how about creating a shelter from an old ad billboard? If you have a catchy ad jingle, some old tape you find could have the information you use right after a few seconds of the jingle that was taped as well when the information was taped.

There could be a derelict movie theatre where the movie you want to advertise ran until the end of the world came onto us, with the movie ad posters still in the display cases. With real items you want to advertise, they could lie around in the world, that SUV could be just standing there, crashed into the wall (of course you will not find the driver's corpse, the SUV protected him and he got away, but had to leave his gun behind).

It can be done, given a bit of creativity.

WipEout (1)

metamatic (202216) | more than 7 years ago | (#19970173)

My first exposure to in-game advertising was WipEout XL / 2097 on the PS1. The game had ads for Red Bull alongside the track.

Did it work? Hell yes. I mail ordered some Red Bull before it was commonly available in the USA, because I was intrigued to find out what it was, and the game was so cool.

Re:WipEout (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 7 years ago | (#19973005)

Don't remind me of my addiction.

Note: Don't drink 10 cans a day on a regular base. Your life will SUCK if you run out of it.

Re:WipEout (1)

metamatic (202216) | more than 7 years ago | (#19976625)

I can't conceive of drinking even half that much per day.

Re:WipEout (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 7 years ago | (#19977083)

Oh, it's quite possible. Though I advise against it.

Actually work (1)

j00r0m4nc3r (959816) | more than 7 years ago | (#19968819)

Yeah, they actually work great.... at annoying me

They're effective (1)

doublefrost (1042496) | more than 7 years ago | (#19971649)

In game ads are as effective as billboard ads that you drive by on the streets.... which is not very on the surface. But anyone in marketing knows that product/brand recognition makes a difference. How often do you consider looking at/buying a product you've never heard of? Not as much as a product/brand you remember seeing before.

Next: AdBlock for games (1)

AmiMoJo (196126) | more than 7 years ago | (#19976821)

Remember back when people used to provide "cracked" copies of Kazaa with the spyware removed and the IP addresses of their ad servers blocked? I expect the warez groups will start doing that sort of thing too. As well as a no-CD patch, there will be a no-ads patch.

Ads in games worked for about five minutes when it all first started. The first Tony Hawk's game had a descent soundtrack, with interesting and less well known bands that suited the game. The last FIFA/Need For Speed games had a load of manufactured crap you wouldn't listen to twice. I suppose that's the way it works though - as soon as big money players get interested the quality goes down the pan.

More money = lower quality? An argument for music piracy if ever there was one.
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