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Hellgate Beta's In-Game Ads Raise Eyebrows

Zonk posted about 7 years ago | from the use-the-coke-luke dept.

Privacy 424

ari wins writes "IGN.com has up a post discussing the new EA/Flagship game Hellgate: London, and the in-game advertisements it includes to facilitate targeted marketing. Though ads in games aren't exactly new, some Beta testers are objecting to their apparently off-putting presence. Users have also noted that accepting the game's EULA means you submit to the collection of 'technical and related information that identifies your computer, including without limitation your Internet Protocol address, operating system, application software and peripheral hardware'."

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Limerick (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#21064727)

I used to find Slashdot delightful,
But my feelings of late are more spiteful;
My comments sarcastic
The iconoclastic
Keep modding to plus five (insightful)

Re:Limerick (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#21064915)

Yeah so I was in the toilets you know and then this guy came a real aryan blond football player I mean a young male I'd like to fuck but I'll never be able to admit that so instead I eat this shit *insert gross details* oh I am so horny

This CAN be stopped (4, Interesting)

dynamo (6127) | about 7 years ago | (#21064737)

Now that there's a game out there with targeted marketing, the best way to take it down as well as the financial motivation to do it again is simple (but takes a lot of help):

Buy it, wait a week or so, and return it. Then buy it somewhere else, wait a week or so, and return it. If just 5000 people were to do this 5 times each, it could destroy the percieved marketability, and it would be attributed to targeting issue. Enough people wasting enough time of enough computer stores, and computer stores would be best off not carrying it.

Then the investors / decision makers who committed to this sickness get discliplined / lose money, and new investors get scared to do this again.

Re:This CAN be stopped (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#21064817)

Can you return a video game anymore?

Re:This CAN be stopped (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#21064871)

Not very easily.

Re:This CAN be stopped (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#21065017)

I doubt you'd get anything more than store credit.

Re:This CAN be stopped (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#21065091)

If there's an EULA that you have to accept to play it, yes, you can return the game if you don't accept it. That or the EULA is not binding, in which case they have no business snooping around in your computer.

Re:This CAN be stopped (3, Informative)

KDR_11k (778916) | about 7 years ago | (#21065461)

The EULA is between you and the publisher, not you and the store. If the store says "we don't take returns" then the EULA can't do jack shit about it. You could try getting the publisher to refund you or you could contest the EULA in court somehow because you weren't presented the contract before purchase and won't get your money back once you read the contract. Not sure that'd work though.

Re:This CAN be stopped (1)

buswolley (591500) | about 7 years ago | (#21065307)

Don't open the box dummy. Then it is easy to return.

Re:This CAN be stopped (0, Troll)

moderatorrater (1095745) | about 7 years ago | (#21064901)

Return a video game? Where is the dream world you're writing from?

Re:This CAN be stopped (1, Insightful)

CrazyJim1 (809850) | about 7 years ago | (#21064981)

Return a video game? Where is the dream world you're writing from?

It's still our world, he's just thinking its the late 80's or early 90's when the stores did this. I once even bought a game at Electronic's Boutique then when they wouldn't take it back, I took it back to Babbages and they were cool with it.

Re:This CAN be stopped (3, Interesting)

UncleTogie (1004853) | about 7 years ago | (#21065289)

Return a video game? Where is the dream world you're writing from?

It's still our world, he's just thinking its the late 80's or early 90's when the stores did this.

He speaks truly. I worked at a mall-based EB back around '88. Back at that time, EB also sold computers, mainly AST and Amstrad brands. We had a shrink-wrap setup in the back, and the policy at the time was to LET customers "try" the software on our demo PCs.

If they saw what they liked, they bought the game and all was well. If not, we took it to the back, and rewrapped and repriced it. Thinking back, I'm not sure if such was legal; if the game has been installed, even on a demo PC, it's not "new", is it? IANAL, so I couldn't tell you...

So yes, Virginia, there WAS a Santa Claus... Now all you get to demo is console games, unless you go to a gaming cybercafe.

Re:This CAN be stopped (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#21065309)

They'll let you return it for a full refund if it's unopened. Just don't open it and play it.

The parent post's theory would still work. That said, I don't know if I'd want to torpedo the guys who did Diablo II, as they seem pretty talented. But if their game doesn't run on Linux I guess I'll just have to stick with Quake Wars for now. :)

Re:This CAN be stopped (3, Insightful)

pla (258480) | about 7 years ago | (#21065125)

Return a video game? Where is the dream world you're writing from?

The law generally trumps "store policy"... Though you may need to sue to get your $50 back (most companies won't even show up in small claims court, practically a slam-dunk).

Also, many states have a VERY useful law relating to this, usually called something like "Buyer's remorse". They don't always apply to such low-priced items, though, so do your homework before you waste your money.

Finally, never forget the power of "making a scene". If you loudly (but not threateningly!) make a fuss over them refusing to take something back (best to wait for the busiest, most crowded part of the day), they'll usually do what you want just to get rid of you.

Re:This CAN be stopped (3, Informative)

arivanov (12034) | about 7 years ago | (#21065365)

In countries that do not have suitable retail legislation (UK) you should buy via mail order or over the Internet. That gives you a 14 days by law to decide if you want to shovel the item back up the retailer's backside. Similar laws apply in most of the EU as a part of the distance selling regulations.

Re:This CAN be stopped (4, Insightful)

suv4x4 (956391) | about 7 years ago | (#21064939)

Buy it, wait a week or so, and return it. Then buy it somewhere else, wait a week or so, and return it. If just 5000 people were to do this 5 times each, it could destroy the percieved marketability, and it would be attributed to targeting issue. Enough people wasting enough time of enough computer stores, and computer stores would be best off not carrying it.

Two things:

1. Astroturf does not feel like real grass. Hell, it doesn't look like real grass. Don't Astroturf.

2. You forgot something: denial. Hell, it can't be the ads, right? It must be the game is bad, despite all those gamers craving to see the targeted ads.

Re:This CAN be stopped (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#21065229)

Who is he astroturfing for? Or could it be you...

Re:This CAN be stopped (3, Funny)

bmo (77928) | about 7 years ago | (#21064967)

And the only reason I'm singing you this song now is cause you may know somebody in a similar situation, or you may be in a similar situation, and if your in a situation like that there's only one thing you can do and that's walk into the game shop/software dealer wherever you are, just walk in say "Dude, You can get anything you want at Alice's restaurant." return the game, and walk out. You know, if one person, just one person does it they may think he's just weird. And if two people, two people do it, in harmony, they may think they're both faggots and they'll refund the money really fast just to get 'em out the door. And three people do it, three, can you imagine, three people walking in singin' a bar of Alice's Restaurant, returnin' a game and walking out. They may think it's an organization. And can you, can you imagine fifty people a day,I said fifty people a day walking in, returnin' a game, singin a bar of Alice's Restaurant and walking out. And friends they may thinks it's a movement.

And that's what it is , the Alice's Restaurant Anti-Bad-Software Movement, and all you got to do to join is sing it the next time it come's around on the guitar.

--
BMO

Re:This CAN be stopped (5, Insightful)

Cheapy (809643) | about 7 years ago | (#21065031)

...or you could just not buy it and send an e-mail explaining why.

Re:This CAN be stopped (1)

koko775 (617640) | about 7 years ago | (#21065167)

Dollars speak louder than words. A frustrated consumer matters more than a frustrated potential (or non-) customer.

lets try for +5 troll (1)

v1 (525388) | about 7 years ago | (#21065177)

OR you could buy it, install it, activate it, return it, send them an email explaining you were already paying for it by the ad revenue they are now receiving because of it, so you're returning it because you're not going to pay for it TWICE.

If anyone at the store argues about returning open box software, explain the ads. If they won't accept the return on that basis, explain you will be taking your software patronage elsewhere.

Re:lets try for +5 troll (1)

buswolley (591500) | about 7 years ago | (#21065375)

I like this.For example, I do not wear shirts with logos because I am not receiving ad revenue for it. oh and I don't care if the shirt was pricier or cheaper because of subsidizing by the company of the logo to the t-shirt maker. The shirt should be free(Google model, now c'mon) at least.

Re:This CAN be stopped (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#21065035)

How about just writing to Flagship Studios and telling them why you won't buy the game (and be honest about it)?

I'm considering doing so right now and telling them how this game just moved from my "Must have!" list to my "Not a chance in hell" list.

D.

ps. I'll make sure to mention in the letter that I'll also tell my friends why I'm not buying the game.

Re:This CAN be stopped (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#21065205)

Excellent idea- then we can pay for the missing revenue in monthly fees and box costs. I don't like ads on TV either but my cable bill is high enough and Tom Hanks ain't taking a pay cut and nor should he.

Re:This CAN be stopped (2)

JackMeyhoff (1070484) | about 7 years ago | (#21065367)

Uhh NO, don't even touch it. This way they get the message VERY QUICKLY, it flops at the start gate.

Demo or Beta? (2, Interesting)

Gertlex (722812) | about 7 years ago | (#21064739)

I'm not a beta player, and those people are/were under rather heavy NDAs, from what I hear. The demo of the game was released a few days ago, and *that* does indeed have ads in it. (I only noticed an NVidia ad)

Re:Demo or Beta? (1)

AuMatar (183847) | about 7 years ago | (#21064759)

And? You seem to think those NDAs mean anything- anyone in a guild or two knows all the details of those betas within a week of them coming out. Nobody follows the betas when it comes to friends or guildies, and they leak from there to common knowledge.

I'm playing (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#21065267)

I'm playing it. Hellgate is Diablo II on steroids (it was designed by the creators of Diablo). Great game.

NVIDIA is indeed big. Dark Horse comics as well.

TO BE CLEAR: there are no, "now we pause for this word from our sponsor" moments and big baddy doesn't come after you wearing an NVIDIA t-shirt. The only thing I've spotted is NVIDIA and Dark Horse posters in the Underground Stations (it's London) and in the city ruins- kinda like the fake posters and magazines in DOOM 3, but real companies.

If it provides a revenue stream that would otherwise increase the price of the game I have no problem with this.

Re:I'm playing (1)

buswolley (591500) | about 7 years ago | (#21065393)

Is the game appreciably cheaper? How much are you worth? A dollar? Two? Twenty? They should pay you for the opportunity to show you ads.

Unobtrusive (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#21064743)

I played through the demo and didn't even notice them. If not for this article I wouldn't even know they were there. Anyone got a screenshot?

Re:Unobtrusive (3, Interesting)

MaineCoon (12585) | about 7 years ago | (#21065015)

I never saw ads in Hellgate London demo or the retail version of BF2142. I think it may be because I'm behind a hardware firewall (Linksys WRT54GL, yay).

On the other hand, Hellgate London demo was a real yawner. Very disappointing. Unplayably buggy in the gameplay department (everything else ran smoothly though) - I literally reached a dead end along the linear path that I had to take to get to the next zone and complete the main questline, which I assume upon completion the demo would end. Went back, and could find no alternative path through either of the last two areas on the path.

Re:Unobtrusive (3, Interesting)

SeekerDarksteel (896422) | about 7 years ago | (#21065225)

The reason you probably never saw the ads is because they're almost impossible to actually see unless you're looking for them. I was playing the beta for several weeks before I realized that the ads on the subway walls were actual ads for real products. They're integrated into the environment and easy to look over.

As for the demo, they really messed up. The beta is less buggy (although still has a couple kinks to work out). They just shouldn't have released the demo at all to be honest.

Re:Unobtrusive (2, Insightful)

hedwards (940851) | about 7 years ago | (#21065405)

That was what I was wondering. People do have differing standards, but it would be nice to see a few screen shots. It does make a huge difference if the ads look appropriate to the environment.

I wouldn't mind necessarily playing a race car simulation which included advertisements pretty much everywhere, for the reason that real races will have tons of advertisements everywhere. Just don't take the intrusive information that isn't related and do lower the price on the game by using the advertising revenue to subsidize it.

Perhaps use some of the revenue to release extra content for the game.

But overall, I do have to say that in game ads are tacky in most situations. When I play games, I play them to leave reality, not to be more available to the advertisers I'm trying to ignore.

This information on the box? (5, Interesting)

Romicron (1005939) | about 7 years ago | (#21064747)

Does it say anywhere on the box, "WARNING: This game includes in-game advertising and requires live monitoring of computer information?" Or are there massive amounts of consumers that are going to be shocked to discover that their game requires adware? There's a big difference between "Hey, we warned you" and "Turn around and grab your ankles".

Second question: Anyone know how much this kind of live uploading of advertisements would affect online performance?

Re:This information on the box? (1)

suv4x4 (956391) | about 7 years ago | (#21065007)

Second question: Anyone know how much this kind of live uploading of advertisements would affect online performance?

Online gaming: low traffic, low latency.
Advertisements: big latency, big traffic.

They don't step into each other's territory, and you could guess the ads will be cached, and can have lower priority than the multiplayer traffic.

As for the included adware/spyware/drm/rootkits, that has become customary for PC games. Never again would I let a game installer come near my production PC.

I guess that's one reason PC games sell in so low volumes compared to consoles.

Re:This information on the box? (1)

Dunbal (464142) | about 7 years ago | (#21065053)

and you could guess the ads will be cached

      I hope the advertisers are aware of my fee for storing their ad info on my hard drive. I think $5 a byte should do it.

Re:This information on the box? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#21065153)

$5 per bit per hour, or $5,000 a month, whichever is highest.

Re:This information on the box? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#21065319)

There is no live uploading of advertisements. These advertisements seem to be a part of the game installation, and do not update or change while you play the game (unless they update them, of course, but I'd be surprised after all of the attention this is getting).

Having played the beta for the past week, logging in around 15 hours of play time, I first noticed an advertisement on a subway wall. It looked to be a part of the game world, had a picture with a caption that read, "Book Four coming soon." I wasn't sure at the time if it was a part of the game or an actual advertisement, I mean, I couldn't exactly make out what the picture was supposed to be (even with textures on Very High), but it looked like standard comic book art in dark, muted colors.

The advertisements are standard textures, represented in the game as poster-sized billboards in the subway stations. They're about the size that a poster would be and aren't annoying or even noticeable.

TFA seems a bit sensationalist in how they used the term Adware--as if it's installing an extra program along with the game onto your computer, or there's pop-up windows while you play, or there'll be a giant, flashing, updating advertisement on the screen, etc.--to describe a static texture placed in an area whose real world counterpart is also, filled with advertisements.

That said, I'll have to take a second look and see if I can find any that are annoying.

It's on par with, but still eleven billion times less annoying than the BRODOORODODODODOoo "NVidiaaaaaaaaaa," ads that play when you start up just about any EA or many other publishers' games, at least.

Of course Hellgate will have one of those, too.

wtf (5, Interesting)

wizardforce (1005805) | about 7 years ago | (#21064755)

If a game costs 50$ why the hell should there be ads in it? Who actually puts up with this enough to even make the idea look like something we would tolerate?

Re:wtf (5, Interesting)

Rasit (967850) | about 7 years ago | (#21064867)

If a game costs 50$ why the hell should there be ads in it? Who actually puts up with this enough to even make the idea look like something we would tolerate?
Even better, if you dont pay a monthly fee you can only play a gimped character (smaller inventory etc.)

So now we have to pay full price to buy it, pay each month AND get invasive ads?

Re:wtf (1)

maxume (22995) | about 7 years ago | (#21065123)

They expect you to, but you certainly don't have to(I guess you have to if you want access to the game).

Re:wtf (4, Informative)

SeekerDarksteel (896422) | about 7 years ago | (#21065293)

1) Your character is not gimped. You don't get certain online only options like shared stashes, guild creation, or the same number of character slots.

2) Not subscribing does absolutely nothing to the single player. A single player game that is good enough on its own to justify the cost of the box. In addition you get free online play even if you never play another dime. I seriously think that if they offered NO free online play, instead saying you can play single player on your own or pay a subscription for online, that there would be less people pissed off.

3) The subscription replaces having to buy expansions every six months or a year. Look at WoW. $15 a month, plus $50 a year for an expansion, plus no single player. And you don't hear anyone bitching about that.

4) You clearly haven't seen the ads. They are far from invasive. You can play through and never even notice that the ads on the subway walls are for real products. They aren't bright neon signs that scream "BUY COKE, MMM COKE." They're dirty worn down subway ads you'd expect to see in a subway. Only they're for actual products. I don't like the precedence either, but it's definitely not a gamebreaker.

Re:wtf (5, Interesting)

BarneyL (578636) | about 7 years ago | (#21064929)

The same people who pay for their cable/satelite TV subscription and watch adverts during the commercial breaks? Or buy a magazines with adverts in? The model is not entirely new even if I don't believe for a moment that the adverts in games are there "to reduce the sale price" as is claimed by the publishers.

Re:wtf (4, Insightful)

DeepHurtn! (773713) | about 7 years ago | (#21064965)

...because the avarice of corporations knows no bounds?

Re:wtf (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#21065137)

Profit, that's why.

(How long until the adblock cracks start appearing?)

Re:wtf (0, Redundant)

Richard_at_work (517087) | about 7 years ago | (#21065273)

If a game costs 50$ why the hell should there be ads in it?

Because you probably wouldn't have bought it if it was $70?

Re:wtf (1)

wizardforce (1005805) | about 7 years ago | (#21065381)

Because you probably wouldn't have bought it if it was $70?
I haven't bought any of their later games anyway. You really think that they would pass on their higher profit margin to the consumer? bwahahaha... that's funny. They are doing this to make money at the cost of privacy and the overall gaming experience, it has nothign to do with offsetting prices. Of course they could still try and offer an ad-free version for say 10$ more...

Ads in game are a good thing! (4, Interesting)

Crazy Taco (1083423) | about 7 years ago | (#21065303)

There actually are some pretty good reasons to put ads in games. In fact, having ads in games (to a point) can be a win/win for both the software company, which gets more money, and the user, who gets more realism. For instance, if you play a game in a city setting, one would expect realistic ads on billboards, bulletin boards, walls, etc (as opposed to crappy old games where you would race cars through a city, for instance, and every billboard would say "Midway!", which got old really quick). And speaking of racing games, what kind of a NASCAR game would you have if there weren't ads plastered all over the cars? I think having ads in a game is great for realism and cost defrayment (maybe you don't need as many people to buy a game for developers to be willing to make it, since they will also get ad money). As long as they put the ads in context within the game, this is a great thing.

Now, I should say I haven't seen this beta so I don't know if they are crossing the line and putting ads out of context. If every third person in a crowd is wearing an NVIDIA shirt, that is out of context and pretty ridiculous. Also, if performance suffers from downloading new ads for the game or something, that is bad too. But if performance doesn't suffer, downloading new ads could be good. After all, billboards, walls, etc change their ads in real life, so why shouldn't a game? That ads realism and variety to the landscape.

Re:wtf (1)

Blakey Rat (99501) | about 7 years ago | (#21065409)

Magazines have been tolerated for decades with this exact model. Cable TV is another example. Hell, that's half the draw of the Superbowl each year.

Ads in games. (1)

camperdave (969942) | about 7 years ago | (#21065457)

Ads in games are nothing new, though. You drove past Atari billboards in Pole Position back in the 1980s. Practically every driving game has billboards. There are ads on the boards in hockey games [elecplay.com] and soccer games [gameguru.in] . I was watching my roommate play a basketball game, and along the sidelines, they had those rolling billboard ad machines just like on television. I thought, "wouldn't it be cool if those displayed real ads".

Advertisers want to put their ad in front of people's eyes. Some people spend an hour or two playing video games each night. These are obviously the same people with enough disposable income to be able to buy the game and the console to begin with. Placing ads in games seems like a pretty natural avenue to me. ...not that I agree with it. It's just a logical place for them.

Does it run on Linux? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#21064767)

Has anyone tried the beta on Linux with Wine yet?

Re:Does it run on Linux? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#21064947)

Does anything work with wine?

Re:Does it run on Linux? (3, Funny)

ubrgeek (679399) | about 7 years ago | (#21064983)

Usually a nice cheese ;)

What were the ads? (1)

JamesTRexx (675890) | about 7 years ago | (#21064775)

I wonder if many will complain when it's ads for Sloggi. :-P
Anyway, seems to me it's about time more and better sandbox programs appear so games like this can be cut off from the OS itself.
No probing what OS, applications and colour of my shirt is, just run the damned game for which people paid good money.
Otherwise I'll just stick to good ol' Simcity, unless the development of games for *nix/*BSD skyrockets.

Re:What were the ads? (1)

vertinox (846076) | about 7 years ago | (#21065385)

Anyway, seems to me it's about time more and better sandbox programs appear so games like this can be cut off from the OS itself.

As an Intel Mac Gamer, I do this already. I play all my games in bootcamp or parallels and leave anything personal and business related on the OS X side of things. I suppose the could find out what other games I am playing but that is about it.

Don't Buy It (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#21064791)

Everyone with their oddball theories on how to avoid this...simple, don't buy it. If the ads offend you that much then don't purcahse the game and this method of making money goes away.

Doesn't bother me since I'm looking at the top of my browser and it looks like Slashdot has an ad on it.

Re:Don't Buy It (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#21064897)

Funny, all I see is a box in the status bar with the word 'Adblock' in it!

Re:Don't Buy It (0)

melikamp (631205) | about 7 years ago | (#21065279)

I agree, and I want to add: if you can block the ads, do it. Don't listen to the shills who say that "ads pay for the service". If they do, it is accidental. The primary goal of advertising is always to educate the consumer, never to offset the costs. If you are as much as enjoying the service, block the ads and don't think twice about it. It is not your fault that the seller has decided to bet on advertising, nor is it your obligation to keep him afloat.

Bitching about ads is silly, since many modern consumer products wouldn't even exist without a powerful marketing effort. If you really must play games that cost $100M to make--if you believe that only a vast amount of money can make a great game--then please, suck it up and watch the ads. This may seem to contradict what I have said before, but it doesn't. I, for one, could not care less if the game is cheap, as long as it is fun to play, nor do I believe that the cost makes things better when it comes to art or entertainment. So I block the ads. By blocking the ads (or refusing to buy the service) a consumer expresses the preference for an economy in which marketing plays but a minor role. It would be a vastly different economy, for sure, with very different products. For example, all music downloads would be like BT, news would be like Usenet, online shopping like craigslist, cartoons like HSR [homestarrunner.com] , TV like youtube. I do not know what the games would be like; I am doubtful that they would have development costs in millions of dollars, but I am pretty damn sure that they would be just as entertaining as the best, most expensive games of today.

Just give in.. Sooner or later you will anyway. (0, Offtopic)

Jackie_Chan_Fan (730745) | about 7 years ago | (#21064813)

It is an endless battle, this little man vs big. The end, tragic. Freedom continues to erode as we watch films and play games that spin yarns of great battles where the little man wins in the face of oppression. Freedom they cry... but never will they have it.

Re:Just give in.. Sooner or later you will anyway. (1)

LaskoVortex (1153471) | about 7 years ago | (#21065113)

When I suggested my roommate to switch from AIM to something like Miranda, he wrote me back as if I had suggested he cook his mom in a pot of stew. He is a gamer with a brand new x-box. So there probably is a correlation. These people WANT to bend over. I feels good to them.

Re:Just give in.. Sooner or later you will anyway. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#21065171)

Don't you mean 'fweedom'?

Re:Just give in.. Sooner or later you will anyway. (4, Insightful)

Daimanta (1140543) | about 7 years ago | (#21065211)

It's a game, not the apocalypse or big brother or anything. If you use this scaremongering long enough it will lose all meaning and when the day comes that it gets nasty, nobody will believe you.

Don't cry wolf if there's no wolf around.

Overreactions. (5, Interesting)

DrEldarion (114072) | about 7 years ago | (#21064837)

I've been playing the beta for a week now, and even though I knew about the ads before I started playing, I still haven't noticed them at all while playing when I wasn't specifically looking for them. IIRC, they're limited to "stations" where are basically the towns from Diablo 2. Since these are basically subway stations, you expect to see ads there, and they aren't obtrusive at all, so they feel like part of the environment rather than being a jarring experience.

Hellgate is not the game to make an outrage over, because the ads in it are so tastefully done that they feel right.

Marketing Has Succeeded (5, Insightful)

nurb432 (527695) | about 7 years ago | (#21064877)

If it has gotten to the point that ads are expected and feel 'right' in a video game, then the marketeers have won.

ADs are not 'right' in any context, especially when you are paying for the product.

Re:Marketing Has Succeeded (5, Insightful)

derfy (172944) | about 7 years ago | (#21064945)

Wait a minute. Games are trying to imitate reality. In reality, subway stations have ads in them. So, shouldn't games have ads in them* to "feel right"?

* = WHERE APPROPRIATE. Games like WoW do not need billboards in them.

But I agree on the paying aspect. If you pay, you don't see ads(unless you want to).

And, make the game cost less due to the ad revenue.

Re:Marketing Has Succeeded (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#21065315)

I'm not a big gamer, so maybe I don't quite "get it", but when I play a game, I'm usually playing because it's *not* like real life. If I wanted a game that was just like real life, I'd go out side and experience actual real life.

Besides, when your game is about demons from hell invading London thirty years in the future, being realistic goes straight out the window. So why bother "keeping it real" on something that's almost universally loathed?

Re:Marketing Has Succeeded (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#21064961)

If the developers of the game can get some extra money to refine their game and not be forced to start selling before they're really satisfied with the result then I say this way everyone's happy, but that's only as long as the ads fit well where they're placed.

You mean like in a newspaper?

ADs are not 'right' in any context, especially when you are paying for the product.

Re:Marketing Has Succeeded (1)

dave1g (680091) | about 7 years ago | (#21064963)

well, they aren't paying for the beta, I assume....

Re:Marketing Has Succeeded (1)

Rallion (711805) | about 7 years ago | (#21064987)

ADs are not 'right' in any context, especially when you are paying for the product.


You must really hate magazines. A lot.

Re:Marketing Has Succeeded (1)

GiMP (10923) | about 7 years ago | (#21065063)

> If it has gotten to the point that ads are expected and feel 'right' in a video game, then the
> marketeers have won.

I'm not so sure that there was ever a battle to win. More of a 'bending over'.

Anyway, there are places where you *expect* to see ads, such as billboards on the side of a highway, oin a subway station, or on the side of a bus. Older games either missed this realism (come on, how many highways do you know without any billboards?) or had fake advertisements.

I guess for the game developers, having real ads is win-win.. they don't have to spend time on making graphics for fake ads, some more realism (since real life *does* have ads), and they get additional income.

Re:Marketing Has Succeeded (1)

LaskoVortex (1153471) | about 7 years ago | (#21065305)

Every day I bus down a street that has giant "LCD" screens with changing pictures. I don't play video games, but if they ever got as bad as that street, my desire to play them would go from some tiny fraction to some new fraction much, much tinier than than it already is.

Re:Overreactions. (1)

Lonewolf666 (259450) | about 7 years ago | (#21065073)

So far, so good, but the EULA bit about data collection is still annoying enough that I will ignore this game.
Besides, it is supposed to have too much instancing for my taste ;-)

Re:Overreactions. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#21065291)

Except that the ads are placed intrusively, break immersion and ARE in bad taste. I am expecting a mod that kills the ad textures before I play this game.

Yet another... (1)

band-aid-brand (1068196) | about 7 years ago | (#21064853)

Yet another game that had so much potential that I will not be purchasing because of in game ads and adware. I'm looking at you BF2142.

Your IP address is being broadcast RIGHT NOW! (4, Funny)

mattgreen (701203) | about 7 years ago | (#21064989)

Dear God, not again!

Luckily I had a helpful error box pop up and only had to pay $19.95 (plus VA 4.5% sales tax) to stop this heinous security oversight that is present in EVERY operating system on the Internet!

Re:Your IP address is being broadcast RIGHT NOW! (2, Informative)

j79zlr (930600) | about 7 years ago | (#21065341)

Mining your IP address and OS version is nothing special, but TFS says that it also transmits information about your installed programs and connected hardware. That is a little more invasive than the info included in your headers.

Advertising (2, Funny)

niceone (992278) | about 7 years ago | (#21064995)

I find advertising pretty off-putting in the real world too. Just another reason to stay in the basement...

Cursor tracking (2, Interesting)

BlueParrot (965239) | about 7 years ago | (#21065041)

Taking bets on weather this will be seen as a reason to make the game "phone home" about what users "look at" in-game ? I'd expect them to track your cursor, camera angles, and zoom at the very least.

Re:Cursor tracking (2, Funny)

derfy (172944) | about 7 years ago | (#21065179)

What odds can you give me on a tornado?

Two Words (2, Interesting)

Dunbal (464142) | about 7 years ago | (#21065079)

This makes sense really, when you consider who is pushing for this:

Electronic Arts.

Yet another reason why I hope they will die a fiery death. I haven't bought an EA game since they bought/shut down GameStorm [wikipedia.org] because "gasp" it competed with "Ultima Online".

Beta Acceptance (1)

XenoPhage (242134) | about 7 years ago | (#21065145)

So, I was invited to take part in this particular Beta... But after hearing about the draconian EULA and now this, I'm not sure I have any interest... *sigh* I miss the days where I could Beta test something without having to worry about my privacy...

Spying (4, Insightful)

ChaoticCoyote (195677) | about 7 years ago | (#21065159)

I don't mind in-game ads, as long as they're inobtrusive.

I do mind giving EA and Flagship blanket permission to examine everything on my computer. READ what their "agreement" says -- they can mine your computer for whatever data they want, and give/sell it to whomever pays for it.

I keep sensitive business data, covered by NDAs, on my computer; I don't want anonymous strangers mining through my music, documents, source code, and data. Quite simply, the Hellgate: London agreement is completely unreasonable and dangerous.

Anyone who supports Free Software should understand the principles involved here, and refuse to accept Hellgate London on their computer.

What about the info? (1)

Jartan (219704) | about 7 years ago | (#21065181)

Let's not waste our anger on whether or not there are ads. The real problem is the bogus parts about them collecting some "anonymous" info.

According to wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Massive_Incorporated [wikipedia.org]

Second, the SDK is integrated with the game to act as a client to Massive's ad servers. It allows the game to fetch the ad, display it on a surface, and analyze how the player acts around it. Massive refers to this as "Phase II: Integration of the Software Development Kit (SDK)."

Oh and just to make sure we know who we are REALLY talking about here Massive is owned by everyones favorite software company to hate:
http://www.gamasutra.com/php-bin/news_index.php?story=9186 [gamasutra.com]

Re:What about the info? (1)

Aladrin (926209) | about 7 years ago | (#21065239)

You know what? What you just described... I don't mind. If they want to record that I spent 30 second staring at a billboard with Axe body spray, I'm fine with that. I'm fine with them logging my IP. (All of them probably do, anyhow.)

What I'm not fine with is then also taking down ANY information that is on my personal computer. They have no right to collect or use information about what hardware, software or data is on my computer.

It's a good thing I got tired of the same old MMO BS, because back when I was 'addicted' I probably would have played this crap anyhow. (That was like 10 years ago, for those who are counting.)

Re:What about the info? (0)

Pax681 (1002592) | about 7 years ago | (#21065369)

I AM one of the beta testers, the game itself is F*CKING fastastic. i truly enjoy it BUT you want to have seen all the groanojg on the beta boards when it was mentioned that EA had anything to do mwith it. the flagshp staff are cool abd do great work. EA have done nothing but piss people off since they had anything to do with the game. first off they have released a collectors edition EVERYWHEE BUT EUROPE and AUSTRALIA. the reason the EU and Australia don't get it? EA europe say that euros "DO NOT PRE-ORDER GAMES". this is a direct quote from the hellgate beta forums of the ea statement. so me being Scotland's curious george i phoned a couple of online etailars and asked how many pre-orders they had. one said they had 6,000 and expected to have around 8,000 by release. they said that EU wide they had a total of 30,000 with expectations of 40,000 by release. the other etailar told me that EU wide they had 35,000 pre-orders for hellgate london.... anyone else smell that EA eurpoe and just out to HUMP people by not offering them the funkynes in teh Collectors edition such as dye kit, pet, and most important of all FOUNDERS OFFER which is a beauty.. you get to pay a $150 fee and that's you got an elite acount(ie the pay to play aspect) for life(of the game) and pay's for itelf after a year basically. otherwise it's £6.99 per month or have a non elite account and only get 3 character slots and less funkyness. i also called EA UK in london and they never even had the good grace to get back to me, because they are assholes. now with this in game ads, does this make the game "ad-supported" and thus getting a revenue stream from those ads??? YES it does. ad-supported software is usually FREE but not with EA. they did it to BF series games and now they are trying to fuck up Flagship's wonderful game with their shitty evil business model. EA just want to fuck you for all the money they can and their support is CRAPIOCA! their is a fair deal of unhappy beta campers due to this and the collectors edition. such as shame, and i really mean this as tiggs and the rest of the flagship crew have worked really hard and have made a superb game only to have EA fuck them and the gaming public for it....

Re:What about the info? (1)

Pax681 (1002592) | about 7 years ago | (#21065389)

i might add that there are many more than the two e-tailors i contacted, just happens i contacted the biggest two that i have had dealings with so far

Information is money. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#21065203)

I'm upgrading my computer soon and Hellgate was on my wish list, even with the pay per month. I haven't read anywhere if there will be ads in the paid version but why would I pay 50$ + X$ per month and still receive ads?

And for any companies who think they can get away with this and try to justify it with the cost of running an infrastructure, they should have a long look at Guild Wars. That's how it should be done. Charge for extra content if people want it in the form of expansions, like it used to be.

I'm not gonna pay for ads, it's just not gonna happen. I fear the day we will have to run ad-blockers in our games. (I'm guessing people will modify their hosts files to block ads) But I'm more worry about my privacy than the ads. Why should they think they have a right to collect any information about me or my computer? Information is money, if they want it, they should pay me, not the other way around.

Nope (1)

kjzk (1097265) | about 7 years ago | (#21065237)

I won't be purchasing this game now.

Compared to EA... (1)

Eirenarch (1099517) | about 7 years ago | (#21065253)

Microsoft are just a non profit organization whose goal is to help orphans. Someone edit the Wikipedia article on Hellgate to reflect these news and see if they are gonna whitewash it. They did the same thing with the new Battlefield. Not to mention that for the last 10 years they've been selling the same FIFA, Need For Speed, NHL, NBA, etc. games and pretending they were new.

Ads in a game you pay for=Stealing (1, Insightful)

WCMI92 (592436) | about 7 years ago | (#21065299)

I expect ads in something I get for free, as in over the air radio or TV. But I don't in a video game I'd have to pay for.

A $50 game that I have to accept ads and spyware to play? No thanks. Sell it for $10 or give it away for free, and you might justify it.

Re:Ads in a game you pay for=Stealing (3, Funny)

aseth (893952) | about 7 years ago | (#21065337)

Just like how there are no ads on cable TV, right?

This is a surprise to whom? (1)

doug141 (863552) | about 7 years ago | (#21065327)

Just as advertising is all over the real world, so will it be all over the virtual one.

It's only in subways (4, Insightful)

krunk7 (748055) | about 7 years ago | (#21065347)

It's not that big a deal. Subways with bare walls would be very odd. Extremly odd and not even close to realistic. So you have a game whose environment includes add ridden subways (just like in real life). Now the developer has to ask a question: Which adds do we display in the subways? You can choose at random or you can do what the subways do: whoever pays.

If, for the sake of realism, you have to put adds in the subway stations, why not make money off of it? The game experience is the same, the only difference is instead of seeing "Moca Mola" and "Nickers" adds you see the same ones your used to in real subways (Coca Cola and Snickers).

Now if we started seeing the "Legendary Snicker Hammer of Pwnage" and the "Coca Cola Champion's Sword" I'd be put off....but this isn't the case at all.

Re:It's only your data (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#21065437)

Do you mind the game scanning your browsing history, documents, and other files for data to send off to the advertising companies?

hellgate beta (1)

SirSmiley (845591) | about 7 years ago | (#21065373)

I am a hellgate beta tester...and I have yet to play it. I signed up, got an account then read everything carefully and noticed EA's crap about ads...something which I quit BF2142 over. I do not need EA spyware on my pc.

Only Partially Bad (1)

snl2587 (1177409) | about 7 years ago | (#21065377)

Assuming that the ads are displayed on walls and such and not on the menus then the only problem I have with this game is that it, as others have said, "phones home". Frankly, in-game ads on the walls and such just make games more realistic to me. You can't go anywhere these days without spotting ads.

Re:Only Partially Bad (1)

Pax681 (1002592) | about 7 years ago | (#21065465)

[quote]Assuming that the ads are displayed on walls and such and not on the menus then the only problem I have with this game is that it, as others have said, "phones home". Frankly, in-game ads on the walls and such just make games more realistic to me. You can't go anywhere these days without spotting ads.[/quote] erm... in the "in game reality" the only adverts would be dated and fooked as there woud not be any companies still functioning... so it woudn't make it more real, except in the sense that EA like to fuck you!

Compared to DVD movies (1)

RealRav (607677) | about 7 years ago | (#21065421)

I do not see this trend ever stopping. Millions of DVDs are purchased that have intrusive ads that play before the movie. Some that can't even be bypassed. It may irk a percentage of the consumers(I'm one of them), but if you want the movie(legally) you just have to deal with it.

Close that gate (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#21065447)

Close that gate and to to hell.

It's the "EULA" (2, Interesting)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about 7 years ago | (#21065467)

If I don't like ads, I can always just not buy another product from that company. But a "EULA" that says you agree to it transmitting personal information to the company, telling it not just that you bought the game but when you are playing it??? I will pass on that one.

I do not know about game-specific retailers per se, but not one major software retailer in the United States (CompUSA, etc.) will give refunds for opened software. The software companies themselves encouraged that policy "to fight piracy". So statements in shrink-wrap EULAs to the effect that if you don't like the terms you should just return the product are misleading at best. If I were a judge, I would call it outright "fraud" because the software companies are well aware of that situation... they created it!
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