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Games Entertainment

In-Game Advertising Comes of Age 310

Posted by michael
from the real-reason-why-consoles-include-internet-access dept.
TotallyUseless writes: "Yahoo News is running a story about how in-game advertising is becoming more and more popular, and could become the norm soon. It is an interesting article and explains the reasons why game publishers and advertisers both see great potential in this." Bleh.
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In-Game Advertising Comes of Age

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    Mod parent down, it's goatsex, don't you moderators check these links!!!!!
  • by Anonymous Coward
    I HATE adverts..

    mind you, after playing GT and GT2 awhile, I decided to check out a real Subaru Impreza (7 in the GT garage) and decided hey! what a good car.

    So I'm getting one. Don't care how many GAP and COLA ads they put in a game, won't look, won't buy, won't wear, won't drink.

    Flame my ass, you'll have to catch me tho.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    The non-commercial network had an interesting frontline on how six compainies controle all youth marketing. Worth a look: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/cool / (your ad here)
  • by Anonymous Coward
    ...the fact that further down the article there's a reference to billboards in GTA3. Now forgive me if I'm mistaken, but I thought the whole point of the GTA franchise was car theft. Just a thought.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    It pissed me off when I have to wait through 8 seconds of loading to see the mandatory EA Sports animation so I can click start and sit through 8 more seconds of loading so I can click start again to skip their fucking intro movie. And then 8 more seconds to the actual main menu.

    The movie code is actually quite small. Most of the front-end and in-game code is being loaded before the movie, along with significant amounts of graphics data just after. Movies are streamed from the disk though, so the only load time is for what is played before you button through it. Also, PS2 seems to have fairly long seek times, so the arrangement of files on the disk (and the order they are loaded in) can make a big difference to load times. Also don't forget, the PS2 drive is faster than a PS1 (factor of 12?), but the amount of RAM has gone up even more (factor of 14?).

    Do you really think that we WANT to give you long loading times? The movie placement is partially a way to break up the long loading process with something hopefully interesting (although I've always wondered if the perception that ONLY the movie was loading was defeating the purpose). The logo splash is branding / advertising, which is kind of annoying, but we try to keep it short. I think most (OK, some) of us are aware that pissing off our customers is going to hurt repeat business, which is what we're advertising to get in the first place...

    Posting anonymously so my employer doesn't freak out...
  • From monkey island. This is nothing new.

    For the uninitiated, there was a pirate in one of the bars on melee island with a badge, reading "Ask me about loom". And there was a silly, yet amusing conversation you could have with him, about loom, funnily enough.
  • by Falrick (528)
    Movies have been doing this for years. Some do it cleverly so that you see the product but don't feel as though you just saw an advertisement for said product. "Oh, look at the computer that guy is using. Aw, that's a cute i-mac" They rely on the subconscious connection that you make between product and super-duper-computing-power. "Hey, if a mac was good enough for Sandra Bullock, its good enough for me."

    Then there are the not-so-clever advertisments in movies. Anyone here see Inspector Gadget? Wow. Blatant ad placement. Skittles, Coke, McDonalds, etc. All in the car. How sad.

    Then, you also have games that have done this as far back (perhaps further) as the original 8bit Nintendo. Anyone remember Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles? Every other picture in the game was an ad for Pizza Hut. That was too much. Why was there that much advertising for one company all on the same wall. There were other ways that the ads could have been worked in that wouldn't have been quite so anoying. I wouldn't have thought twice about it if I had seen coke machines in Shogo. But I did stop and take an extra look at them simply becuause they weren't Coke (or Pepsi, but mainly because they weren't Coke). I think that right there speaks to the level of penetration these products have in our lives.

  • by mAIsE (548) on Sunday April 08, 2001 @03:11PM (#306409) Homepage
    Take a look at the Gran Turismo series ( http://ps2.ign.com/games/13846.html )

    it definately IMHO adds to the realism of a game about a very comercial industry. This is already the best racing game for its physics and realism, I only hope the ad revenue makes it a better game.
  • ...all futuristic games can only have ads from Taco Bell.
  • I dunno.

    McDonalds, Coca Cola, Pepsi, 7-11, Nike, Taco Bell, Calvin Klein, McDonalds and McDonalds are on my permanent shit list, mostly because of their annoying and/or manipulative ads.

    I used to like Taco Bell until they came out with that friggin yapper dog.
  • Ah, but in that case the dumpster is the primary landmark, is it not? :)
  • That film is a product placement wonder of the world. Like the Pyramids.


    Did FedEx bankroll that entire movie by itself? I would think for a 2 hour FedEx commercial starring 2-time academy award winner Tom Hanks, production costs for the film should approach zero.

  • Yeah but...
    Say I'm an advertising rep for Tom's of Maine brand toothpaste, and I make a deal with EA that says in the upcoming Sid Meyer's Civilization 3, there will be an ancient civilization called "Tom's Toothpastians".

    Now, after the game CD's are pressed and distributed, I know that my cleverly placed ad is a permanent part of the game. Am I going to continue to pay for that ad? Not bloody likely!
  • Otherwise the companies might as well commit terrorist acts as a way of gaining publicity.


    Oh, now that's funny!

  • Sure as hell did! I had at least 4 people say to me "Hey, that's like Neo's 'phone", and ask to take a look at it.
  • by hatless (8275) on Sunday April 08, 2001 @04:26PM (#306422)
    First of all, as others here have noted, there have been ads in games for years now. The Red Bull ads in the second Wipeout game were among the more clever, but look at sports titles too. When you see Coke, Panasoinc, Valvoline and Reebok logos in racing games, those are paid ads. There has also been product placement in RPG games for a while.

    Michael, Michael, Michael. Do you have any idea how much it costs to create a new game these days? It's millions of dollars, often tens of millions. You want RPGs with giant worlds with realistic streets and buildings full of furniture,and knickknacks, and dozens of voice actors saying lines for a hundred or more animated characters? You want sports games where hundreds of motion-captured athletes are simulated down to physical tics, and cars are simulated from their oversteer and gear ratios to the pitch of their exhaust noise? Fine.

    Now bear in mind that the publisher is selling the game to retailers for less than half the suggested retail price--often much less, because they're also paying for shelf space and local advertising even beyond their own national ads. And that's the publisher. The developer, unless they're a one-stop shop like EA or Sega, gets a small fraction of that.

    You whine whine whine every time a game development shop you like gets bought out or goes out of business, and you whine whine whine when they try to sell ads to offset those insane development costs.

  • My flatmate is a big fan of rallying and racing games on his PlayStation. Consequently one of the games he likes is Colin McRae Rally 2. You get a selection of rally cars in the game - Evos, WRX's, and the Ford Focus. It just so happens that McRae drives a Focus...hence I find it rather suspicious that my flatmate reports the Focus is far less susceptible to damage than the other cars in the game.
  • by joshv (13017) on Sunday April 08, 2001 @03:15PM (#306425)
    Be cool if it were something like product placement ads in a movie. Someone drinking a coke, or wearing a T-shirt with a logo.

    Think about it, in an FPS, blowing away bad guys and monsters that are wearing corporate logo might be fun. "DIE Microsoft, DIE Target!!"

    -josh
  • by Graymalkin (13732) on Sunday April 08, 2001 @10:14PM (#306426)
    The reason for such blatant branding isn't all about advertising. In order to protect their fashion design the designers stylize their logo and stick it on their clothing. Tommy Hilfiger shirts are identified by not only their colours but their logo. Were the logo not there, anyone could make a similar shirt with a similar cut and sell it cutting in on Tommy Hilfiger's profits. By having a very marketable logo and stylizing it on products you prevent people from copying your style. It's VERY profitable and smart marketing dude. Clothing companies are good at it and thus make lots of money.
  • That's just the thing, though. You don't consciously pay attention. Heck, people haven't been consciously paying attention since way before there were invasive ad techniques. You think billboards leaped out in front of people's faces in the 1930s, 40s, 50s? Heck no. But the theory goes that people may not remember individual impressions, but over time, the image becomes ingrained in the subconscious--and when you're thirsty and indecisive, "Coke" suddenly comes into your mind.

    Of course, actually getting conscious attention does help, which is why people are always trying to make ads that do that--and they were even decades back--take the "Burma Shave" ad signs, for example. But just seeing the brands, logos, images supposedly implants a subconscious brand awareness that can be leveraged. That's why people still pay for banner ads even when the clickthrough rates are abysmal. (Though, given how they're beginning not to pay for banner ads, perhaps peoples' impressions of this are changing...)

    Anyway, the game designers aren't terribly stupid. I don't think they'll throw in any interruptive ads in anywhere except where they'd be displaying something non-game anyway (Half-Life's "Loading..." screen, for instance). If they did, then people simply wouldn't buy.
    --

  • Well, that's why the contract would specify a lump sum for product placement, more than likely, rather than a continuing thing--just like for in movies.

    And anyway, it's not unheard of for a game to be reissued with a sponsor (or other element) removed. Witness the old NES game Mike Tyson's Punch-Out! which subsequently became just Punch-Out! with a different boss at the end.

    But where period-licensed ads will really come into their own is in MMORPGs, such as Neocron [neocron.com], which I plugged in an earlier post. Since the game world is evolving and constantly changing, a billboard that's not rented can go back to being a fictitious corporation (or a "Want to advertise here? Call 1-800-XXX-XXXX!" notice) if the rent's not paid at the end of the period. If those help keep playing costs down, and can be kept "in-theme" as Neocron promises, I'm all for 'em!
    --

  • You do have to admit, though--System Shock 2 also had a lot of advertising in it, even if it was all for fictitious in-game products. Heck, the replicators advertised themselves every time you used one. And let's not forget the shopping mall level...
    --
  • surely a message not to do drugs, or to quit smoking, could be delivered in this speech (government departments advertise too remember).
    You mean like the ones that have been showing up on arcade games in "attract mode" for ages? Interesting thought, though I doubt people would care to be sermonized at every time they booted up a game--it's their choice to walk up to the game in the arcade, after all.
    --
  • by Robotech_Master (14247) on Sunday April 08, 2001 @04:02PM (#306433) Homepage Journal
    I rather think it's a neat idea, myself. I still remember back in Spy Hunter for the 8-bit NES, that there were billboards for Bally and Sunsoft and the like placed along the roads every so often. It sort of added to the verisimilitude [m-w.com] of the thing--you know, you see billboards when you're in the real world, why not billboards in a game world, too? There's no reason you have to pay any more attention to them there than you do in real life.

    What I find interesting is the idea of using that to make virtual worlds more lifelike. Sure, you wouldn't see an ad for Coca-Cola in Everquest or Asheron's Call without suffering a bit of disbelief--but imagine a futuristic cyberpunk virtual world project like Neocron [neocron.com], whose screenshots [neocron.com] already reveal advertisements for fictitious in-game products [neocron.com] like "Tyrell Bionic Implants". In fact, in the Miscellaneous section of their FAQ [neocron.com], they note:

    Are there any plans on how to keep the cost of the game down?
    There may be billboards around the city advertising "real" products, which will help to keep the cost down and give the game a more realistic touch. The billboard advertisements will fit in with the theme of Neocron.
    You see that? Not only will it reduce costs, and make the advertisers happy, it'll enhance the verisimilitude, the realism, of the game by making it seem more and more like you really are in such a city. I think that's all to the good.
    --
  • If it makes for better games and a less stressful development schedule, I think most development studios or publishers will sell a texture here and there. All you ever hear about games development is how hard & deadline-obsessed it is, and that this is very often the ruin of what might have been a good game if only they'd had a bit more cash to finish it properly. In-game ads can easily be done to a tasteful degree, without wrecking any atmosphere, as most people have pointed out, and indeed can save artists a lot of time-- can't imagine how many more backgrounds the Zool people would have painted if all those delicious Chupa Chups weren't floating around in the backdrops :-) For games where ads are intrusive, or people dislike them on principle, most PC games are easily patchable, but most people really won't care. So, ermm, yes. Hurrah for adverts if it makes for more good games.
  • It's kinda hard to know what to do about this -
    Buy stock in gaming companies...
  • Agreed. Had a good 1/1/99 on Red Bull and Vodka. Also, try some stuff made here (NZ) called "vitalise" or "V" - V+Vodka is quickly turning into the official drink of a lan parties. Good stuff, makes you talk bollocks though.

    Dave

  • Apparently, Red Bull had nothing to do with the placement - the developers just put it in. Red Bull didn't pay for the placement, nor did the developers pay a license fee.

    Wow! That is fscked! I guess the kudos count just went up.

    I guess they must have been drinking a lot of it on those late-night coding sessions...

    Yeah. That and the crack they were smoking. I wish even more that I'd been on that team.

    Dave
  • Zelda is near perfection? WHAT!?

    You like running back and forth across the same areas because the game design is such that any two consecutive events are the maximum distance apart? Or maybe you like running around pulling up bushes for hours collecting enough coins to buy some necessary item?

    Or, in Z64, perhaps you love the Tomb Raider-esque camera that swings around at inconvenient moments, rarely shows the things you need to see, and the hideous control system for manually moving the camera?

    Maybe it's the endless reflex-based puzzles in the middle of what's billed as an RPG or an adventure?

    How about the complete lack of customized character development?

    Zelda is a lousy game, loved only by people who haven't seen the depth that's possible in a PC game. (Where a save-game can store the state of the world, not just the number of EXP and GOLD that you found.)

    Seriously, in the adventure/rpg (well, almost anything except fighting or racing games) PCs blow away consoles.
  • Ad companies consider it a success whenever anyone recognizes their brands, regardless of what the opinion is...

    By their standards, you're a success story. Weird, no?

    I feel the same as you do. They may have achieved brand recognition, but I use that to avoid purchasing products from companies I dislike.

    I really should be more vocal about it, calling the 1-800 numbers of these companies and explaining why I'm not buying their products. Maybe they'd get the picture. But, I doubt it...

    I really think advertising is a scam; that the ad agencies have convinced companies that showing some droolers happily using a product is going to convince more people to buy that. Especially those lame commercials where they only name the product in the last second.

    But, maybe I'm odd - I don't buy by brand, I shop by price and features, as directly verified as possible. (ie, not "5/7 doctors prefer..." but "128MB of RAM". The only concession I make to brand shopping is to weed out the products of companies who use annoying advertising, or companies who hide product info. (Making it hard to comparison shop.)

    They can call me a success if they want, but all brand recognition lets me do is enter them into juckbuster.
  • by Muggins the Mad (27719) on Sunday April 08, 2001 @03:21PM (#306455)

    the income from ads will be used to reduce
    the price to the consumer...

    yeah.

    sure.

    It's kinda hard to know what to do about this -
    with TV when the ads become too annoying I just turn the TV off and go read a book or something.

    But a computer game - where I've already paid for it...

    I find this idea as offensive as the compulsory
    (no fast forward) advertising they put in DVDs.

    The only place I'd find it acceptable is in real-world simulations. Racing games, maybe flight sims, possibly some of the FPS's. Other games I play to *escape* the shit that's in RL, not immerse myself in more of it.

    - Muggins
  • Actually, it should be noted here that the Squaresoft game Parasite Eve 2 did in fact have Coca-Cola product placement.
  • i usually buy tshirts with nothing written on them at all. is there a reason for this? i dont think a multinational company like nike really needs my help. the greatest achievement of corporate america was to convince the general public that being a walking billboard is cool. now people actually pay to advertise for nike, tommy, levis, etc.

    use LaTeX? want an online reference manager that
  • by Azza (35304) on Sunday April 08, 2001 @04:34PM (#306463)
    Commercials influence you, whether you think you pay attention to them or not. And the most annoying ones are the most effective. Think about that for a second.
  • Yea, I noticed those Red Bull ads in Wipeout XL... mostly cuz I played it for 10 hours straight once. Awesome game. I wish I had that for the computer... (yea I know it was released on the PC, but it JUST wasn't the same)

    Yea, I also don't appreciate that "Oh god, not more ads" attitude. I've always LIKED advertisements... the less grating ones, anyway. Commercials can be entertaining, billboards can be eye-grabbing, etc. As long as they're not abrasive, they're fine. I think video game ads would be a good example of ads that would be less intrusive than most. And anything that reduces the cost of video games is OK by me :)
  • I don't know about the uneducated masses, but *I* expect impartial, unbiased, well-researched NEWS from my games. Filling them with ads just to lower the price would confuse the issue, and I would no longer be able to trust the impartiality of the gaming industry. What's the world coming to?

    Now, news sources such as /. ("*News* for Nerds. Stuff that matters") has every right to place ads in their pages and promote sales for other businesses (such as ThinkGeek.com). In fact, I expect it. When I go to a news site, I *want* the opinions of the editors, because to me, that's the "Stuff that matters"!
  • So Will Nike pay Nintendo who pays ID for Ash to wear a "Swoosh"(tm) hat on a billboard ad for Pokemon Stadium II in Doom 3?

    SuperID
    Free Database Hosting [freesql.org]
  • Already, several games contain faked advertising. Certain Counter-Strike maps contain billboards for imaginary products related to the game's fiction. These could easily be replaced with advertisements for real products. The Half-Life single player game starts with a monologue from a government employee - surely a message not to do drugs, or to quit smoking, could be delivered in this speech (government departments advertise too remember). There are also rolling advertisement banners in the coridoors as you progress through the game.

    Even Duke Nukem 3D had advertising for ficticious products - it wouldn't be hard to replace them with ads for real products in Duke Nukem Forever (the forever though seems to relate to how long we'll be waiting for it...).

    In fact, I'm sure that any game which takes place within a semi-realistic environment could easily be non-intrusively advertised in.

    My only question though is this: Would this makes games cheaper for the end-user, or would it simply mean that game developers would get more money for their efforts, with the gamer still paying "full price" for what is a advertising subsidised product.
  • by klund (53347) on Sunday April 08, 2001 @03:47PM (#306480)
    Advertising in games will provide another revenue stream for game creators. This effect will be very bad. Now instead of working on making the game better, game publishers will be concerned about hyping the game so they can get more ad revenue. "The most awaited game of the year!" "Give your ad budget to us!" Small publishers (read: creative publishers) won't get any of this money.

    Just think about all the ad revenue that daikatana could have pulled in. The hype was amazing... the newspaper articles, the fawning websites, the mention in Playboy... advertisers would have been falling all over themselves trying to get their product placement into daikatana... "I don't care if it sucks, I read about it in the New York Times!"

    It is a good thing that Ion Storm lost a bundle on daikatana. They should have. The game sucked. Romero is an idiot. Losing millions on the game taught them this lesson, that they won't soon forget.

    Advertising revenue would have reduced the power of the lesson. That would have been a BAD THING.
    --
  • Not.

    If there can be made more money from a game by advertising, that money will only pay for a bigger industry, more managers, shareholder value, whatever, the same way it is with music. Then, after the MPAA and the RIAA we'll have the CGIAA (Computer Gaming Industry ...) or something similar. Next one game will advertise the other and it's only money being pushed around in circles and the game itself being more expensive than before, because they need people to move all that money around, all kinds of lawyers and whatnot.

    Consumers should start to realize, that in the end they pay everything, all the advertising too. So even if it were true and Coca Cola payed half the game for you, you'd pay the Game little by little with each can of coke.
  • will Gamespy and the other mass information and preview "outlets" start warning us about ad-riddled games before we buy?
    I run GameSpy's 3D Action Planet [3dactionplanet.com], and, when I am given titles to review, we are supposed to discuss things that jump out at us, be it positive or negative. I can assure you that, if we see any advertising in a game, we will be sure to let you know! =)

    ------------
    CitizenC
  • But honestly, I think he has a point. I play a bunch of EA games on the PS2. Mostly Madden 2001 and Knockout Kings 2001. As the PS2 is DVD based, there ARE load times associated with animations, unlike cartridge based systems.

    It pissed me off when I have to wait through 8 seconds of loading to see the mandatory EA Sports animation so I can click start and sit through 8 more seconds of loading so I can click start again to skip their fucking intro movie. And then 8 more seconds to the actual main menu.

    I mean that's 24 seconds gone. Sit here and count slowly to 24. Can you honestly tell me you didn't stop before you got there? It's a long freaking time...

    Justin Dubs
  • by dimator (71399) on Sunday April 08, 2001 @03:46PM (#306495) Homepage Journal
    The only ads I pay attention to are A) Funny or B) During the super bowl (e.g. funny).

    We've become desensitized to pretty much all advertisements. Do you know what the ad at the top of this page is right now? You saw it, but you didn't notice. The first game to have ads might see success, but by the second game no one will notice the ads anymore.

    In addition, maybe I'm crazy, but I don't really make product choices based on what I see in ads (Except of course, Pepsi because of Brittney Spears!!! She's hot.)


    --
  • Please moderators, follow the friggin' links before you mod them up. Go take a look at that and see what you get. It's goatse.cx.
  • by humungusfungus (81155) on Sunday April 08, 2001 @04:52PM (#306500)
    You are in an open field west of a big white house with a boarded front door.
    There is a small mailbox here.

    >open mailbox

    The mailbox is overflowing with all sorts of gaudy mail with pictures of various commodities and colourful logos.
    You feel slightly uneasy...

    >run away

    You can't do that right now.

    >west

    You are standing in front of a McDonalds(tm) restaurant.
    There is a can of Coke(tm) here.

    >drink Coke

    It's very refreshing...

    >west

    It is dark here. You might be eaten by a grue(tm).
  • I would have no problems looking at in-game adds, if they weren't obtrusive. They of course also, to make me happy, would have to reduce the cost of the game if not give them away. I'd play more games if they cost $10 with ads instead of $50 without ads.
  • Never mind the cracks to defeat copy protection, I would imagine that people would be creating & downloading cracks just to disable the 2-minute long force-you-to-watch advertising sequence.
  • But they were all disapointed when it didn't eject? (If they were disappointed that they couldn't downlaod kungfu with it, then they may need help)

    I'm convinced that the Matrix is why Nokia put a sprung cover onto the 7110....

  • I think rather than reduce the price to the consumer, it will just add to the game's budget (whether that will be development, marketing, or other is a whole other issue) but it may allow for better tech in games, especially in smaller dev houses that really don't have the budget to make the full game they want. I wouldn't mind testefully placed billboards if they enhance realism and allowed the developers to make a cooler game.

    "I may not have morals, but I have standards."
  • Movies have had product placemnet ever since I can remember. Games haven't just started this though. If I remember right, there was actually a game put together by ford in which you drove guess what....Fords. Also, do you really think that the auto manufacterures didn't lobby game companies to put their cars in the game? Personally, to me, this will add realism. Instead of billboards for fake products, you have billboards for real products. Makes a whole lot of sense to me! Also, not sure if it will, but if they start getting ad revenue, then maybe they won't charge 50-60 bucks for a game. Now, I DO have a problem with buying a utility from norton and having an add take up screen space. Those products are worth their price while some games just aren't. Anyone remember Daikatana???? :)
  • No this one was more like driving on a real road, not a race track. It was either CGA or EGA graphics driving cars like the Taurus (when it first cam eout) and the Mustang on city streets. This would pre-date CD-ROMS even.
  • by sprayNwipe (95435) on Sunday April 08, 2001 @03:15PM (#306512) Homepage
    This isn't anything new. Wipeout (96?) had Red Bull ads in it, some of WildTangent's games have had banner ads in the loading screens, and online games like Trivial Pursuit Online and Flipside.com games have had mid-game full screen ads in them.

    There have even been full-length console games for which the sole purpose of them was to advertise - I think mainly of the "Cool Spot" and "Fido Dido" games for 7-up.

    Bleh, indeed. Whenever I see a game related topic on /., I always cringe, since it means either a whole bunch of misinformed posts are going to be created, or I'm going to have to read an article about something that happened ten years ago...
  • Return it as defective? and when the next copy they give you does the same thing, return it too. eventually the store may give you your money back.
  • Creating a good game requires talent, effort, more effort and some luck, not advertising. The instant money becomes the main factor, the game goes to hell (read: commercialized).

    - Steeltoe
  • Thanks, you just saved me a little money. I will not be buying a DVD player to replace my still working VCR until that little screw you goes away. Now I see the real reason DeCSS was squashed.

    Of course, I should have known it would be that way. Some dumb asses think adverts should be put everywhere. Commercial free telivision? Sure, it's called cable, just pay us $40/month and... right!

  • Ah, but you're missing the point. Sure the logo enables arbitrary price rises but the price rise is the reason for the logo. By wearing logoed clothes, you are saying "Look at me, I have disposable income to wasteon irrelevancies, I'm a good catch". Think peacocks. Those large tailfeathers serve no practical purpose and they don't come for free either you know.

    Perhaps you don't wear designer clothes, I know I don't. it would be interesting to have divined the reason why geeks tend not to wear designer. Is it because we're too tight? Do we view such purchases on a more intellectual level than the "peacocks" (i.e. by giving my money to designer labels, I am just increasing the designers ability to attrct mates)? Are we not so interested in attracting mates or perhaps we would rather divert the effort (money, energy) into other mate attracting strategies [And this may be more subtle than just thinking that Chicks dig Athlons].

    Rich

  • Bought gray or just gone gray with usage?

    Rich

  • >My only question though is this: Would this makes games cheaper for the end-user, or would it simply mean that game developers would get more money for their efforts, with the gamer still paying "full price" for what is a advertising subsidised product.

    Or, maybe we will get riskier games that don't cater to the lowest common denominator. Where are the nerd and geek games? The reason they don't exist is that the market for them is too small to bother with. By factoring in the extra revenue of in-game adverts, these niche markets could become financially viable.
    --

  • This sounds like another one of those desperate revenue-generating ideas we're seeing from dot-coms on the way down.

    That said, it's embarassing that a sports game or a racing game requires ads to make it look real, because the sports world is so ad-saturated. However, in some genres, ads would look stupid. It's hard to imagine ads for real products in American McGee's Alice, Ultima Online, or a Star Wars game. So there's hope.

  • by Nameles (122260) on Sunday April 08, 2001 @05:18PM (#306534) Homepage
    In Japan only, Final Fantasy 9 was sponsored by Coca-Cola, and they had a 15 and 30 second TV ad that showed the characters running through one of the major towns in the game chasing after a shining Coke bottle cap. TheGIA [thegia.com] has the commercials, sorry, no direct links. (URL is www.thegia.com)
  • by legLess (127550) on Sunday April 08, 2001 @04:12PM (#306538) Journal
    The most frightening aspect of this is what's going to happen in 10 years when game developers are dependent upon corporate advertising. What happens now when a major sponsor pulls ads from a TV show? The show dies (c.f. Dr. Laura's show, recently cancelled). It's often happened that a network has pulled or altered a show to suit major sponsors.

    Could this happen to a game? hard to say. TV is very advertising-dependent, and game development seems more like movie-making. But check this out (from the story):
    "Our expectation is, we'll cover the cost of the games where we do the in-game advertising, partly because of the large audience we're able to realize."
    (John Riccitiello, EA president)
    Here's EA straight-up planning to use advertising as a prime source of game funding. Will this be reflected in better contracts with content producers? Yeah ... hold your breath.

    question: is control controlled by its need to control?
    answer: yes
  • by ejbst25 (130707) on Sunday April 08, 2001 @03:12PM (#306540) Homepage
    In the next Zelda, we will be fighting a giant ogre brought to you by Microsoft. :-) Kinda symbollic....
  • I remember playing Wipeout on the Playstation when I didn't even know what Red Bull was.

    It will make car racing games more realistic. Instead of driving under a big tyre on pit straight that says "Dunlopo", you get real brand names.

    Who cares if advertising is on the walls of 3D games? It's on all the walls in Real Life (tm). But if I ever hit a puzzle in System Shock 2 where the only way to continue is to rewire the door lock to spell "Coke is It", I'll start fighting.
  • I actualy trained myself NOT to buy branded products. When i have to take a shopping decision i will force myself to ignore the item from the brands i know more about. The more i've heard about a brand the more likelly it is that i will exclude it from my shopping list.

    The reasoning behind this is simple: Branding serves to increased the percieved value of a product without increasing it's real value. Thus a strong brand allows a manufacturer to sell a product for more money than competing products of the same quality which have a weaker brand.

    As a consumer, buying strongly branded products means paying more for the same level of quality.

    As an example of this, consider the fact that Levi's jeans have increased it's price to about 10 times it's price in the beginning of this century (already corrected for inflation). This information was taken from an article in "The Economist" but i don't remember in which issue (the initial value was taken from a expenses form of a correspondent in the US)

  • Actualy i do it for all sort of things (not just for clothing).

    Your point is very interesting.

    I would like to add that you can also dress-up quite elegantly without using (almost none) branded clothing. I would say there are more than one type of "peacock", the visibly-strong-branded-clothes ones being the less evolved (as compared to the elegantly/fashionably dressed ones).
    Maybe this derives from the fact that the sort of clothes one finds stylish while in our teens is completly different from the sort appreciated later on in life (but not so late as to having to use a cane).

  • by silicon_synapse (145470) on Sunday April 08, 2001 @04:32PM (#306553)
    I wouldn't mind that so much if they were to make the billboards destructible. Finally show your true feelings about having to watch ads for feminine heigene products.


    --
  • When I first started reading the article I thought: "As long as they keep it out of Everquest". Well, right there the article says possibly Everquest. I mean, seriously, how will they fit product placement in a fantasy RPG? If it's going to be possible to buy a six pack of Pepsi, then I want to be able to name my character "Bob".

    This just proves that advertiser's are clueless about their audiences. It's the reason we have so many lousy commercials on TV.

  • by AntiNorm (155641) on Sunday April 08, 2001 @03:29PM (#306559)
    I mean, we're forced to have ads in the games, why should we have to pay to get ads??

    Same reason you pay for newspapers/magazines/etc. The advertising subsidizes it. IOW, if the ads weren't there, it'd cost a lot more. For example, without advertising, your average newspaper would cost around $5 (rough estimate). But add in ads and you get a 90% discount.

    ---
    The AOL-Time Warner-Microsoft-Intel-CBS-ABC-NBC-Fox corporation:
  • You forget the king of in-game advertising: Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1&2 - they got advertisers to sponsor tournaments in-game, skateboards, ramps, shoes, clothes, and so on. A pity they did it to such a fun game, too. Now all they need for the next game is naming tricks after sponsors. The "Lazy-Ass-Grind" would become something like the "Levi's-sit-on-your-skateboard-Grind."

    Tell me what makes you so afraid
    Of all those people you say you hate

  • by bonzoesc (155812) <bkerley.brycekerley@net> on Sunday April 08, 2001 @04:32PM (#306561) Homepage
    Maybe music. Wesley Willis [wesleywillis.com] is a pioneer in this field, even though he probably doesn't get paid for it. Every song of his ends with "Rock over London/Rock on Chicago/Wal-Mart/It's always the low prices." (The ad depends on the song, of course.)

    Tell me what makes you so afraid
    Of all those people you say you hate

  • Wrong, They've been putting them before the main menu and disabling the options to skip to the main menu. Believe me, it's making me sick again just thingking about it.
  • by /dev/urandom (167536) on Sunday April 08, 2001 @04:49PM (#306572)
    "While you load your saved game, why not load up on delicious Campbell's soup!"

    "Great screen shot you just took. Speaking of screen shots, nothing takes shots like the new Kodak l33tz0r 3000 Camera!"

    "Star Trek: Borg Invasion is loading, please wait. And now an advertisement from our sponsor, Microsoft..."
  • These ads have already been in place for a long time.

    That's an understatement. Pole position (all the way back in 1982) featured an in-game billboard for Centipede.

  • I always enjoyed Fallout's ads that they had... eg, a billboard for Razor blades is why a local gang named themselves the Razors.

    Another ad was for a Chrysalys (I think) car that was 100% analog.

    Some of the stuff is in the cut scenes, and helps place the game in a time period, while others are found while playing the game and help enhance the feel of being in a real location.

    Cool stuff.

    Plus, the Fallout ads always had that "nostalgic" touch to them, while still maintaining the subtle humor of the whole game. Great game.

    Check out Fallout: Tactics, for those you who haven't seen it yet. And pick up a copy of Fallout 1 & 2 off of eBay for a song. I'm currently addicted to FO:T...
  • I remember "Bad Dudes" for the NES had a powerup that was a coke can. How did I know it was a coke can? It had the distinctive curved stripe on it. The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles games for the NES also had a lot of ads for Pizza Hut in them. It didn't detract from the game although to me it seemed a little silly at the time.
  • This has been in arcade games for years...
  • Well, if you use Dr. Laura as an example, you may in fact be saying that games that suck will get cancelled. Maybe not so different from today?
  • What would you do if you could locate and modify the source images used to generate the ads? Make them a uniform color? Change them all to a camoflauge (sp?) pattern? Pr0n?

    Seems to me with the collective knowledge and hacking skills out there, it probably wouldn't take too long for someone to circumvent these ads.

    Any /.'ers know if this has already been done? Start sharing them around the 'net and who knows -- we might have new "skins" for games? Oh, right. DMCA -- would that apply here?

  • You can't have advertising in a computer game!

    Before long, things could get out of hand, with whole games and television series telling children that they have to 'catch 'em all!(tm)', and that if they don't purchase every last related toy they'll never be a 'Pokemon master'(tm)!

    Then, once they've bought all 150, they'll bring out another 150! It would be terrible!

    --

  • by Cardhore (216574) on Sunday April 08, 2001 @04:48PM (#306607) Homepage Journal
    I wouldn't mind having ads in games...I wish that game companies would stop advertising the game and game systems themselves inside the game! I've alread bought the game and the system; I don't need to be reminded of those things every time I play. By that I mean not constantly telling me that I'm playing "NBA 2k" on SEGA brand SEGA genesis. I mean, remember the original game boy and how it said "nintendo" when you turned it on? It was annoying because you'd have to watch that every time!(And it took a while.) Then there was sega genesis...the EA sports games always had real long intro scenes. You'd see "SEGA Genesis" followed by "Licensed by SEGA", etc. as if I didn't know which system I was using or what game I was playing.
  • by NNKK (218503) <nknight@runawaynet.com> on Sunday April 08, 2001 @05:23PM (#306608) Homepage
    non-intrusive billboard-style advertising, what's the problem again?
    we've had corporate logos and such in games for YEARS, the fact that it's now paid advertising merely means more funding to create better games, and I'll bet you it's a hell of a lot more effective than ad banners, and it doesn't eat up bandwidth, and again, it's non-intrusive, and infact could add another element to the game... I mean say you've got a bright red coke sign, if your opponent in black is standing right infront of it, you've got a perfect target, right? (actually this is a real example... there's a bright red sign in the Action Quake2 map urban, and people are constantly hooking on to it on the server I play on and giving me a perfect target)
  • - Piracy is on the rise, or at least remaining very high. As internet connections become faster it is also becoming easier to download games off the internet.

    - Game advertising does not have to subtract from the game and if used intelligently can add to the game!

    - If your income depends solely on advertising, you no longer need a distributer or publisher... no more middle-men.

    The big problem with the model of having advertising as part of game content from which you recieve your sole income is that your audience is LIMITED. At first glance it would seem that you'd actually reach a wider audience by giving away your game for free however what people fail to realize is that only the "hardcore" (I use that term loosely in this context) gamers would actually visit the website and download an entire game.
    The other problem is that since there is no publisher any advertising for the game is the developer's responsibility.

    Ultimately though, when I play a game and I see a billboard, I'd much rather see a Coke ad on it as opposed to a made up Cola.
  • ''Bottom line,'' notes Sean Wargo, a senior analyst with NPD Intelect, ''gamers are a focused and dedicated consumer segment that is ripe for the picking.''

    This attitude towards people is really annoying and insulting. We're not fruit, and we're not something to just be harvested. We'll end up really being that way sometime soon though if this continues.
  • by Kasreyn (233624)
    Try Diablo one. THAT's what Diablo II would have been, if it hadn't sucked.

    The Baldur's Gate games are an attempt at an RPG for the PC; a weak attempt, but like democracy, better than everything else that's been tried. ;)

    Diablo was an action adventure game, a fact which has escaped many people. It is in NO sense a role playing game. I've been playing Diablo 1 on battle.net for almost 3 years now, and I can assure you of this. Diablo characters are not roleplayed at all, they are treated like avatars of the players. I've met maybe 5 roleplayng Diablo players, ever.

    Diablo 2 is an action game much like Diablo 1, except with all the fun and challenge removed. Whee. I don't feel like re writing it all here, and it's offtopic enough as it is. But if you're interested, here's my take on The real reasons D2 sucks [slashdot.org]

    And of course, if we're talking about truly innovative and cool games, nothing more need be said than, "Black & White".

    -Kasreyn
  • If that was product placement, it sure failed like hell. There was no glimpse of the logo or anything to let you know they were Nokias. The fact of the matter is, product placement is only effective when it's blatant; either blatantly in your face, or blatantly saturated so you subconsciously get used to seeing it everywhere. And either type is extremely annoying.

    -Kasreyn
  • I loved Baldur's Gate, it's a great game. It's the closest to being a computer role playing game that any game had gotten to that point. However, even saying that, it's not really a true roleplaying game. My paraphrase was from the old political saying, "Democracy is the worst system, unless you count all those other systems that have been tried from time to time." The quote is in favor of Democracy.

    BG & BG2 are great games, but they, like Diablo, still have a long way to go before they are truly roleplaying games. The D&D license was cool (the fire dragon movie clip for TSR ruled), and the game engine was nice, but it still lacks what a true computer rpg will have to one day have - really, really, REALLY good AI. In fact, true AI would be required - you have to have a sentient DM to have a real roleplaying experience. =)

    Cheers,

    Kasreyn
  • You want to get away from real life? Read a book...
    You want to have fun with your friends? Practice a sport...
    You want to whine whine whine about the subject? Just keep your actual life style...


    Well, THAT tells me about zero useful information.
    There were once no ads online. Now there are. If more people read books, I can guarantee you there would be ads on book covers and ads halfway through the pages. And playing sports, one is subjected to an amazing number of nike and adidas logos.

    Please, give me a break. No one lifestyle is better than any other. And I feel I have a right to complain, having paid for internet service and having nowhere agreed that that service in any way involved my having to look at ads, and now it's being forced upon me. Before long, there will be nowhere left to escape from them on the internet, which is why I recommend everyone use ad-blocking software (for as long as it remains legal, considering the way corporations currently have the reins of the government).

    Yes, reading a book is fun. I've been reading for pleasure all my life. It's a great way to "escape". But the internet isn't an escape, you doofus - it's how I stay in touch. News, email, chat, discussions, research. Who needs Napster and other timewasters when there's so much to LEARN?

    -Kasreyn
  • Of course the nastiest thing about mobile phone use in The Matrix is the way the whole team use Nokias, except the backstabbing turncoat who has a Motorola!


    Damn, I can't tell if you're joking, I need to rewatch the scene where Cypher ditches his cell in the trash to see for myself. That little Motorola rat bastard!! j/k

    But actually, even though there were good shots of the phones (as I now realize on taking a careful rewatch), it still never registered on me, and I think I know why.

    Some things are so homogenized that all examples of the art are the same, at least to the uninitiate. To most everyone, any facial tissue is a "kleenex". This is regardless of the fact that to some people, certain other facial tissues are far superior.

    To me, all phones are alike. They all do the same thing, and in my experience, there's no real difference in how or how well they do it. To those who know and care about them, they might notice branding on cellphones. To me, it's just "a phone", a prop used in the movie. And to be honest, I think Nokias might be what a crowd of underground hacker-ish guerillas might use, but that's just in my uneducated opinion.

    I think the only time product placement really hurts a movie is when it's done at the expense of plot or believability. If Neo had paused in Bullet Time, taking a break from grappling with the Agent so he could suck down a cold, refreshing Coca-Cola, then that would be stupid. But we don't see anyone screaming about product placement when we have that long scene showing all the military hardware Neo is carrying (the opening-the-trenchcoat-"whoah" scene).

    Product placement, to rephrase, is only bad when it is done to the extent that it detracts from plot or believability. That is to say, it is only bad when it is used effectively (because if it just blends in to the background, no one will notice it). I think some people should get off their high horses and realize that some things need to be included for believability.

    However, I will check up on that motorola cell for Cypher. If so, that IS kinda low. =P

    -Kasreyn
  • by Kasreyn (233624) on Sunday April 08, 2001 @03:20PM (#306627) Homepage
    Adds Heather Berry, editor at Happypuppy.com, a gaming fan site, ''If gamers like the game, they don't care about the product placement.''
    So I guess I'm in the minority there, too. Wow, do I ever have the market cornered on THAT one! But, seriously, what I'm wondering is, will Gamespy and the other mass information and preview "outlets" start warning us about ad-riddled games before we buy? If not, there will soon be a need for a game ad warning site, where they list the newer titles and how invasive the advertising is. With that on our side, it will be possible to boycott the companies doing this. If not, then you wouldn't know until you played it that a game pauses every 5 minutes to show you an ad for a fscking burger.

    -Kasreyn
  • The article mentions streaming ads off a Doubleclick server onto in-game billboards. If that server goes down, will we still be able to play the game? If it gets slow, will the game slow down or freeze waiting for the ad to load?

    I can see lots of script kiddies not liking this idea and attacking the ad servers for their games.
  • by byronbussey (238252) on Sunday April 08, 2001 @03:17PM (#306630) Homepage
    Me a Mario!! I shop at the GAP, and jump a super high in my Nikes. I have to save Princess Britney Spears from the clutches of the evil coke can, but need to collect all the Pepsi Products before I have enough energy to take on the darkest evil in the universe.


  • As far as I'm concerned, I'll NEVER buy a game that has in-game advertisements that are of any sort of intrusive or interruptive nature (IE, anything more blatant than playing a baseball game that may have, say, a Coca-Cola logo on the outfield wall).

    I do not believe that in-game ads will work, as people who pay money for a product do not expect to have to "sit through commercials" to play. And you know that it will go that way, even though they may be unobtrusive and uninterruptive at first... Marketers live for the scenario of locking you in a chair with your eyes forced open and locked on their ad. Internet banner advertising, which is relatively unobtrusive, in their minds has "failed" and even now they are implimenting MORE obtrusive, interruptive and annoying internet advertising.

    Unless game publishers start giving games away, I don't believe the public will accept ANY KIND of interruptive advertising in the game. It's a catch 22... I dont' think the marketers will go for non-interruptive ads, and I don't think the public will long tolerate games (that cost upwards of $50-60 a pop, which is on average 2-3 times the cost of a VHS or DVD movie, which the public so far has not tolerated interruptive ads in) that feature interruptive ads.

  • "But, seriously, what I'm wondering is, will Gamespy and the other mass information and preview "outlets" start warning us about ad-riddled games before we buy? If not, there will soon be a need for a game ad warning site"

    An EXCELLENT point! I think, at first, the commercial mags and review sites WILL warn people of annoying, or invasive ads. But, as history has shown, as ownership interlocks with other corps that have a vested interest, what you get is the sharp decline in the honesty (and credibility) of reviews, etc as happened in the computer mags after Ziff-Davis took over everything. ZD's reviews and articles are BLATANTLY biased towards their advertisers, which is one reason why I dumped my subscription to Computer Gaming World (which used to be my favorite magazine) when ZD took them over.

    Fortunately, the web makes such things irrelevant. The web allows anyone to publish anything they want and have it accessable to the whole world. Although, only those who WISH to be informed (like us, the geeks who read /.) will be.

    I'm certain that there WILL be such sites that will warn of interruptive ads in games. If there isn't one, I'll start one myself :)


  • "As if gamers actually pay attention to surroundings in the game while playing. You couldn't even ask me the color of the sky in the last level of Quake I played, how the heck am I going to remember what product a billboard displayed?"

    You are, of course correct. Which is why this scheme, as stated in the article, WILL NOT WORK! What will happen is that someone will try invasive, interruptive type ads that FORCE you to see it. That's the only scheme the marketers will ultimately go for.

    And hopefully, it will cause the sales of wahtever game that incorporates such advertising to plunge. After all, wouldn't you be pissed off if you were playing Quake V only to have your game frozen just as you were about to frag your opponent to make you watch a Nike ad?

  • "I mean, radio has a lot of commercials, and we don't pay for it!"

    That is on it's way.... "Digital" satellite radio (by Sirus and XM) which is about to come out is subscription only... And XM (partly owned by Clear Channel, a huge radio megacorp that is pioneering the 20-commercials in a row that is driving people AWAY from radio) WILL have commercials...

  • Don't underestimate the subtle power of proper placement. Advertisements can be displayed at crucial waypoints or conveniently located near a significant landmark - "Team Alpha, meet me at the Coke sign beside the dumpster" - when you're playing games you don't tune out as you might when watching television, otherwise you might get your head served to you on a virtual platter.
  • by DragonPup (302885) on Sunday April 08, 2001 @03:11PM (#306675)
    "Smith And Wesson shotguns! As seen in Quake IV!"

    -Henry
  • by DennyK (308810)
    This isn't really a new concept, and I think that as long as any advertising is used tastefully and, most essentially, FITS IN with the gaming environment, there is no problem. Any game set in a realistic modern environment, for instance, could benefit from having realistic advertising in that environment (billboards, etc.). However, if these companies start including ads that disrupt the game environment, that's a different story entirely - but with the importance of having a game sell well and the abundance of Internet review sites to forewarn potential customers of irritating advertising in a game, I doubt we'll see many companies trying that...especially not after the first attempt or two fails spectacularly... ;)

    DennyK
  • Agree Agree Agree! Sometimes I wonder if anyone on /. even plays games, or those that do, if they've been playing for longer than 2 years.

    I'm remembering Kool-Aid man and Chase the Chuckwagon for Atari. I'm remembering every single licensed movie/tv show/toy line video game.

    None of this is new, in fact I'd say Crazy Taxi is a hell of a lot less intrusive than that insipid Fido Dido game. Or Pokemon for that matter, which is basically just a videogame commercial for all the related merchandise. Hell, Humpty's (Canadian restaurant chain, think Denny's) of all places sells a video game based on their mascots.

  • Your attitude might be justified if it were down to goodwill on the part of publishers, but it isn't; it's a question of market forces.
    What goodwill? I've already seen many movies, tv-series and games with advertising here and there, price being the same than others' without ads. They're lying here like allways with these things and we're used to their lies.

    Prices won't be reduced, they'll just say those earnings/savings go into developement "so consumers get better products". BULL!

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