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PC Games (Games)

Full-Motion Ads Come to Videogames 486

Posted by Hemos
from the the-joy-of-games dept.
Carl Bialik from the WSJ writes "'Advertising in videogames, dominated in the past by static ads such as billboards and signposts, is beginning to look more like TV commercials,' according to the Wall Street Journal. Massive, the company that brought still ads to videogames last year, is now introducing full-motion ads to PC-based games (not yet console titles). Massive CEO Mitchell Davis 'says Hollywood movie studios have shown particular interest in running 15-second movie trailers in online games.' Also of note: 'One problem with the full-motion ads is that gamers can easily avoid watching them. The full-motion ads start playing when a player moves near the ad spot on the screen -- and stop playing when the player moves away. As a result, gamers may see only a few seconds of the 15-second ads. Massive says it won't charge advertisers unless the full ad has been viewed.'"
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Full-Motion Ads Come to Videogames

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  • by It doesn't come easy (695416) * on Monday July 25, 2005 @12:36PM (#13157110) Journal
    Player: "Oops, time out while I take 15 seconds to watch this ad..."

    Game Narrator: "As you stand in the same spot for 1.3 seconds, the demon from hell rips your head off and tosses your mangled body over the nearby cliff. Alas, you find yourself dead at the bottom of the ravine. Better luck next time."
  • by BlackCobra43 (596714) on Monday July 25, 2005 @12:36PM (#13157113)
    ..of "Ad locations" maps will flourish alongside this intiative. That, or mods to remove them altogether. Although that might chnge the game rating....
    • I have to wonder is any Microsoft published games will include tracking software to send the gamer's general PC activity back to further customize the ads beyond the demographic for the game.

      That would be scary, games inharmoniously welded to adware. ::shudder::
  • A good thing too (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Yey, more lag!

    Can't get enough!
  • Privacy (Score:5, Insightful)

    by wideBlueSkies (618979) * on Monday July 25, 2005 @12:37PM (#13157123) Journal
    >>Massive says it won't charge advertisers unless the full ad has been viewed.'"

    And how do they intend to track this? This is pretty scary. I kind of thought that the purpose of gaming servers was to facilitate gaming and interaction between players...not to monitor their activity.

    Where does one draw the line as to what is and isn't monitored?


    • RTA - The ads they're talking about are to be displayed in ONLINE games -- you're already connected and being tracked as a part of the game.
      • I don't agree with you.

        Sure I am connected and being tracked within the rules of playing a game. However my behaviour should have no relevance in the 'real world'. The data used to track my online position (for collision detection, etc) should die with the end of that game loop (once the packet has been consumed by the game engine).

        The only exception to this is still game related: Performance stats. Kills/deaths, win/lose, etc.

      • Before you tell the parent to read the article, it would probably be good of you to actually read his post where he already acknowledges what you said.
    • by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Monday July 25, 2005 @12:47PM (#13157253)
      Their server, their rules. I personally always assume that when I'm playing on someone's game server they know everything I do in that game universe. For MMORPGs, that's pretty literally true. They have a rather massive database of what happens so they can track down bugs and exploits.

      You have no right to privacy on other people's property. If you come to my house and find microphones and cameras setup everywhere you are welcome to leave, but you cannot pretend like you have some right to stop me from monitoring you.

      If it bothers you, don't play games that use this service, there are plenty that don't. For that matter, there are plenty of games that are offline, they never even try to contact anything on the Internet.
      • >>You have no right to privacy on other people's property.

        Good point. I forgot about that.

        But there is nothing stopping big brother from 'asking' for the privately collected data. For whatever reason.

        Granted, we are talking about someting reltively trivial: Online gaming. It's not too important in and of itself. However, I am opposed to the bulk gathering of data about people in any form.

        Maybe I sould like a tin foil hat, paraniod kind of guy, but I don't like being watched. There's no way of know
        • But there is nothing stopping big brother from 'asking' for the privately collected data. For whatever reason.

          A lot of issues very quickly demonstrate how we should limit the government (Federal in particular) rather than placing limits elsewhere.

      • by gosand (234100) on Monday July 25, 2005 @01:44PM (#13157761)
        If it bothers you, don't play games that use this service, there are plenty that don't. For that matter, there are plenty of games that are offline, they never even try to contact anything on the Internet.

        1. As long as they make people CLEARLY aware that this is happening. Which they wouldn't, since most people would then avoid it. There's a reason we had to resort to a do-not-call list in the country, and a reason that advertisers are trying to get rid of it.

        2. My concern is not that people will realize how this is an invasion and avoid these games. It is that people won't care and support it anyway, proving it is a valid form of advertisement. I don't worry about people who hate this kind of crap, I worry about the ones who don't hate it. The ones who respond to spam, the ones who click on popups, the ones who give away personal info for a shiny new pen. Those are the people who are aiding in the proliferation of this crap.

      • You have no right to privacy on other people's property.

        Funny, I usually play games in the privacy of my home, rather than at the publisher's premises.
  • by Z0mb1eman (629653) on Monday July 25, 2005 @12:37PM (#13157124) Homepage
    Whatever happened to suspension of disbelief? Games are generally supposed to happen in their own world - especiall online games... how can viewing a movie trailer for a real-life movie possibly fit in with the game world?
    • by KDR_11k (778916) on Monday July 25, 2005 @12:45PM (#13157224)
      "suspension of disbelief" is not profitable.
    • how can viewing a movie trailer for a real-life movie possibly fit in with the game world?

      Just modify the ad to work with the game. i.e. Have an Orc drinking Pepsi, or a Space Captain stating that he loves the classic flavor of Coke. Game designers have been parodying ads in video games for quite awhile. Why not make them real ads with a twist? ;-)
  • Here's hoping those in the gaming community more skilled than myself will be releasing patches for these games to remove the ads.
  • Massive says it won't charge advertisers unless the full ad has been viewed.

    And they know this how? Sounds like adware/spyware on my PC -- again.

  • kind of ridiculous (Score:5, Insightful)

    by glassjaw rocks (793596) <bkienzle@gmail.3.14159com minus pi> on Monday July 25, 2005 @12:38PM (#13157134)
    So, basically what you're saying is that the 40 gb hard drive I have now will be filled up with advertisements? And furthermore, shouldn't I be able to have a game that's free of advertisements, seeing as I allready paid $49.95 for the game?
    • by pete6677 (681676)
      I think what will determine how well these ads are accepted by consumers as a whole will be the level of intrusiveness. If the ads are shown in the background without interrupting game play, which appears to be the case, I don't think people will object. What's the difference between having an ad as the background or having a brick wall? If the game were interrupted for a 1 minute "commercial break", that's a different story.

      I agree with what you're saying, in that people shouldn't have to pay to be advert
      • If the ads are shown in the background without interrupting game play, which appears to be the case, I don't think people will object.

        What planet are you from? The whole POINT of an ad is to interrupt whatever you are doing.

    • by Politburo (640618)
      So, basically what you're saying is that the 40 gb hard drive I have now will be filled up with advertisements?

      No, that's not what they're saying. What's ridiculous is your hyperbole.

      Does it suck? Yes. Do you have to take it? No. If you don't like it, don't play the games with ads.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 25, 2005 @12:38PM (#13157136)
    It's true. :-(
  • by Kenja (541830) on Monday July 25, 2005 @12:38PM (#13157142)
    Unless the game is free, there should be no adds. If there are adds in the game and there was no warning on the box I would look into a law suit. I'm 90% sure there are disclosure laws that cover this kind of thing. And of course if there is a warning on the box that the game has adds in it, I wont be buying it.
  • Because when I buy a game at full price, and then pay the full price monthly fee. I can tell that am I getting the best discount for being used as marketing research. Oh and I love ads too, just wanted to add.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Anyone besides advertising execs would want this in a game? It sucks to think that consumers and developers will actually put up with this, although there's no doubt they will for the following reasons:

    Producers like money.
    Developers want to keep their jobs.
    Consumers just don't know any better.

    Those pretty much describe the driving forces behind the game industry today, and it's sad that it's so obvious and so unchangeable.
  • by Some_Llama (763766) on Monday July 25, 2005 @12:40PM (#13157158) Homepage Journal
    Leela: "Didn't you have ads in the 20th century?"

    Fry: "Well sure, but not in our games! Only on tv and radio...and in magazines...and movies. And at ball games, on buses, and milk cartons, and t-shirts, and bananas, and written on the sky. But not in games! No sirree."

    Chalk one up for marketing progress!!!
  • by Coventry (3779) * on Monday July 25, 2005 @12:40PM (#13157164) Journal
    Instead of placing ads IN the game's content, why not play them while levels are loading? It seems modern games like Doom3 and Half-life 2 take well over 15 seconds to load a level anyway. Instead of just a bland progress-bar you could be watching an AD.

    In-game ads would be easier to avoid (don't go near the creek unless you want to watch an ad for the dawson's creek DVD), but would IMHO be much more disruptive to the imersion of the game. Loading screens already hurt (KILL) imersion, so you might as well throw an ad up to take my attention away from watching the progress bar slowly move.
  • Best idea evar (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Monkelectric (546685) <slashdot@monOPEN ... ic.com minus bsd> on Monday July 25, 2005 @12:40PM (#13157165)
    Massive says it won't charge advertisers unless the full ad has been viewed.

    And I wont pay for games which have advertisements. *period*. I play games to *GET AWAY* from the bullshit that i the modern world.

  • by hobotron (891379) on Monday July 25, 2005 @12:40PM (#13157166)

    Fine. Whatever. Put ads in if you want, because you were going to anyway, nothing stopped you in the movies, but if my character needs a god damn Pizza-Hut ray gun to quash the evil Ceasar overlords Im going to personally shit in your Director of Marketing's coffee.
  • GODLIKE..... this fragfest is sponsered by Bawls. bawls, when you just gotta have a caffinated twitch to kill your friends.

    Nothing like an Advert to kill your killing streak.
  • by jxyama (821091)
    Are they going to pass on any of the ads revenue to the consumers?
  • Perfect (Score:5, Insightful)

    by superultra (670002) on Monday July 25, 2005 @12:42PM (#13157197) Homepage
    Putting more ads before movies has been working great [typepad.com] for that industry.
  • by confusion (14388) on Monday July 25, 2005 @12:43PM (#13157208) Homepage
    I think they've got it all wrong... No one is going to stop and watch an ad whilest someone is shooting at them or chasing them with a chainsaw or something like that...

    No, I think the characters need to be dressed in outfits like those worn by nascar drivers, full of ads. You can pick your character as the marlboro man, Mrs. exxon mobile, and the Amazon queen.

    Next, to do the movie ads correctly, they need to be displayed on the torso of your opponent, especially if it's a game where you have to work on a big opponent for a while. Then, everyone is stuck watching them.

    See, that wasn't hard.

    http://www.cyvin.org/ [cyvin.org]
  • by The-Bus (138060) on Monday July 25, 2005 @12:44PM (#13157211)
    Why do video ads? Text ads are the way to go...

    It is pitch black. You are likely to be eaten by a grue.


    Sponsored Link
    Browse a huge selection now! Find exactly what you want today.

    Monster - Official Site
    Post Jobs & Search Qualified. Resumes. Find the Right Employees!

    The grue is a sinister, lurking presence in the dark places of the earth. Its favorite diet is adventurers, but its insatiable appetite is tempered by its fear of light. No grue has ever been seen by the light of day, and few have survived its fearsome jaws to tell the tale.


    The new spelling of Text Adventure Game is Text Ad Venture.
  • I know it's been said before... but people pay to play these online games. Why would I want to pay to hear an advertisement? This is about the same level as commercials before, during, or after a movie preview; actively exploiting a captive audience without providing them any tangible compensation seems short-sighted and risky.
    • previews ARE commercials. for the most part, so are movies. product placement in films is one of the more consistent ways feature films offset increasingly expensive production costs. notice the vintage cars in the original matrix... then notice the switch to plainly badged new (at the time) Cadillacs during the chase scene of reloaded... or Trinity's Ducati motorcycle (a scene which is slo-motioned just in time to get an uninterrupted view of the name brand). I guess the issue here is the obtrusive natu
  • Sad (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Nastard (124180) on Monday July 25, 2005 @12:45PM (#13157225)
    "One problem with the full-motion ads is that gamers can easily avoid watching them."

    How sad is it that this is considered a problem?
  • Hooray! (Score:3, Funny)

    by drafalski (232178) on Monday July 25, 2005 @12:46PM (#13157229) Homepage
    This will no doubt mean lower video game prices now that publishers will be drawing ad revenue, right?
  • The only way I can see this being somewhat not hated by the gamers is if it is used in a MMO game to eliminate the monthly fees. I would be willing to play a game where the ads were hosted on the server and I wasn't charged for playing on that server.
  • Subsidized living (Score:3, Insightful)

    by SirSlud (67381) on Monday July 25, 2005 @12:46PM (#13157236) Homepage
    The time has come to take a stand against having our cost of living subsidized.

    I'd rather pay the full cost for a product than pay a lesser price so I can watch advertising. If you can't produce the thing for a low enough cost such that people value it enough for you to recoup your costs, dont make it.

    Man, am I getting sick of this. Bigger and bigger budgets, subsidized by advertising; why not better and better products, succeeding on they're own terms.
  • Heh (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Have Blue (616) on Monday July 25, 2005 @12:48PM (#13157258) Homepage
    This will be an interesting puzzle for level designers - advertisements are best placed in high-traffic areas to maximize exposure, but the players will then tend to avoid those areas to minimize exposure (read: annoyance and distraction). And the advertisements will be competing with game elements that are also trying to draw the player's attention- powerups, other players, stationary objects like teleporters. Advertisements will also have interesting effects on perception and types of engagement- sniping right now is just a matter of looking for moving targets, but what if they're running around in front of a giant flashing movie trailer?

    A good bit of the wrongheadedness of this idea comes from the fact that in professional sports, the ads are not aimed at the players; they're supposed to be seen by the audience who is watching them. Video games have no equivalent to this, except in the "pro gaming" world, which is still too small to be an influential market
  • by It doesn't come easy (695416) * on Monday July 25, 2005 @12:48PM (#13157265) Journal
    As you drive your combat skimmer across the sand dunes on Alberon VI, you notice a full motion billboard next to the bombed out ruins of the enemy's headquarters..."Get a free Experian credit report with a free 30-day credit monitoring trial."
  • if they were desperate to squeeze ads somewhere in the game, the best place would be on the loading screens.
  • These ads in videogames remind me of ads on VHS tapes and DVDs. Before the start of the main feature, VHS tapes usually start with an ad for an up-coming release (on videotape) of a movie. Of course, these ads are annoying, and you can easily skip them by pressing the fast forward button.

    The DVDs are more creative -- especially when it is a porn DVD. There is some code (or something) on the DVD that prevents you from doing a chapter skip.

    Allow me to explain. I usually watch porn on my laptop, and it

  • Alienation (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Renraku (518261) on Monday July 25, 2005 @12:51PM (#13157298) Homepage
    What a good way to alienate your gamers.

    I mean, what if you were playing World of Warcraft, and there was a big sign for Coca Cola in the middle of Orgrimmar, that captured your screen and furthur reduced FPS as you approached it. You'd probably avoid Orgrimmar. Also, since that's a vital city to play as the Horde, you'd probably end up quitting. gg.

  • Current monthly spend on video games & related products/services: $100-200

    Predicted monthly spend on video games which use this "service": $0

    Do the math.
  • by Thaelon (250687) on Monday July 25, 2005 @01:02PM (#13157397)
    In the immortal words of the great Bill Hicks:
    By the way, if anyone here is in advertising or marketing, kill yourself. No, this is not a joke: kill yourself . . . I know what the marketing people are thinking now too: 'Oh. He's going for that anti-marketing dollar. That's a good market.' Oh man, I am not doing that, you fucking evil scumbags.

    I couldn't agree more.

    From TFA:
    We know the 17 to 34 audience, the male audience, is elusive and quite difficult to reach through traditional broadcast. ... It is incumbent upon us to find ways to reach them," says Gerry Rich, president of world-wide marketing for Paramount Pictures.

    Fuck you Gerry Rich. It's not incumbent on you to reach me. I want you to leave me the fuck alone and keep your god damn ads out of my face. I will never pay for any video game that I know beforehand has full motion ads in it.
    • Yet, for every one of you, there are 50 that will just not care enough to speak with their wallets. Don't get me wrong, I'm not a fan of advertising in games at all, but like it or not the industry has gone mainstream. And as a mainstream entertainment industry it will be subjected to invasive marketing (exhibit a: movies, where we get more ads than trailers now, not to mention gratuitous product placements).

      I won't let it affect my decision to play a game, because ultimately that decision is based on
  • by Matimus (598096) <mccredie.gmail@com> on Monday July 25, 2005 @01:05PM (#13157426)
    The adds before a movie bother me a little, but if they tried to insert an add in the middle it would really upset me. It seems like this is what they are trying to do with video games. What they could do though is use more product placement. There are plenty of fake branded soda machines in Doom 3 and Halflife that could certainly have been Coke or Pepsi machines. I wouldn't have minded, really. If done correctly I think we can find a happy medium.
  • by Sierpinski (266120) on Monday July 25, 2005 @01:07PM (#13157452)
    I don't know which online games this pertains to, but if it involved World of Warcraft, who just celebrated 1.5 million subscribers in China, and earlier 2 million subscribers worldwide, (as far as I know, the 2 million figure came before the release in China, so I'd assume there were no overlaps) thats just 3.5 million. If everyone paid month-by-month for $15/month, then 3.5M * 15 = 52.5 million dollars of income every month, from WoW alone (not counting game sales, just their monthly fee). If they start putting advertisements in the game, they better damn well give the option of playing for free, or turning the ads off for paying customers. I'll go back to playing America's Army, where (hopefully) its still free.

    At least with the trade channel in WoW, you can turn it off.

    I wouldn't be surprised if players riding on Gryphons and bats got barraged with adverisements while they flew. Thats when I usually go get a drink anyway.
  • by Emperor Tiberius (673354) on Monday July 25, 2005 @01:31PM (#13157654) Homepage
    I'll accept this if they fit in the ads nicely. I want a random coke can I knock over in D3, or a "poster" in a corridor. As long as you don't interrupt my game play, or ruin my experience, fine. It's all about subtlety. We'll see who controls the amount of ads and how annoying they are. I'm guessing whoever has the largest pockets.

    If I'm playing Doom 4 and I have to watch an ad before I proceed, or an ad ruins the environment (brightens the area); expect me to return your game.
  • by Control-Z (321144) on Monday July 25, 2005 @01:42PM (#13157747)

    Massive says it won't charge advertisers unless the full ad has been viewed.

    Ok so I'm in some 3d environment in the presence of an ad. Does 100% of the ad have to be on the screen? What if I'm shooting/jumping/switching weapons? Does that still count?

    And regardless of the criteria, how exactly will Massive know I've viewed an ad? Unless it's an online game it's not getting past my firewall.
  • by kalislashdot (229144) on Monday July 25, 2005 @02:12PM (#13158099) Homepage
    Some examples. Typically if you pay for something then it is ad free, otherwise the ads pay for it or greatly reduce the cost.

    Magazines... are filled with ads yet we still pay for them. I al told magazines would be $40 without the ads so ads are welcome in that enviroment. Plus they are very passive.

    TV shows have commercial.... You pay for delivery of the shows via the cable/sat comapny but not for the shows them selves so commercials are ok here.

    A side note, years ago I hace a Cable company I went to digital comapny and when I pressed menu, 1/2 of the screen had ads for Pay per view. I thought this was crazy that I paid A LOT for this and half of my usable screen had ads. I dropped them for Satelite. My current cable company (no dish in this apartment) resets to the Pay per view preview channel every time you turn on the digital Cable box. So I went to basic cable and got a TiVo

    Tivo... has light ads, in the main menu they have entries to "see this movie trailier" or "check out the new Chevy Truck" I think these are lame since I already pay for TiVo service but they are very passive so I am ok with it.

    Games... I pay a lot of money if I buy a game $50 is way too much for a game in my mind but it is what the market will bare. I used to buy more gsames when they were $20 but oh well.

    I have noticed static ads like Billboards of NFS Underground 2 in Burn Out 3. These seem fine for me, they add some realism as is very passive. Full blown ads I will not be too happy about. I already paid a shit load for this game and now you want to make more money off of me. Oh and while you screw your programmers too.
  • Red vs Blue (Score:4, Funny)

    by Alpha_Traveller (685367) * on Monday July 25, 2005 @02:54PM (#13158582) Homepage Journal
    OOOOOhhh.... I CAN'T WAIT for their take on this to show up in Red vs Blue.



    "Is that you up on that billboard?"


    "What are you doing to that donkey?"
  • problem? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by seanmeister (156224) on Monday July 25, 2005 @02:56PM (#13158608) Homepage
    "One problem with the full-motion ads is that gamers can easily avoid watching them."

    And how exactly is this a "problem"?
  • One problem? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by DroopyStonx (683090) on Monday July 25, 2005 @03:40PM (#13159109)
    One problem with the full-motion ads is that gamers can easily avoid watching them.

    Sorry, but we don't owe you SHIT. If we paid for the game, movie, whatever... we aren't obligated to watch your fucking ads.

    Instead, there will be patches made to circumvent your ads. How bout that?

"If people are good only because they fear punishment, and hope for reward, then we are a sorry lot indeed." -- Albert Einstein