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Google Businesses The Almighty Buck The Internet The Media Entertainment Games

Google Brings Ads To Games, Game Ads To YouTube 108

Posted by Soulskill
from the brought-to-you-by-the-letter-g dept.
Reuters reports that YouTube will be partnering with Amazon and iTunes to provide the ability to purchase games and songs that are in or related to YouTube's hosted videos. For example, watching footage from Spore will bring up a link to purchase the actual game through Amazon. The sales revenue will be shared. In related news, Google has launched a public beta for their in-game advertising software based on Adsense. "Google is initially targeting the sweet spot for its technology: games based in Adobe's Flash platform and which run in a web browser with no download. ... [Christian Oestlien, senior product manager at Google] said that Google's advertisers can use the software to insert ads into games or videos for YouTube, making the ads more versatile. Developers of games can use Flash software development kits to designate the points in a game that make an 'ad request.'"
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Google Brings Ads To Games, Game Ads To YouTube

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  • Ads in Games (Score:5, Interesting)

    by MosesJones (55544) on Wednesday October 08, 2008 @02:59PM (#25303839) Homepage

    Back in 1999 myself and some friends actually looked at creating a networked gaming infrastructure company, not creating games but focusing on the bit that (back then) games companies really sucked at, the actual software infrastructure required for distributed games. One of the things we proposed in there was the ability to serve targeted advertisements into games.

    Trouble was in 1999 that everyone wanted to fund .coms and advertising revenue was just about eyeballs so targeting wasn't required apparently.

    Expect this to very quickly go from Flash games into any game that connects to the internet, its a great new revenue stream for companies.

    • Re:Ads in Games (Score:5, Insightful)

      by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohn.gmail@com> on Wednesday October 08, 2008 @03:05PM (#25303945) Journal

      Expect this to very quickly go from Flash games into any game that connects to the internet, its a great new revenue stream for companies.

      Why does it have to connect to the internet?

      Isn't Burger King releasing games [slashdot.org] funded entirely by Burger King with Burger King themes in them? (Did I mention Burger King?)

      When I was tiny and we had our first x86 machine, I recall receiving a free 7-up game from the local supermarket that was a 3.5 diskette. You played spot, the 7-up mascot in an Othello rip off against another person next to you or the computer. Is this any different?

      Would I be shocked to see ad funded games hitting the shelves? Nope. I wouldn't be surprised to see free discs & downloads of games where a car company makes a racing game or a soda company makes a mario party-ish game ...

      I'm not too hip on this idea though, the last thing I want is more advertisement in my life. They seem like a distraction & waste of time. But since they fund a lot of what I do for entertainment, they're here to stay!

      • Isn't Burger King releasing games funded entirely by Burger King with Burger King themes in them? (Did I mention Burger King?)

        Behold, McKids! [wikipedia.org]

      • Re:Ads in Games (Score:4, Interesting)

        by MosesJones (55544) on Wednesday October 08, 2008 @03:14PM (#25304085) Homepage

        Its not about add funded games its about using games to sell targeted advertisements. All of those billboards in sports games and the "realistic" FPS games, perfect for slapping on an ad targeted just at YOU. Others in the game will see different adverts on exactly the same space.

        Advertiser funded is old hat, this is about turning games into virtual billboard environments

      • by aslvrstn (1047588)
        Tobias: It's a wonderful restaurant! Narrator: It sure is...
      • by hvm2hvm (1208954)
        "When I was tiny and we had our first x86 machine, I recall receiving a free 7-up game from the local supermarket that was a 3.5 diskette. You played spot, the 7-up mascot in an Othello rip off against another person next to you or the computer. Is this any different?"

        Hey, I had that game when I was a kid. I never got it to work because of driver problems but I kept wondering what the hell it was about. The config screen seemed cool at that age.
        • I can date in game advertising back further than that, we were playing Action Biker [wikipedia.org] on the commodore 64 in 1985. The main character was Clumsy Colin, the mascot for KP Skips.
      • I wouldn't be surprised to see free discs & downloads of games where a car company makes a racing game

        You wouldn't be surprised to know that Toyota did this with their Yaris [xbox.com] game. It is a free download on Xbox Live.

        The problem is that if you got it for free you still paid too much. I'm not saying that this type of thing can't work, I'm just saying that this particular example was a bad game.

      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by insllvn (994053)

        Isn't Burger King releasing games [slashdot.org] funded entirely by Burger King with Burger King themes in them? (Did I mention Burger King?)

        It's a fine establishment! Plus, did you know that you can get a refill on any drink? For free!?!

      • It has to connect to the internet so they can keep giving you newer ads on top of the ones you already got. I think it's only a matter of time before Google ads are on Blu-Ray. Maybe they'll make an Android Blu-Ray player with which you have to set up a gMail account to watch a movie.
      • by Sopor42 (1134277)
        You've obviously never played Need For Speed: Underground 2. Chock full of adds, but in that kind of game you would expect to see Billboards in the game world, so it actually adds to the realism if they are advertising real products! It was not, IMO, obtrusive, and I think it was pretty neat. Of course I'm not brain-washable enough to go out and buy everything they advertised so it shouldn't bug me! Having a sudden urge for a Whopper...
    • Re: (Score:1, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Expect this to very quickly go from Flash games into any game that connects to the internet, its a great new revenue stream for companies.

      I think you might be a little overly pessimistic here. Flash games are free content. Most other internet games aren't. Jumping that barrier would be akin to commercials going from broadcast TV over to HBO -- possible but less likely and with a much greater backlash.

    • another great way to target advertising at kids. get 'em young as they say.

      it's rather sad that most American school children are more familiar with corporate brands [commercial...ldhood.org] than they are with academic concepts like arithmetic or geography.

      advertising is not something we need more of in our society.

    • by mrops (927562)

      Don't you wish you had patented the idea.

      Well if you don't, I still wish I had.

    • Re: (Score:1, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chex_Quest

      Got this out of a cereal box several years back.
      Basically a shooter running off the Doom engine with a anthropomorphized cereal piece as the main character.

      It was/is actually a good game (maybe because they used an already-successful Doom base.

      (Sorry, forgot my password, not gonna dig it up right now, I'm KingAlanI)

  • by Coopjust (872796) on Wednesday October 08, 2008 @03:07PM (#25303983)
    Ads actually fit pretty well in some games. I saw ads for the movie Ocean's 13 in the game Crackdown. Cities have billboards, and they weren't an unrealistic amount.

    However, I have a breaking point. When Sony Online Entertainment put Jeep ads in Planetside (an alternate galaxy futuristic MMO FPS), it was my breaking point and I quit my subscription. I didn't buy Battlefield 2142 for the same reason: the ads ruined the gameplay immersion.

    Ads are OK if they fit into the environment. Otherwise, leave them out. I would rather pay $10 additional to not have gameplay tarnished by ads that stick out like a sore thumb.
    • by Utini420 (444935)

      I've been wondering how hard the film industry has been/will be hit with the same, and what affect this will have on genre pictures. You can fit a Burger King add into Iron Man and play it off as a quirky character moment, but you can't really shill for, well, anything in something like The Hobbit.

      On the one hand, I want to embrace embedded adds as better than commercial breaks. But only within reason, and I wonder if that will be yet another factor pulling entertainment back towards the main stream.

      • by geobeck (924637) on Wednesday October 08, 2008 @04:02PM (#25304785) Homepage

        You can fit a Burger King add into Iron Man and play it off as a quirky character moment, but you can't really shill for, well, anything in something like The Hobbit.

        "Bilbo! Don't sit on the verge like a lump; we must make haste!"
        "I'm sorry, Gandalf, but my poor feet aren't meant for such a long journey outside the Shire."
        "When my feet ache from a long day's journey, I find relief in Gold Bond medicated powder..."

        Works for me. :D

      • by Talderas (1212466)

        The Burger King blurb in Iron Man was done very well. It worked with the Tony Stark character they put out and I didn't find any problem believing that Mr. Stark wanted a couple juicy BK Whopper's after getting back from a diet of bad water and who knows what he ate.

        That's the whole thing, the advert has to work within the context. They could have put ads on billboards in GTA4 and it wouldn't have bothered me.

        • Indeed. I think any billionaire thinking "good food" thinks "Burger king". You can tell by how ritzy the restaurant is.
          • Not too argue too hard, but it's not terribly hard to believe that even as a billionaire, after living on the diet he was on, he wanted something substantial and something familiar, something "American". Which makes a burger not terribly out of place. Would it have been better if he had himself, a servant, or a robot or something home cook him a burger? I think the Burger King or McDonald's actually would fit the scene well. Burger King paid more.
            • I would have preferred him crashing one of those really ritzy restaurants that serve burgers (there's plenty of them in metropolitan areas; at least in Los Angeles; I forget where that particular scene took place) and quickly grabbing someone else's dinner and throwing them money to shut up, yes. I would have preferred that over a restaurant that I myself (as a person who, while not wealthy, loves to shop smart and eat well prepared meals) get sick to my stomach thinking about devouring that much grease.
      • by HTH NE1 (675604)

        You can fit a Burger King [ad] into Iron Man and play it off as a quirky character moment, but you can't really shill for, well, anything in something like The Hobbit.

        Indeed, that's one of the things that ruined my enjoyment of sequels to The Neverending Story: fantasy characters talking about microwave ovens.

    • by MBCook (132727)

      They almost never work well for me.

      Some just stand out. The Honda Element in SSX 3 was just sad. It stuck out like a sore thumb, and shouldn't have been there.

      The objects in Pikmin 2 fit in pretty well, but I think I would have been happier if they were greeked instead of having the real brand names on them. Finding the Duracell and seeing Olimar's little comment was cute, but any battery that looked like a Duracell would have worked, we didn't need the real brand name.

      People can debate over ads in sport

      • Re: (Score:1, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward

        As long as the billboards explode like anything else that gets hit with high explosives, I'll be fine with them.

      • by Reapy (688651)

        I agree with you 100%. Games are about immersion. I loved fight night games. Fight night 3 pissed me off. The bk guy as your corner man? This knockout brought to you by bk? Fuck you! It actually made me start hating BK. Now, under armor? Underarmor is a boxing brand, right? No problem. I can buy nike shoes and underarmor mouth guards that are actual products. Sort of immersing, isnt it?

        Problem is advertising as you said only is immersing in present day games. They could prob do a future setting brand logo

      • by thepotoo (829391)
        I don't know about the rest of you, but I will not buy a game that has ads in it. If the game is "free" then I may try it, but if I'm paying for it (even reduced price) there had better be no ads at all.

        You're correct; product placement is somewhat more palatable in theory, but I've yet to see a game that had product placement where the placement didn't also suck (Splinter Cell's Sony Ericsson=ummm, what?).

        Obviously, gamers' opinions will change when some major ad company (Google, maybe) gets behind an AAA

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by rtb61 (674572)

        The really strange thing about all of this. There is absolutely no real way of validating that the adds were of any value or that they had opposite effect and actually put people off. The big thing is not to sell products but to convince sellers that the adds work and that they buy the space.

        So you can imagine the sales demo, where the people selling add space demonstrate the screens where the adds appear and waffles on how the gamer must focus and see the add, of course the naive person buying the add s

    • by Catil (1063380) *

      I would rather pay $10 additional to not have gameplay tarnished by ads that stick out like a sore thumb.

      Either that or the ad-infested game could maybe cost 10$ less to begin with, which makes me wonder how much money they will be making with those ads anyway? More than 10$ per player? 20$ per player? More than the 50$ they won't get from me because I won't buy the game at all due to those ads?
      Since they probably want to cover the losses they make to "pirates," I guess they made contracts on a per-play basis that will include pirated versions. So, hopefully for them the release groups play along because the

    • by Fumus (1258966)
      How about instead of "useful tips" on loading screens, an ad would be displayed?
    • by sponga (739683)

      The BF2142 situation got blown out of proportion.
      Remember the first Slashdot articles about it were basically that they collect your personal information and give it to the advertisers, it was not true and the developers came out to even discuss. Of course Slashdot never had the followup article and allow the team to answer some of those points, so they were backed into a corner and the fud had already tainted the game. It was more fear mongering with the privacy info that got everybody worked up and a lot

    • by Ender77 (551980) on Wednesday October 08, 2008 @05:36PM (#25305921)
      No they don't. I can't speak for all gamers, but I go into games to GET AWAY FROM REALITY, not to have it thrown in my face. Ads will KILL innovation in games, instead of creating a few original (scifi/fantasy) gems, we will get nothing but grand theft auto generic clones where EVERYTHING happens in modern city/environment so game companies (like fraktard EA) can get ad revenue.
    • by euri.ca (984408)

      If this becomes popular, will it limit the worlds that games appear in?

      I'm a little worried all games be locked into near-present day urban environments where billboards make sense rather than lose the precious in-game billboards (or destroy the realism by having inter-dimensional Space-orcs considering Geico).

      It'd be as bad as if all first person shooters had the same dirty grey-brown environments :)

  • Could be ok (Score:5, Interesting)

    by I.M.O.G. (811163) <spamisyummy@gmail.com> on Wednesday October 08, 2008 @03:09PM (#25304011) Homepage

    I would like to see it done right. Seeing as how google really took advertising away from the banner ad approach with the dominance of their contextual text ads, perhaps they will get this in-game advertising right.

    What is right?

    1) Don't interrupt me. Really. Figure out how to work it in, but not weigh it down or intrude.
    2) Make it useful. I don't care for how it looks cheesy when you go to a vending machine in a game and all it has is fake product garbage. Normal advertising you encounter daily, like vending machines, is unobtrusive but also raises brand awareness while it provides some realism to the game.
    3) Again, don't interrupt me. Stay out of the way, and a whole industry won't crop up around you trying to remove your ad content. (popup blockers)

    Bottom line, I don't think ads coming into games is that bad of a thing, but they have to be done tastefully and not detract from the title your playing.

    • by mfh (56) on Wednesday October 08, 2008 @03:34PM (#25304423) Homepage Journal

      EXT. Stonetalon Mountains (North West of Orgrimmar)

      ENTER: Mackror the Mighty Orc Huntar

      Mackror (yells): "I HAS CAPTURED 9/15 SPIDAR DEEPMOSS EGGS!!! FEW MORE TO GO!!!"

      [ENTER: Homing Pigeon]

      (makes pigeon crap on Mackror, sputters around... and lands on Macror's shoulder)

      Mackror: "ARGH WAT! A NOTE!" (reads note)

      "AIG Insurrance of Ogrimmar!!!! HAS GOLD. Invest to protect your new QUEST ITEM: DEEPMOSS SPIDER EGGS from decay and theft. Insure your home with the most ROCK SOLID insurance company in all Kalimdor!! We would never need to be bailed out like other institutions."

      Mackror: "ARGH NO!!! LIARS!!!!!" (eats bird)

    • "Bottom line, I don't think ads coming into games is that bad of a thing, but they have to be done tastefully and not detract from the title your playing."

      This is really key, I really hope they don't screw it up but knowing the asshats that run game publishers...

      They have to be in good taste and fit the context, although I really wonder about the context of having ads in say like WoW or other fantasy games when technically it's a 'pre-technological' world.

      • Well, in WoW, you could have gear from firebloodarms as a company and have a "magic mirror" that lets you send one to the "other realm". Since you would only see this as an option, it is something you could ignore and continue enjoying the game. Simple "Purchase for use in the other realm" as an option for any item that is available in the real world would be unobtrusive... you just have to think outside the box.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by kabocox (199019)

      Get ready for the Themed ads. Are you in a fantasy setting? Get ready for ye old Coke Ale. O.k. really only "true" old style beer and their ads should show up there. I have no idea what that would be. Anything from the early 1920s up could have all sorts of old style coke ads. Heck, Coke could make a massive list of their entire ad history and the various times each has run. Then they'd re-run those same ads in each of the games set in each era. If you have a 1960s game, you get 1960s coke ads. If the game

    • Look at City of Heroes.

      It's a game set in a modern city (be it a comic book-type one), they're advertising is opt-out (there's an option in game to turn it on/off, effective next time you zone -- it defaults to on, so it's technically opt-out), and the advertisements are only applied to things that were fake-brand advertisements beforehand (the original city design has billboards in all the main parts of the city, and posters at ground level, at about the right kind of mix and frequency to be realistic.
  • Isn't there any kind of "advertising larsen effect" threat ? I mean... a video game full of ads for Youtube, wich shows us game footage with ads for youtube...
  • by gEvil (beta) (945888) on Wednesday October 08, 2008 @03:17PM (#25304143)
    I was hoping they'd bring games to ads. And then for some reason I felt like punching a monkey.
  • ads into games or videos for YouTube

    Does this imply I'll have to watch video adverts on youtube?? I RTFA and didn't find anything to that effect.

  • DRM 1 Star Mob (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Wellington Grey (942717) on Wednesday October 08, 2008 @03:19PM (#25304175) Homepage Journal
    For example, watching footage from Spore will bring up a link to purchase the actual game through Amazon

    Ouch. Amazon might not be the best place to try and sell spore...

    -Grey [wellingtongrey.net]
  • In-game advertising is useless. Nobody's going to notice ads and the brands they're publicizing when they're busy shooting bad guys or racing down crowded city streets. The best option would be to restrict ads to load screens and such. Much more effective.
    • Advertisers pay for billboards in rural stretches of highway, or flashes of a trademark in TV and movies. I don't see how fast-moving games are any different.
    • by Dekker3D (989692)

      but they will be noticed when you've stopped for some reason... be it sneaking around a corner in shooters, or crashing/finishing in racing games..

    • by DimmO (1179765)
      Live for Speed has in-game advertising that works well. in the first few beta versions of the game, the billboards had ads for fake products and brands. Then they introduced intel, castrol oil and some brand of racing car fuel tanks. They were on track-side billboards, so were in-place and didn't look stupid. So, the ads aren't useless. I noticed them. I assume that many other players did too.
    • They'll be noticed subconsciously, and that is really the best kind of noticing for ad companies.
  • Ads and MMOs (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Wiarumas (919682) on Wednesday October 08, 2008 @03:29PM (#25304353)
    Hey, this reminds me of one of the conversations me and one of my old High School friends once had. The idea was to have people buy the game (MMO) flat out. Then, either pay a monthly fee that would be ad free or play for free with ads here and there. I'm sure there are people out there that would LOVE to play WoW for free by having to deal with ads during login and plastered all over the capital cities... and I'm sure there are some that won't. Either way, I'd say its a plausible market especially in the MMO universe.
  • Nearly every discussion of in-game ads works under the assumption that in-game ads means ads plastered all over the game world.

    This is true in some cases, but is a narrow view of the in-game ads concept as a whole.

    There is a lot of real estate for ads to inhabit that is outside of the game world. Start-up screens (wedged between the ten different developer/publisher/middleware/etc splash screens). Menu areas (like the Samsung logo in the Perfect Dark Zero menus). Loading screens (like the Red Bull ones in W

    • Ingame ads, while you're playing, seem to enrage gamers anyway, likw when Valve added ingame billboards to Counter-Strike.
      Although I wouldn't expect much from MMO gamers since they'll usually grind on anything.
  • I would be an even more happy gamer.

    • I think it was in Everquest you could type /pizza and it would bring up a web browser pointed to the pizzahut web ordering portal. Man those were the good ole days.
  • Google's too big (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 08, 2008 @04:23PM (#25305031)

    I'm finding another search engine. I know it sounds like an over reaction- but the way I figure it, the more funding google gets the more money it has to inject into tracking us and injecting ads into every possible place. I understand that whatever engine I use they're gonna spend money on trying to sell me something, or make something I will buy in the future- but I'd prefer to give my views to someone spending their money on something else. Naturally it's not gonna be microsoft- but its certainly not going to be google.
    The question is: is it too late?
    Anyone who uses mozilla uses google, google is now a VERB, they own youtube, and they serve ads on virtually every web page. On top of that, they're getting a base of users for their browser AND they have a suite of office applications.

    People started saying when is too much a long time ago, well I think now.

  • If you don't believe me, look at movies.

    The (more recent) James Bond movies are classic examples of where there is a lot of product placement (= advertising), especially with sports cars and then take a movie where there can be no product placement, like say "300".

    A lot more people watched the last James Bond movie than 300, yet I don't recall it costing any less to see it at the cinema or buy it on DVD than for less than 300.

    So will it be the same for games - the ads will appear but they will not cost any

  • by cliffski (65094) on Wednesday October 08, 2008 @05:32PM (#25305867) Homepage

    "The revenue will be shared"

    between amazon and google. GREAT!!!!
    then what's left will be given to the publisher who will make some deductions then give a small chunk to the developer.

    Enough of this crap.

    If you like a game, ANY game, then do the games industry a favour, and CUT OUT THE MIDDLEMAN. Many of the games on sale through online stores are also sold direct from the developer. If they offer that as an option, please take it. The developer will get between 2 and five times as much money from the sale. And you KNOW they got paid.

    Middlemen are making more money from gaming than the developers who create them. This kind of bullshit is getting worse and worse.

  • To answer my own question,
    yes, Slashdot is the marketing arm of Google now. [slashdot.org]

    How much does Google pay you guys for this kind of coverage?

  • I think it could add a new and lifelike element to video games... imagine playing halflife 4 and while you are walking around, posters showing the latest release of a movie update as you play the game throughout the weeks. All I ask is that video games become cheaper due to their added revenue stream.
    • Re: (Score:1, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Yes, by all means let's add the crappy parts of real life to games. Next we'll take out all the sci-fi stuff and Gordon Freeman will get a desk-job.
  • First there will be ads in games. Then we'll get adblocking software that will block the ads in the games. Then we'll get malware that presents it self as an ad blocking software for games but turns out to simply replace the ads with other ads. Then we'll need malware blockers... And then someone will probably recommend switching to Linux...
  • games based in Adobe's Flash platform and which run in a web browser with no download

    Flash apps work without downloading Flash these days? That's pretty damn sweet.

  • I love the smell of an updated Hosts file in the morning. You know, one time we had a website ad-bombed, for 12 hours. When it was all over, I walked up. We didn't find one of 'em, not one stinkin' dink ad. The smell, you know that gasoline smell, the whole website. Smelled like... victory. Someday this war's gonna end...

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