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Personalized In-Game Advertising In Upcoming Titles 244

Posted by Soulskill
from the brought-to-you-by-frungy-the-sport-of-kings dept.
Scythal writes "In-game advertising provider Massive Inc., acquired by Microsoft in 2006, has signed up or renewed contracts with several publishers, notably EA, Blizzard Entertainment, THQ, and Activision. Eagerly anticipated games like Need for Speed: Shift will feature the technology that continuously collects 'anonymous' information about users, sends them to the Massive database for analysis, and downloads advertisements to be shown in the game. All that happens insidiously, without the users' explicit consent and out of their control, which raises further concerns about privacy, security and quite frankly, customer abuse. Would you feel concerned about software that collects personal information and sends it so that you get more personalized ads in a game you paid for?" (More, below.)
"The technology has already been implemented, and was present in older titles. For example, Far Cry 2, released in October 2008 by Ubisoft Montreal, had it. You could discover that if you cared to read the manual up to the last pages: 'This game incorporates technology of Massive Incorporated ("Massive") that, when activated, enable the presentation of in-game advertisements and other in-game objects which are uploaded temporarily to your personal computer or game console and changed during online game play. As part of this process, when Massive technology is activated, Massive may have access to your Internet Protocol address. Your Internet Protocol address, and other basic anonymous information, available to Massive are temporarily used by Massive for the general purposes of transmitting and measuring in-game advertising.' However, it seems the technology was not used at the time, for some reason. This time, be assured it will be. How are we supposed to react to something like this? Shouldn't it be called adware? And, gratified by the success of this technology, what would be the next logical step of companies like Massive? Wouldn't they seek new publishers and use it in other software?"
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Personalized In-Game Advertising In Upcoming Titles

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  • Re:Will not work. (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 30, 2009 @01:56PM (#29252999)

    Solved?

    People will just be playing on private battle.net servers. http://pvpgn.berlios.de/ [berlios.de]

  • Windows & X-Box only (Score:2, Informative)

    by morghanphoenix (1070832) on Sunday August 30, 2009 @02:38PM (#29253335)

    The publishers will only be working with Massive for ads within Xbox 360 and PC versions of games, and not those for any other platforms.

    PS3 or Wii anyone?

    EA I expected to be there, I'm not to terribly surprised that Activision is on it, but I am really disappointed in THQ for being on that list.

  • Re:Will not work. (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 30, 2009 @03:34PM (#29253825)
    You can "buy" books on the kindle store for 0.00$ - I figure it's the same principle :p
  • Re:Will not work. (Score:5, Informative)

    by VGPowerlord (621254) on Sunday August 30, 2009 @03:37PM (#29253847) Homepage

    I'm going to make an assumption that you also do not have cable/satellite TV? I can only imagine that sooner than later game companies are going to start force feeding us ads and tell us that it is value added as the additional cash flow is needed in order maintain and expand on... well, anything they feel like telling us. And the sheep will continue to pay and ask for more... :(

    The problem with this comparison is that cable/satellite TV is a service that brings me other peoples products that I otherwise normally wouldn't get. For Internet games, this is what my ISP does. My ISP doesn't have advertisements, but I still see them on the web.

    With a game, I've already paid for the product. If it's an online game: well, you should have done the FPS model of having groups host their own servers. However, make sure you choose a good model for this. Valve has this mostly right. Left 4 Dead for PC, however, is a bad example of how to do this, because player groups join random servers by default. This defeats the entire purpose of having separate servers.

    Now, getting back to ads in games, some ad game modifications aren't limited to multi-player Internet games. WipEout HD was a good example of this. WipEout HD was updated at some point to add additional advertisements during the game's load screens, even during single player games. The game's level load time was also increased in order to show these ads to you for longer periods of time. Video example [youtube.com].

    This update was killed in early August and the advertisements removed because of the uproar it generated in the community.

  • Re:Genius (Score:4, Informative)

    by broken_chaos (1188549) on Sunday August 30, 2009 @04:31PM (#29254189)

    I believe it's default state is also off. It asks you if you want to turn it on, but if you say no it pretty much just stays out of your way (with the exception of if you go to try using a feature that requires it - it'll ask you again if you do).

  • by Hurricane78 (562437) <deleted@s[ ]hdot.org ['las' in gap]> on Sunday August 30, 2009 @06:57PM (#29255269)

    Those $100 equaled about 1000-2000 clicks (not page views) on a default banner advertisement on the home page of a large web portal in 2005. At a typical click rate (back then, before AdBlock) of 0.03-0.04% (I kid you not!), this results in 33333 to 50000 page views with that ad on it. It's a rough calculation, but you can get a feeling for it that way.

  • Re:Will not work. (Score:3, Informative)

    by Samah (729132) on Sunday August 30, 2009 @08:00PM (#29255681)

    Once publishers manage to get acceptance for the idea that a game constantly needs to have an online connection...

    If you bothered to keep up with gaming news, you'd know that SC2 will now have an offline mode (or something similar) which disables your friends list and achievements, but still allows you to play peer-to-peer.
    http://www.escapistmagazine.com/news/view/94135-StarCraft-II-Will-Have-LAN-After-All-Almost [escapistmagazine.com]

    If it's anything remotely like Steam, that's good enough for me.

  • Re:Will not work. (Score:3, Informative)

    by Toonol (1057698) on Sunday August 30, 2009 @10:47PM (#29256587)
    Under-selling projections, a PR black eye, publicity, thousands of critical reviews, causing a revision in corporate policy?

    That's the SPORE effect I was talking about.
  • Re:Will not work. (Score:3, Informative)

    by Samah (729132) on Sunday August 30, 2009 @11:22PM (#29256799)

    As I understand it, then, the proposed system would require an initial internet connection to authenticate via the Battle.net servers, and then would revert to normal peer-to-peer functionality, perhaps checking in every so often to update friends lists and the like."

    I believe you're missing the key word "perhaps". There is no evidence that SC2 will definitely require a permanent battle.net connection. Likewise there has been no official statement that it will not. Given Blizzard's history of "maybe", "should", "possibly", etc., we really don't know what's going to happen until the beta comes out, so it's best not to jump to conclusions. Depending on how the beta goes, they may even decide to change it for the final release.

  • Re:Yay! (Score:3, Informative)

    by arkhan_jg (618674) on Monday August 31, 2009 @03:48AM (#29258137)

    In 1982, the average CEO salary was 47 times higher [clickability.com] than that of the average production worker.

    In 1990, it was 107 times higher.

    In 2001, it was 525 times higher.

    In 2004, it was 431 times higher (that's the dot.com crash for you)

    Now, you're going to tell me with a straight face that the average CEO's job has got 10 times harder in the last 30 years? That they *really* work *430 times* harder or longer than your average non-management worker? Of course the CEO is free to look elsewhere for work; he's getting paid several million a year and no doubt has a large bank balance to go with it. If he screws up, he doesn't get fired, he just spends a couple of months playing golf, then gets snapped up again by another board because he has 'experience'.

    Ordinary workers have to take what they can get, especially in times like this. Those with the money make the rules, and the people without money can literally go hungry. And since I can almost hear the words 'well, why don't you start your own business then' forming, I'll point out that they're calling it a credit crunch for a reason - even current functional small businesses can't get sufficient credit, new startups are really struggling to get the funding needed to get started.

    So how do CEOs of large companies get away with these large salary increases? Well, they're voted on by the board of directors - who are all largely non-executive, and CEOs of other companies. What goes around, comes around etc. So why do the shareholders approve it? Because they're told by the board 'this is the current market rate, and if you want the talent, you have to pay for it'. And given most of the stockholders are pension firms etc rather than individuals, they don't like rocking the boat. I've seen this at a couple of AGM's recently - small shareholders revolting over CEO compensation, but the majority large stockholders keep quiet, and nothing changes.

    Small business owners who actually work in the company as CEO in the first place have a direct incentive to grow the business by reinvesting profits. CEOs of large companies have an incentive to extract as much money personally as the board will let them get away with.

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