Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Privacy Games

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?"
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Personalized In-Game Advertising In Upcoming Titles

Comments Filter:
  • Will not work. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jack2000 (1178961) on Sunday August 30, 2009 @12:10PM (#29252523)
    I have two words for you: DNS Blacklist
    • Re:Will not work. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by RobVB (1566105) on Sunday August 30, 2009 @12:14PM (#29252569)
      If Blizzard is going to implement this, they'll probably do it via Battle.net somehow. And knowing how much money Blizzard is raking in, I wouldn't be surprised if other publishers got the balls to set up restrictive you-must-be-on-line-and-connected-to-us-if-you-want-to-play "services".

      How are we supposed to react to something like this?

      The only easy answer is "don't buy those games". The sad part is that most major games will probably start using this or similar technologies.

      • Re:Will not work. (Score:5, Insightful)

        by jack2000 (1178961) on Sunday August 30, 2009 @12:16PM (#29252595)
        Only way in hell I'm going to buy such a game is if it's free. When I pay, I expect not to be pestered.
        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Tynin (634655)

          Only way in hell I'm going to buy such a game is if it's free. When I pay, I expect not to be pestered.

          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... :(

          • Re:Will not work. (Score:5, Informative)

            by VGPowerlord (621254) on Sunday August 30, 2009 @02:37PM (#29253847)

            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: (Score:2, Funny)

          by Anonymous Coward

          Only way in hell I'm going to buy such a game is if it's free.

          Huh?

        • So you never bought a DVD with the mandatory "film previews" ?

          • by KillerBob (217953)

            The only time I ever bought a DVD with mandatory "previews" at the start (which couldn't be skipped by pressing menu or fast forwarding through them), I returned it to the store, made certain that they knew exactly why I was returning it, and wrote a letter to both the publisher and studio explaining why it was seriously bad juju.

            They probably ignored me, but I haven't seen any DVDs with unskippable previews since, and that was several years ago.

      • The progression to more and more draconian DRM and more invasive advertising has been steady for at least the last decade. Though, it's worth noting that the Battle.net lobby has had ads in it since the beginning, it would seem that this combined with the no LAN play in SC2 is a real kick in the nuts for gamers. Though as you noted, the best way to be heard is to vote with your feet, Game! [wittyrpg.com] for example is both free and ad free. (shameless plug)

      • Re:Will not work. (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Toonol (1057698) on Sunday August 30, 2009 @12:39PM (#29252819)
        Absolutely. That's why Starcraft 2 is such a consumer-unfriendly game. I'm not going to buy it; I rather hope nobody else does, although I'm sure they will. Once publishers manage to get acceptance for the idea that a game constantly needs to have an online connection, i.e., they will have seized ownership away from the consumer. They can deactivate, alter, and advertise in the game however they want, at any time.

        A lot of publishers are watching how Starcraft 2 does. I can only hope it gets the Spore treatment from the public.
        • Absolutely. That's why Starcraft 2 is such a consumer-unfriendly game. I'm not going to buy it; I rather hope nobody else does, although I'm sure they will. Once publishers manage to get acceptance for the idea that a game constantly needs to have an online connection, i.e., they will have seized ownership away from the consumer.

          Get acceptance? This sort of thing has become mainstream a long time ago. See Steam, etc.

          • Steam has an offline mode, though. I'm not sure how long it'll let you run the game in offline mode before it pesters you about it, though. I've heard people say one month.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by stimpleton (732392)
          "I can only hope it gets the Spore treatment from the public."

          A No.1 seller and recieved positively?
          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by Toonol (1057698)
            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: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Samah (729132)

          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.

          • by Toonol (1057698)
            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.

            Not only have I kept up with it, I actually understand it.

            "SC2 Lead Designer Dustin Browder told Gamasutra that while the goal of having an "integrated experience" for their players via Battle.net was still crucial to the company - "We really wanted to bring all these players together and keep
            • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

              by Samah (729132)

              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.

        • Absolutely. That's why Starcraft 2 is such a consumer-unfriendly game. I'm not going to buy it; I rather hope nobody else does, although I'm sure they will. Once publishers manage to get acceptance for the idea that a game constantly needs to have an online connection, i.e., they will have seized ownership away from the consumer. They can deactivate, alter, and advertise in the game however they want, at any time.

          Which is exactly why they are putting it in a game with as high a profile as Starcraft 2. Ideally, you might expect that it would get tested out first in some smaller product, but with lower sales volume it's likely that any protesters will be more easily heard and these hated technologies will get under the spotlight.

          But, if you implement and deploy it with a very high profile game you are guaranteed several things. First, many people are going to buy it regardless of what junk you attach. Now you can p

      • If Blizzard is going to implement this, they'll probably do it via Battle.net somehow. And knowing how much money Blizzard is raking in, I wouldn't be surprised if other publishers got the balls to set up restrictive you-must-be-on-line-and-connected-to-us-if-you-want-to-play "services".

        Yes, but how do they know if the DNS is resolving to their server vs someone's server set up for the explicit purpose of serving blank ads for the game?

        Plus, you know those guys that do no-CD cracks, right? I'm sure they'll start doing no-ad and privacy cracks as well. Crisis averted. Well except for people who don't know about such things. Maybe they'll start *snicker* an online petition.

    • Re:Will not work. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by ZosX (517789) <zosxavius@@@gmail...com> on Sunday August 30, 2009 @12:18PM (#29252619) Homepage

      I have two words for you: DNS Blacklist

      Great now I need adblock for games. Isn't need for speed commercialized enough anyways? This sort of thing has been going on in hollywood for a long time now. It was only a matter of time before games started doing it. Now with the internet they can just stream you fresh targeted ads. It would be nice if people just voted no to ads with their pocketbook, but I doubt most people would care. They are already used to a steady stream of ads in their daily lives. Sad really.

      • by ZosX (517789)

        I also wanted to add that digg just started mixing advertisements in with its regular stories and people seem to be digging them. What's worse is that it mixes them in with the regular stories, thus forcing you to at least skim over the title as you scan down the listings. I can't explain why I keep looking on digg, but if that is what is popular on the net, its sort of like watching a slow moving train wreck.....utterly hypnotizing in a devious sort of way. At least the people here leave me some sort of ho

      • Why do companies have to be so covert and sneaky about it? Why don't they just ASK users to let them know what kinds of products they'd be interested in knowing about? This method is so much more transparent, and it completely negates any notion that they have to profile everything you do in order to figure out which ads to feed you. Ultimately, they really don't need to know any more than what you choose to tell them.

      • by mattbee (17533)

        I already had to do this when I recently bought Assassins Creed off Steam (nearly a year after its release!). The game communicated with Ubisoft servers for *every* significant event in the game (picking up a flag, killing an enemeny etc., every couple of minutes basically) and whenever that happened the game froze for 30s [hardforum.com] to make some transaction with an overloaded server. The fix? Edit my Windows /etc/hosts file - sigh. I'm not sure whether it was anti-piracy, or just stats tracking or what. How do th

    • by Alarash (746254)
      Which can be bypassed by directly using the IP addresses? Those are the ones you want to blacklist.
    • I have one word for you: BOYCOTT.

  • Hacking (Score:4, Funny)

    by Farlan (1145095) on Sunday August 30, 2009 @12:13PM (#29252563)
    This may lead to a new generation of hackers: people who use their spare time to patch the games to remove those insidious ads. Should we call them adkers?
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Loconut1389 (455297)

      Its the new adkers diet!

    • Re:Hacking (Score:5, Insightful)

      by RobVB (1566105) on Sunday August 30, 2009 @12:22PM (#29252659)

      PC games have had ads for a very long time. The first game that comes to mind is World Cup 98 [gamespot.com], which had ads for Snickers, JVC, Mastercard, Opel, Fujifilm, Gilette, Braun and Adidas (check the screenshots on Gamespot). Something like that doesn't bother me at all, it adds to realism and immersion (it's better than billboards that say Snockers, JCV and Adadis), and I'm fine with publishers trying to make a few extra bucks.

      What I'm trying to say is, it's not the ads that I'm worried about, it's the "anonymous" information they're sending back and forth. I trust they won't send any of my "personal" information (name, telephone number, personal e-mails), but where do you draw the line?

      • Re:Hacking (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Dachannien (617929) on Sunday August 30, 2009 @12:29PM (#29252717)

        Games like World Cup 98 are exceptions to the rule, because the advertisements reflect what you see on TV when you watch those sporting events, lending an air of authenticity to them.

        The vast majority of games are not set in the modern real world, though, and advertisements for modern real world products are inappropriate in those games.

      • by esper (11644)

        I trust they won't send any of my "personal" information (name, telephone number, personal e-mails)...

        You've just hit on exactly what I don't get about this blurb's claims of these games "collecting personal information":

        When was the last time you entered your (real) name, a phone number, an email address, or any other piece of personal information into a game during play? In my case, that would be approximately... never, IIRC.

        Any information I've ever entered has been during registration, not gameplay, an

        • I guess Fred Flintstone is going to get a lot of advertising for "Bedrock Beds for your busted back, if your back's busted it's gotta be Bedrock!"

      • The first game that comes to mind is World Cup 98

        When was that released?

  • what information? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by gbjbaanb (229885) on Sunday August 30, 2009 @12:16PM (#29252591)

    The question is - what information does it collect, and where does it collect it from? I mean, if it scans my hard drive for files, my in-game experience will look ore like Duke Nukem's dancing girl posters, or (god forbid) work!

    If it scans my bookmarks, cookies, etc, then I'll be viewing slashdot in-game.

    Either way, its not good for the security of my PC, if a game can collect this information, the scammers and botnets can do the same, all they have to do is persuade me to install something - a game for example.

    • by sowth (748135) *

      Well, then you should create separate users for work, internet, and playing games. Also set their permissions so they can't read each other's home directories. I already do this, except more. For example, I also have a separate user for the X server.

      However, this won't help if the game requires an admin account to install, the install file is an exe (like they love to do in the Microsoft world), and the game scans your hard drive during install. Maybe .msi files [wikipedia.org] cure this.

  • How to fix this (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Drakin020 (980931) on Sunday August 30, 2009 @12:18PM (#29252617)

    You want to know how you the consumer can fix this? You don't buy the games that have this kind of advertisement in it!

    I mean I'm all for static advertising in games that are free, or reduced in price. (Quakelive for example)

    But if I'm paying $50 bucks as well as sacrificing privacy and having to deal with ads, I'll have none of it.

    But the only way you can fix this is by not buying the product. Show them that you will have no part in it. Problem is, many people will still go out and buy it, which is why they will continue to do it. If they know they can still make money, they will continue with this kind of stuff until we say "No more"

    So stick by your guns, and just say no. Else nothing will ever change.

    • Re:How to fix this (Score:5, Interesting)

      by girlintraining (1395911) on Sunday August 30, 2009 @12:30PM (#29252735)

      So stick by your guns, and just say no. Else nothing will ever change.

      Because that's been so successful in the past! So the 1% of the population that's actually computer literate enough to (a) know about this and (b) care won't buy their game. They won't notice. So how about Plan B:

      Patch the game or setup firewall rules to block such communications, like via a proxy or some-such.

      Or Plan C:

      Reverse engineer the protocol, then poison-pill the marketing data.

      • by PIBM (588930)

        You forgot step 2 of plan c...

        End up in jail :\

        Notice that there's no .... profit ! in there!

        • Re:How to fix this (Score:4, Insightful)

          by girlintraining (1395911) on Sunday August 30, 2009 @01:44PM (#29253381)

          End up in jail :\

          Integrity has no need of laws. Too many things are allowed these days because of unjust laws that protect unethical conduct. "No duty, however, binds us to these so-called laws, whose corrupting influence menaces what is noblest in our being..." -- Benjamin Constant. I've always advocated doing what you feel in your heart is right; You'll be damned for it anyway. A lot of people here have the sentiment that what this company is doing is wrong -- they need to explore those feelings on a deeper level and then resolve to a course of action. Most likely, they will choose to do nothing (and that is fine). But if they choose that out of fear of punishment then we've become a sorry lot indeed.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by DrEldarion (114072)

            I'm sorry, but what right do you have to fuck with someone else's data like that?

            This company is not in the wrong, they're just doing something that you don't like. They're putting a condition on the playing of this game - if you don't like that condition, you're more than free to not play it. You can't dictate your terms to them just because you feel like you have some right to have whatever you want.

            It's one thing if they're tracking you without you knowing about it. If every human was assigned a unique n

            • Re:How to fix this (Score:5, Interesting)

              by girlintraining (1395911) on Sunday August 30, 2009 @05:24PM (#29255003)

              I'm sorry, but what right do you have to fuck with someone else's data like that?

              It's not someone else's data. It's data from one machine which they have no legal control or right to sending data to theirs. If their servers accept and process the data, and no password, key, or other means of repudiating the data is available, there's no ethical quandry. The interface is public and the intent of the interface is to accept data from public (and unvalidated) sources.

              This company is not in the wrong, they're just doing something that you don't like.

              If you think you're right and I'm wrong, and I think I'm right and you're wrong, who do you think I'm going to choose? :\

              It's one thing if they're tracking you without you knowing about it.

              Ignoring the fact that this statement is entirely immaterial to the issue at hand...Really? So it would be okay for me to follow you everywhere you go in public, as long as I announced it to you? If I stood outside your door when you went into private areas like your house, and patiently waited until you came out in public again?

              However, to go into someone else's system and screw with data...

              You have assumed that data is being altered, rather than created. Oops. You're also implying that entry is forced, rather than explicitly allowed.

              ...when the only thing tying you to it is the fact that you want to play a certain game, that's wrong.

              So the "rightness" or "wrongness" of something is dependent on whether a thing is done for pleasure or business?

              Do you feel all forms of "vigilante justice" are justified?

              That's a loaded question, so I'll equivocate instead: History has demonstrated that when all other forms of redress has been exhausted, "vigilante justice" as you call it, has proven an effective means of promoting social change. so-called "vigilantes" have been educating the general public and IT professionals for decades by uncovering and publishing security flaws, releasing proof-of-concept code, and demonstrating the necessity of validating input before processing it. What you call "vigilantism" is what others would define as a "public service".

        • by Hatta (162192) *

          On what charge?

      • by Toonol (1057698)
        You don't know business, if you don't think they have extensive strategy and analysis meetings over a lost 1%. Businesses don't stop caring about $50,000 because they make $5,000,000. They want $5,050,000.
        • by hannson (1369413)

          And it seems you don't either. Indeed it's every company's goal to maximize profits but you've failed to consider that personalized/dynamic advertisements may make the company more money in the long run than the 1% in lost sales would.

    • by symbolic (11752)

      I concur - people seem to think that "just because so-and-so is doing it, others will jump on the bandwagon." However, all it will take is LESS than one cycle of a notable reduction in game sales to convince publishers that this is not a good idea. Unfortunately, the average consumer is weak. That's why SecurROM has become somewhat mainstream now, and this weakness will undoubtedly shepherd in other undesirable shenanigans.

    • by webheaded (997188)
      They won't care and they won't feel it. They don't come out and tell people about these things so 90% of people will not even know it's there. It's sneaky, underhanded, and they'll get away with it most likely because they'll hide it and only nerds will know about it. Yeah, we could not buy the game and we'd feel all warm and fuzzy too, but that doesn't mean we're actually going to make a dent in their sales...ESPECIALLY for a game like this that is target at well...a different type of person than a nerd
    • by nurb432 (527695)

      You want to know how you the consumer can fix this? You don't buy the games that have this kind of advertisement in it!

      Its not like they tell you this on the box.. Normally the sale has long since past before the average guy figures this stuff out.

  • Yay! (Score:4, Interesting)

    by osu-neko (2604) on Sunday August 30, 2009 @12:20PM (#29252637)

    If it means more money for the people who produce the games I like, so they can hire more coders, more artists, more level designers, etc., then great!

    I don't object to the idea in principle. I think it's a great idea, actually. Only concerns I have circle around the degree of anonymity and security. But if those are issues that are handled well, then this is a good thing for me as a gamer.

    • Re:Yay! (Score:5, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 30, 2009 @12:38PM (#29252801)

      No it just means more money for the people who produce games, so they can have more money...

      • This is such an odd attitude and it's an attitude shared by the majority of people. What do you think the game publishers (or any company, for that matter) DO with their profits?

        They reinvest them to make more of the same thing. That's why capitalism works and socialism does not.
    • by Bert64 (520050)

      It should be free to download/play with ads, or you can pay for have a version without ads...
      I extremely resent having to pay for something and then be bombarded with ads as well.

      An ad supported game may be a better long term strategy than selling the games anyway, you get ongoing revenue so long as people play the game and you effectively eliminate piracy since it becomes easier to download the legit copy , so long as the ads aren't so intrusive that they detract from gameplay (or pirates may come out with

      • I extremely resent having to pay for something and then be bombarded with ads as well.

        I do too, but unfortunately it has been a part of life for a long time: newspapers, magazines, cable TV, satellite radio, movies in theaters as well as DVDs with trailers, sporting events etc etc are all things that you pay for and still get bombarded with ads.
    • Re:Yay! (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Tom (822) on Sunday August 30, 2009 @01:20PM (#29253189) Homepage Journal

      If it means more money for the people who produce the games I like, so they can hire more coders, more artists, more level designers, etc., then great!

      Yeah, as if that is going to happen.

      The games industry is going down (in both senses) the same route that the movie, and music industries have. Who do you think will profit from this, the producers and artists, or the distributors? My bet's not on the developers.

  • Discount? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by silver69 (1481169) on Sunday August 30, 2009 @12:23PM (#29252671)
    Easy solution, offer two versions of the game. One with out the ads and one with the ads but at a discount, say 50% off. Then let the consumer decide.
    • What? And let those without ads get away with it? Naah... If they *can* put more ads in there, they *will*. Wait for whole "games" to be designed around nothing but a pile of marketing shit.

  • by MrMista_B (891430) on Sunday August 30, 2009 @12:27PM (#29252701)

    I'm okay with this!

    If they give me the game for free.

    If they won't give me the ad-crippled game for free, then there's hundreds of really good games that /don't/ have ads, that I still haven't played yet.

  • ... is a complete absence of it. This is one more reason to remain a loner when it comes to gaming, and shun online multiplayer in favor of lan party or "skirmish" gaming only.

  • by Fallen Kell (165468) on Sunday August 30, 2009 @12:40PM (#29252835)
    As the title says, vote with your wallet. Don't buy the game and send a letter, not an email, to the companies involved and let them know why you are not purchasing their game(s).
  • by RockClimbingFool (692426) on Sunday August 30, 2009 @12:42PM (#29252851)

    1.) Data collected is purely my from my interaction with the game only. IE, you don't get to data mine my harddrive, my browser history, etc.

    2.) I am not forced to watch ads to play the game. Showing some ads during loading periods is borderline, prolonging the load screen time to force me to watch ads is not acceptable. Need for Speed lends itself very well to in game advertising that does not get in the way of actual game play (billboards, decals, etc.)

    3.) Any collection is done only by the game, in the game. No root kits, background processes, etc.

    But in reality, they probably want to:

    1.) Rootkit your computer to watch any activity you do on your computer at all times.

    2.) Place an unhidable screen overlay that bombards you with ads all the time. And this overlay would be needed anytime the game was installed as part of the EULA.

    3.) Attach a GPS tracking device to your leg to monitor which stores you shop at, movies you watch, etc. to enhance you experience during the game.

    You know, the usual stuff. It will be all in the EULA. No worries...

    • by sowth (748135) *

      GPS? No, they'll use RFID [wikipedia.org] to track you, which is probably already in most of your clothes/shoes already. RFID has unique IDs for each chip. All they have to do is put scanners in doorways, next to cash registers, and they can track where you go, and connect the RFID in your clothes to your credit card and transactions. Not so different from the advertising in Minority Report, except they don't have to scan your eye.

      IBM appears to have a patent on "Identification and tracking of persons using RFID-tagged i [spychips.com]

  • "without the users' explicit consent and out of their control, which raises further concerns about privacy, security and quite frankly, customer abuse."

    No, in the ToS for gold it clearly mentions this (likely its in the ToS for the whole online service as it'd effect silver players too) - and the most obivious point here is - Dont play online if you dont want that.

    The fact you can't really put any infomation INTO a game, no "real" infomation at least. A gamertag, an IP, maybe some address info, but thats no

  • Amazes me (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Maxo-Texas (864189) on Sunday August 30, 2009 @12:48PM (#29252917)

    how much freedom and privacy young people are willing to give up.

    I won't buy these-- for the first two decades I owned computers they were completely mine. Concepts like these weren't even considered *and* good games were profitable at the same inflation adjusted pricing levels (about $20 to $25 for a good game in the 80's).

    I'm headed the other way on this train. I've been reducing cable and it's likely to go black in the next few weeks.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Well, the same with me - I started gaming in the mid-late 70's, and as you say, for a few decades there, my computer was mine.

      But times change. You, me, and the handful of others who think the same way simply don't matter. There aren't enough of us. The shift will happen whether we want it to or not. Young people really *don't* care about privacy. (As a rule of thumb - there are exceptions of course - there are 17 y.o's who agree with us, just not very many).

      I believe things like this are part of getti

  • Realism (Score:3, Insightful)

    by theJmtz (842443) on Sunday August 30, 2009 @12:50PM (#29252935)
    I think the privacy concern here is a real one. However I don't see the big deal about advertising in games. When I'm playing a game like GTA4 which is supposed to be in NYC, or Rainbow 6 vegas, making a city look real is a major part of those games. Real cities have advertising: billboards, storefronts, posters, whatever. "Fake" adds work great for those, but seeing an add for a company I've heard of certainly doesn't hurt the immersion, it can actually help it. Of course this doesn't apply to the stupid big splash-screen adds or things showing up in blatant, or gameplay changing ways. Those are annoying and need to go. Clearly some games can add this (like those I mentioned above) while others, say Final Fantasy or Mario anything will never lend themselves to this. I think it's a matter of context. Grabbing private information from my computer/console to try and customize these adds is a direction I'm not a huge fan of, but this is very much not isolated to video games. It's all over the web and I'm sure advertisers are trying to do it elsewhere.
  • by kupekhaize (220804) on Sunday August 30, 2009 @12:54PM (#29252975) Homepage

    Dear Activision,

    I just found out you are one of the companies that are using massive's massively annoying advertising technology to deliver ads in game. This is unacceptable, I'm not going to pay $100 for a game where I am going to constantly have advertisements thrown at me.

    I've just cancelled my guitar hero 5 pre order (which was going to ship out tomorrow). Glad I found out about this now. Just how many in game ads does it take to equal that $100? I don't know myself, but i bet you do. And its probably not a trivial number.

    Here's a news flash. WE DO NOT WANT THIS CRAP, AND WE ESPECIALLY DONT WANT TO PAY FOR IT.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Hurricane78 (562437)

      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.

  • Ick (Score:3, Funny)

    by nurb432 (527695) on Sunday August 30, 2009 @12:56PM (#29253005) Homepage Journal

    Good thing i dont play games.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 30, 2009 @01:01PM (#29253031)

    .. after she saw all those dp adult ads on that soccer simulation game. And she has not even seen the ads popping up lately on dad's golf game...

  • Ok, so as long as Massive isn't lying all they know is the game you're playing, which level you're playing and your IP to know where you are located. If you're playing XBox live this is pretty much public information anyway thanks to "live presence" which is available to licensed companies as an SDK from Microsoft. Are you afraid that the advertising company track your lack of skill on Barbie Horse Adventure or what? There is a valid issue of the publisher making money in addition to the first sale of the p
  • In TFS, the question was posed:

    "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?"

    The answer there is simple. If MS were to try to implement this kind of thing in, say, Office - how fast do you think people would be jumping over to OpenOffice? They can't make you watch ads if you control the source code.

  • 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.

    • by Blakey Rat (99501)

      Microsoft owns Massive.

      Doesn't preclude PS3 or Wii offerings, but I doubt it's a high priority for Microsoft to offer them.

  • Massive's agreement with Blizzard positions the firm as the sole advertising provider for Battle.net, the online Blizzard-only gaming service due for a significant relaunch upon the release of next year's StarCraft II.

    I wonder what will be advertised in StarCraft. Maybe interstitial ads during loading.

    One of my back-burner ideas is to write a video player that inserts ads whenever the stream isn't keeping up. Recognize breaks in the video, and buffer ahead until you have enough video locally to play

  • ...The more attractive my old Megadrive and SNES look.
  • the next bubble (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Tom (822) on Sunday August 30, 2009 @01:53PM (#29253473) Homepage Journal

    I've been waiting for years for this whole advertisement business to collapse in on its own.

    Fact is, nobody can really say how much it works, or doesn't. What science is there in marketing knows that 50-90% of all advertisement is simply burnt money. The problem is that they can't say which ones.

    So, the business has expanded and expanded and expanded, until you can't go anywhere without being bombarded by ads. When things go badly, do more of the same. Sad how humans always work that way, no matter if its war, politics, banking, business...

    It'll be a big bust one day, and after that we're finally free of that terror(*). Well, one can hope.

    (*) no, advertisement won't go away. But this constant, permanent, noisy and interruptive stuff will.

  • A game like Need for Speed or a sports game that already has fixed in game advertisement (billboards when or realistic advertising around the field) I don't see being a big deal. Or any other game set in a situation where there is realistically going to be ads in the environment (futuristic games that have electronic billboards, etc.

    The trick is integrating it into the game so the instant you see it you don't think, 'wtf is that doing here'.

  • If you play online, you have to deal with fees, cheaters, bigots, ass-cams, and now up-to-date ads. Unless it's with MMOs, you can get along fine without online gaming. I'd rather just have friends over or direct connect with them (i.e. over VPN, etc).
  • Boycotting games, or for that matter any other media (music, movies, etc) for reasons of principals doesn't actually have the intended effect.

    If game sales are low, the publisher is going to blame is piracy. Not due to people boycotting the game due to shitty DRM, crappy bugs, shallow gameplay, etc, but piracy. What will this result in? More research into developing the perfect game, which publishers will purchase and force developers to integrate into their game, resulting in less time/money being put into

    • by GF678 (1453005)

      More research into developing the perfect game

      Damnit, that's suppose to say "More research into developing the perfect DRM".

      Where's my coffee?

  • by CubeNudger (984277) on Sunday August 30, 2009 @10:14PM (#29256743)
    So why have game companies adopted this sort of shit, even though their market research tells them that their customers hate it? Blame Wall Street. It's no coincidence that publicly traded companies like EA and Activision are the pioneers of this garbage, and privately-held Valve refuses to participate (see their longstanding refusal to charge for DLC on the Xbox, for example). Valve knows that in the long-run, angering their customers will result in fewer gamers and a declining industry. Are EA and Activision too retarded to realize this? No! But their executives are under pressure to deliver results every single quarter. If you didn't know this, video games are only profitable for one quarter a year, around Christmas.

    The dream of the suits has always been to find a way to generate more consistent streams of revenue, so that rather than losing money for 3 quarters, you make money for all 4. Track the rise of subscription-based MMOs, charging for DLC, in-game-ads and Xbox Live, it coincides nicely with Wall Street putting greater and greater pressure for game companies to deliver consistent results. As a result, more and more gamers become disillusioned with the medium, shrinking the customer pool more and more, causing the suits to demand even GREATER ways to wring hard-earned cash out of their customers. All because the fuckers on Wall Street (whose genius caused our current recession) are too stupid to realize that a business that makes enough money one quarter a year while pleasing its customers is better than one that makes money four quarters a year while pissing them off.

    Is it any coincidence that two of the most profitable and successful PC game developers are privately-held Valve, and famously-insulated-from-the-suits Blizzard? The assholes who control the money used to finance games are just as good at running game companies as they are at buying mortgages.

    People hail Steve Jobs as a genius -- but the only advantage Apple has is the same advantage that Valve has. They realize that the best business strategy is the one that's worked since the beginning of capitalism: Please your customers. There's no future in Wall Street's current infatuation with predatory capitalism.

Never ask two questions in a business letter. The reply will discuss the one you are least interested, and say nothing about the other.

Working...