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In-Game Advertising Makes Games Better? 352

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the i'm-sure-these-systems-will-never-be-abused dept.
Pretty much every time we hear about a game launching in-game advertising it sounds like a horrible idea that will only serve to detract from the experience. However JJ Richards of Massive wants you to give it a chance, claiming that if done correctly it can not only work, but actually enhance the overall experience. "In fact, according to Massive's research, gamers like ads. Here's the caveat: they have to add to the gaming experience. He describes a game that takes place in Times Square. With no ads, it's not real at all. With generic ads, it's a little better. 'Now imagine Times Square with ads you just saw on television or read in a newspaper—the latest movie release or television show or a new car model,' he said. 'Imagine further that it is up-to-the-minute, whether you played your game today or six months from now. That is much more realistic.' His argument is that gamers consume the experience of ads, not just the ads themselves. 'The ads add to and enhance that experience, and our research shows that it is highly effective for both game play as well as advertisers.'"
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In-Game Advertising Makes Games Better?

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  • ...but Beyonce... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by El Lobo (994537) * on Friday October 09, 2009 @01:11PM (#29695355)
    Sure, but you culs always do like it's done in some other games (Formula One racing Simulator, for example) where real life Marlboro, Camel. Michelin, etc ads are replaced by fake products (Colten soda, Frantic tires, etc). The result? A very realistic environment without the real life ads poisoning.
    • by tepples (727027)

      Sure, but you culs always do like it's done [with] fake products

      By "culs" did you mean "A-holes" (compare French cul and similar words in other Romance languages [wikipedia.org]), or was it a typo for "could"?

    • by EnterDaMatrix (845617) on Friday October 09, 2009 @01:29PM (#29695663)
      Agreed, I prefer the witty advertising in games like Fallout 3 and Bioshock
    • GTA did it best... (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 09, 2009 @01:32PM (#29695703)

      A real world, with real chains and real ads, all of which are made up is the best way to do it. You have all the liberties of not infringing anyones shit, and a nice in-world level of coherency and realism. Using real-world advertisements would be detrimental.
      In racing or sports games on the other hand, you're simulating the real world - so of course you want real world ads to go with, and can probably swipe some money from the guys.

      It all depends on what you want to achieve. For gritty real-world shit, you want to get actual advertisements - for ironic, fun and fantasy "world"-games (of which I notice a bit of a lack of well thought out ones), you go with alternatives. Non-world games (which are getting rarer...) should of course not feature any ads at all, thankyouverymuch.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Bakkster (1529253)

        Absolutely, if it would seem out of place without the ads (racing simulators, licensed professional sports games), make some money off of it. If it's a fictitious world, ficticious ads can add to the experience (GTA, Fallout 3).

      • by commodore64_love (1445365) on Friday October 09, 2009 @02:06PM (#29696227) Journal

        Both you and the Article's quoted "expert" make a false assumption:

        - I'm not really looking for realism in my games. If I was I'd play games where my soldier characters get shot and falls over. The end. Instead I play games that are deliberately non-realistic, where I can get shot 10,000 times, eat some food, and miraculously heal.

        • by GIL_Dude (850471) on Friday October 09, 2009 @02:14PM (#29696335) Homepage
          Good call on that. I also see they mention things like:

          Now imagine Times Square with ads you just saw on television or read in a newspaper

          But I don't see any ads on TV. That (and time shifting) is what a TiVo or other DVR is for. Ads are there (for the marketer) to convert to sales. For the user, ads are there to annoy us. I don't read a paper - I use the internet. With Adblock Plus. Now, can they find some other reason I would want ads in my game?

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by brianosaurus (48471)

          Bingo! Realism isn't always best for gaming.

          I think ads detract from the real world. Ads in a game might suck in a realistic way, but they still suck.

    • by TheMiddleRoad (1153113) on Friday October 09, 2009 @01:35PM (#29695759)

      Make players wait in line to buy items in an MMORPG. Make those leveling up characters only capable of talking to one person at a time, and they get breaks, too. Require bathroom breaks or experience loss of social status as characters crap their pants. Require quarterly paperwork to file video game taxes.

      This guy is an idiot.

      • by spun (1352) <loverevolutionar ... m ['hoo' in gap]> on Friday October 09, 2009 @01:57PM (#29696113) Journal

        In their own minds, they are helping deliver valuable products that people enjoy, and informing them about their choices. Cognitive dissonance keeps them from thinking about what they are really doing. It keeps them from putting two and and two together. They went to school to learn mind control. In their own discussions they can be very frank about the fact that they want to control people and get them to do things that may be against their best interest, but they can not see that in moral terms they are doing something very, very wrong. They are planting false ideas in people's heads, making them believe that a company loves them, that a beer will make them sexy, that a pill will make their dicks bigger or their bellies smaller, that choosing the right products will make them popular and happy. They are preying on people's insecurities. And it works. If marketing were not capable of controlling people's actions, it would be useless.

        You know, there is another class of goods that gets accused of controlling people's actions and making them do harmful things against their will: drugs. We can't even prove that drugs do this, while advertising would not be salable if it didn't. Why are drugs illegal but advertising is legal?

      • by sopssa (1498795) * <sopssa@email.com> on Friday October 09, 2009 @02:03PM (#29696195) Journal

        Make players wait in line to buy items in an MMORPG. Require bathroom breaks or experience loss of social status as characters crap their pants.

        Am I the only one who has always wanted to see more such in RPG games (single player or multiplayer)?

        I've always hated how the character you're playing never needs to eat, drink, sleep or do something fun once in a while. He always just adventures and fights the bad guys till the campaign is over.

        I've always wanted to have a realistic game like that. I even coded some such as a kid (obviously they never got finished, but the basic things we're there). Yeah The Sims is there, but its not exactly an RPG and haven't been fun since Sims 1 came out (and that stopped being fun after a few expansion packs too).

        Some games are made to escape reality. But why do I always have to escape some scifi/fantasy/completely unrelated place of real world.

        Combine normal "every day in life" things like these with a good, self-thinking AI and it makes a great sandbox game and brings some pause to the constant fighting, massive storytelling and questing in RPG's.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by mh1997 (1065630)

          I've always hated how the character you're playing never needs to eat, drink, sleep or do something fun once in a while. He always just adventures and fights the bad guys till the campaign is over.

          To watch your character sit and eat a meal for 30 minutes, immediately take a crap for 20 minutes, sit on the couch and watch tv for a couple hours before the character goes to bed does not sound like a fun game.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by CecilPL (1258010)
          So each character, in addition to an HP meter and an MP meter, also has a hunger meter, bathroom meter, and tiredness meter? And then if any of those meters get up too high they get some status effect that prevents them from fighting adequately?

          Seems like a cool idea, until you realise that having 4 characters in your party, all of whom need to eat, sleep, and shit at differing times, makes it really difficult to actually PLAY THE GAME. The last thing I want to do when levelling up before that boss fight

    • by CastrTroy (595695) on Friday October 09, 2009 @01:48PM (#29695967) Homepage
      The thing is, it would only work for games that are supposed to be happening in the present, and in a non-fictional place on eart. Any game based on the past, or based on the future, or based in a fictional place would not benefit from real ads. So games like GTA, or some F1 Racing game might benefit, but games like Starcraft or Wolfenstein would not.
    • The result? A very realistic environment without the real life ads poisoning.

      The result? A very, but less, realistic environment.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Yeah fake ads are better. I could see real ads working in a few games but what about period games set in the past or future? Do you want to see an ad for the latest movie in a game set in the 1930's or see coke adds in Halo? This sounds like a pretty lame argument to me.

  • Illusion (Score:4, Insightful)

    by sopssa (1498795) * <sopssa@email.com> on Friday October 09, 2009 @01:11PM (#29695359) Journal

    He is right in that aspect that real-world products, trademarks or ads in real-world game can go towards players experience.

    I rather see real Coca-Cola cans coming from the vending machine than some made up or close so "Joca Jola" name. It breaks the illusion.

    Even if the gameworld doesn't take place in real world, but lets say future, it can still count for the user experience. It improves the scifi experience more when player can think "oh McDonalds is still around" and game designers can put more detail in to the game by coming up with some funky stuff for them.

    But this also has the problem that trademark owners usually dont like showing their products in bad light and going even so far that the game is not allowed to break their cars and so on.

    It's not a bad idea - but it can be really bad if done incorrectly.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I think it might work out in modern and futuristic settings because we already expect the ads to be there, but if you're running around on a unicorn to save the fairy kingdom I doubt that someone selling Coke at the local bazaar is going to improve the experience at all. Personally, though, I don't like ads, period. I would rather see less of them in games simply because I have to deal with so many of them outside of games and would honestly like a break now and then. I fear that sooner or later the only wa

    • Re:Illusion (Score:4, Insightful)

      by mcgrew (92797) * on Friday October 09, 2009 @01:18PM (#29695499) Homepage Journal

      "Product placement" I would agree with, but product placement isn't advertising. Product Placement is having Walt Kowalski bitch because his Heiniken isn't a PBR. An advertisemsnt is what you see before the movie starts. I can agree with product placements, but nit advertising. And showing a picture of a screen in-game with a commercial on that screen isn't product placement.

      I liked the futuristic McDonalds in The Fifth Element.

      If advertisers (or product placers) start paying to get their products placed, or moreso, if you see ads before the game starts, will the price of games go down?

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        "Product placement" I would agree with, but product placement isn't advertising.

        When my dad was a freshman in college (1954) the cigarette promoters gave smokes to the fraternities for parties called "smokers". The booze distributors also gave booze for those same parties and this was at a state university. They also used the red cross to distribute free smokes to the military service men.

      • Re:Illusion (Score:5, Insightful)

        by mhajicek (1582795) on Friday October 09, 2009 @01:59PM (#29696135)

        If advertisers (or product placers) start paying to get their products placed, or moreso, if you see ads before the game starts, will the price of games go down?

        Nope. Remember when cable TV was new? One of the big selling point was that there were no commercials. Why would there be commercials, when you're paying for access? Well once Cable became mainstream a couple channels started sneaking in a few commercials, then a few more, then commercials on cable became standard. They get you to pay to view their advertising.

        • I do remember when cable was new. Two of the main draws for my family in California were WTBS (Atlanta) and WGN (Chicago), which were some of the earliest non-premium channels I can remember. (They showed the Braves and the Cubs, respectively, and I watched baseball all the time back then.) Also available, but rarely watched, was WWOR out of New Jersey/NYC. There were the same amount of ads as on local broadcast channels on all three of them, some of them for things not available in California.

          The premi

        • Re:Illusion (Score:5, Informative)

          by jdgeorge (18767) on Friday October 09, 2009 @02:50PM (#29696773)

          If advertisers (or product placers) start paying to get their products placed, or moreso, if you see ads before the game starts, will the price of games go down?

          Nope. Remember when cable TV was new? One of the big selling point was that there were no commercials. Why would there be commercials, when you're paying for access? Well once Cable became mainstream a couple channels started sneaking in a few commercials, then a few more, then commercials on cable became standard. They get you to pay to view their advertising.

          No. When cable TV was new (at least where I was), there sure as heck were commercials. There were a bunch of network affiliates and local broadcast stations, all of which had advertisements. One of the oddities touted in early cable days was the idea that you would have a channel (Home Shopping Network) that carried nothing but advertisement. Then there were the premium channels (WHT, HBO, later Showtime), which carried feature movies, but no advertisements. There were a few channels with content owned or licensed by the cable network that carried no advertisements. MTV actually IS and was a commercial for the pop music industry.

          So, there never was some kind of ideal time when cable TV was commercial free, because you just paid for access.

      • by qoncept (599709)
        You're nitpicking. Product placement is advertisement. The article is obviously referring to product placement. Who would say that watching a commercial before being able to play your game is good?
      • by The Moof (859402)

        if you see ads before the game starts, will the price of games go down?

        Well, last time they tried it, no. And people were pissed off and complained enough, they pulled the functionality from the game [next-gen.biz].

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by SEAL (88488)

      But this also has the problem that trademark owners usually dont like showing their products in bad light and going even so far that the game is not allowed to break their cars and so on.

      This is right on the money. Forza Motorsport 3 had to rely on a lot of Microsoft legal wrangling to get the car companies to even allow *limited* damage modelling in the game. The major auto manufacturers are VERY picky about how you can depict their vehicles. This applies to movies as well as racing games. Look at the blatant Audi product placement in Iron Man. I'm not talking about the R8 either. I'm talking about the family driving in their Audi towards the end of the movie in the last major fight

    • by Aphoxema (1088507) *

      Even if the gameworld doesn't take place in real world, but lets say future, it can still count for the user experience. It improves the scifi experience more when player can think "oh McDonalds is still around"...

      ... How depressing. *sighs*

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Blaze74 (523522)
      The problem is there is a very small segment of games that fit the model. You can't throw ads in yet another WW2 shooter, or some fantasy world, LOTR, etc. So if in game advertising is where people want to go, most of our games will end up being current time, or near future.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Draek (916851)

      Agreed. Would Coca-Cola allow devs to use their name for the radioactive Nuke Cola in Fallout? or in a dirty, broken vending machine in Left 4 Dead? hell, even subtler stuff, like the references to consumerism in Omikron's Quanta Cola ads?

      For in-game advertising to work, big companies' marketing departments need to approach it maturely. If they insist their stores' virtual replicas must be pristine safe havens in a city gone to hell the advertising will be far too blantant for the gamer to react positively

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by uncledrax (112438)

        I concurr.

        In the OPs example of Times Square, in a contempory-themed game title, real ads would work great, and would in fact enhance the experience. However you're correct in that the legal-wrangling involved between the companies might make it hard to do well.

        I'd be A-OK with ads in titles like MMOs if:
        - The revenues went to cost-deferring expenses for the player (either make the game free-to-play, no-up-front cost, or otherwise use a good portion of the moneies to expand/enhance the title)
        - Ads are in-ch

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by ausekilis (1513635)

      It's not a bad idea - but it can be really bad if done incorrectly.

      • I can see it now, a WoW loading screen: "This instance brought to you by McDonalds, why not fight Onyxia while chowing down on our new Quadruple Big-Mac? And how about you wash it down with one of our gallon cups of Mountain Dew, Game Fuel?"
      • Or we could have every flight master attach a different banner to their bat/gryphon. That way when people are flying around, the rest of us can see "Enjoy Coca-Cola" flying by in the distance.
      • Doom 3: "Let me pull out my Dell PDA and see if I can open this door"

      Don't g

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by uncledrax (112438)

        "I can see it now, a WoW loading screen: "This instance brought to you by McDonalds, why not fight Onyxia while chowing down on our new Quadruple Big-Mac? And how about you wash it down with one of our gallon cups of Mountain Dew, Game Fuel?" "

        What?! Your game doesn't support the /pizza command?!

    • Yes, and IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH and WAR IS PEACE.

      Ads for Ghost Rider really enhanced people's experience of Battlefield 2142.

      Watching Will Smith get his "vintage" Converse All-Stars in I, Robot really helped me become immersed in the future and illusion of a dystopian future (not to mention the 100's of other ads in that movie).

      • by Verdatum (1257828)
        aww, shame on you for making me recall that abomination of a product placement. I haven't been able to buy a single pair of chucks since then.
    • I totally agree with you.

      For instance, I used to play an old MLB (baseball) game on the PC. Of course the announcers would tell who's batting and call the balls, strikes, and plays, but there was lots of dead time. They'd periodically insert advertisements, and it did fill the space and even add some realism to the game, but that was mostly destroyed by the absurdities they came up with: "Piranha Perogies – the perogies that bite back!" I personally thought it was stupid and they should've just got so

    • by Darinbob (1142669)
      I don't know, I think in game advertising works. I'm really thirsty for a Nuka Cola right now.
  • by BadAnalogyGuy (945258) <BadAnalogyGuy@gmail.com> on Friday October 09, 2009 @01:15PM (#29695417)

    How about I come park outside your house and enhance your sleeping pleasure by blaring Swedish death metal at all hours of the night? I bet with the right combination of Mayhem and Burzum you'd find that not only was the intrusion on your sleepytime making the overall sleep experience better but also that your dreams were brighter and more colorful.

    STOP ADVERTISING TO ME WHEN I'VE ALREADY PAID FOR YOUR PRODUCT, ASSHOLE.

    • by shentino (1139071)

      Ads are a time tested method of subsidizing the price of a game that you may otherwise have to pay BIG bucks for.

      It's the same reason that newspapers are so damned cheap.

      • Ads are a time tested method of subsidizing the price of a game that you may otherwise have to pay BIG bucks for.

        It's the same reason that newspapers are so damned cheap.

        Time will tell if this applies. Some part of me thinks that subsidized advertisements in a game won't drop the price of the game. Instead they'll be making up "lost profits due to piracy". However, if there was a $20 ad-laden version of a game as opposed to a $60 ad-free version, we might see a change in purchasing behavior. I bet more people would drop the $20 to test out a game, even if it sucks it's not a big loss. Besides, we /.'ers know how to set up port blocking on our routers/systems. As long as the

      • Ads are a time tested method of subsidizing the price of a game that you may otherwise have to pay BIG bucks for.

        It's the same reason that newspapers are so damned cheap.

        Most new games cost me $40-$60 USD at retail.

        Last time I checked, our currency hadn't devalued enough to consider that cheap.

    • by tepples (727027) <tepples@gm a i l . com> on Friday October 09, 2009 @01:30PM (#29695675) Homepage Journal

      STOP ADVERTISING TO ME WHEN I'VE ALREADY PAID FOR YOUR PRODUCT, ASSHOLE.

      I take it you don't watch basic cable TV or basic satellite TV. You pay for it, but it still has ads.

      • by Chris Burke (6130)

        I take it you don't watch basic cable TV or basic satellite TV. You pay for it, but it still has ads.

        I watch the show, I don't watch the ads.

        If the ad were playing side-by-side or within the TV show itself, then no, I wouldn't watch that TV at all.

        They aren't talking about having ads during loading screens, or as separate cut-scenes, where I can flip the channel or go get another beer. They're talking about planting the ads within the game so that you can't both play the game and avoid the ads.

        It's very di

    • BadAnalogyGuy is that you? Oh, wait, it is...
    • by sopssa (1498795) *

      Wonder if you even read what the article and summary is about. It's not about blasting the ads all over you, popping up ads in-game or intrusive methods. It talks about improving the game world by using real world ads too.

      Before just jumping to the usual "ADS ARE BAD; I PAID; I DONT WANT ADS; YOU'RE THE REASON WORLD IS A BAD PLACE!" ship, correctly integrated ads in the game world can have their place. Better if it can support the development cost too. Even if it doesn't show in the price tag, then they ha

      • Well, an in-game ad is also kind of an insane way to deal with people who play your game.

        Instead of saying "This game is great", an in-game ad says "Go do something else that is more fun".
        It is similar to a porn site that tries to make money off links to competing porn sites.

        I can see that ads have their place in free games which would otherwise not be possible, and that it could make sense if your game melds in with real life non-gaming ads.

    • by nametaken (610866)

      STOP ADVERTISING TO ME WHEN I'VE ALREADY PAID FOR YOUR PRODUCT, ASSHOLE.

      Tell that to movie makers while you're at it. I HATE the idea that I have to watch a commercial to see a movie I payed $11 to see in the first place.

      • by uncledrax (112438)

        That's a fundemental difference in who gets the revenue.
        The Movie Producers get your ticket money.
        The Theatre gets the money for the Pepsi Ad you watch before the movie.

        My understanding is movie theaters pretty much make zip on the ticket sale.. they generate most of their revenue in ads and concessions.

    • by brian0918 (638904)

      STOP ADVERTISING TO ME WHEN I'VE ALREADY PAID FOR YOUR PRODUCT

      Err, you seem to have that completely backwards. The product doesn't exist yet. With the possibility of in-game advertising, the game developers will have more resources (CASH MONEY) to work with. They'll then make the game, and then you can decide whether or not to buy it.

      Your wording implies that you've already agreed to a purchase of a game that previously didn't have advertisements, but is now going to get them. Either that, or you believe that the game would be possible regardless of whether the dev

  • Yep (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Maximum Prophet (716608) on Friday October 09, 2009 @01:16PM (#29695447)
    While never released, I worked on a video game that was set in the future, and we planned to have fake ads on billboards to make the game more realistic. If we put ads for future products that might exist, i.e. the Sony PS9, it would have been even better.

    However, a popup that distracts from the game would have been right out.
    • That actually makes me think of an interesting idea.

      Make two editions of the game. One with fake ads, one with real ones. Discount the one with real ads, and use the ad revenue to subsidize the game. Furthermore, have the game download the ads off the internet periodically so that you can keep them relevant.

      Better yet, do this with a monthly-subscription game, and make only one version of the game. Then let people decide on their subscription, and heavily discount (or possibly eliminate) the monthly fee for

  • I enjoy seeing each games fake take on real world companies/products. It's funny a lot of times, other times it's very clever. Also I hate, in game ads that have no place being there. Think it was BF2142 where I kept seeing ads for Ghost Rider, which was just terrible.
  • by Fwipp (1473271)
    My problem with advertising in games isn't that I am fundamentally opposed to it - in fact, if it can make producing games more lucrative or cheaper for me, I'm all for it. The problem is when you get two or three companies sponsoring an entire in-game world, and every other billboard is displaying the exact same advertisement. That breaks my immersion much faster than a made up product. But, it costs time and money to negotiate these deals, so it is much easier to get two big advertisers than the twenty
  • So long as the advert spots are equivalent to the ones in real life, I agree. I've never minded the occasional racing game that includes billboards with real adverts. But who wants to bet EA types will go overboard with it? Better not to even start down that slippery slope -- if you want to make games more realistic with ads, make them fake ads like GTA does.
  • NO, we don't. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by PontifexPrimus (576159) on Friday October 09, 2009 @01:19PM (#29695519)
    No, we really, really, don't. I hate ads with a passion, and I can't imagine a situation where I would rather have any space in-game taken up by an ad display than a blank space or a simple generic texture.
    This goes double for ads that require an internet connection to update and waste my bandwidth for something I have no interest in.
    And lastly, I can not imagine finding anything relevant in an in-game ad: Wow, the new Ferrari is out! I must buy one immediately! Hey, the cinemas in Left4Dead 2: The Bloodening advertise the newest RomCom, surely a must-see!
    I play games to fucking escape my ordinary life, not to have the worst aspects transplanted into it, especially since most games don't have realistic (as in "real-world") characters in them, anyway ("90% of all genetically enhanced super-soldiers agree: Clearasil is the choice of space marines!").
    • by JSBiff (87824)

      I could go for some limited product placement. . .

      Like, say, in a car game like a GTA, having actual brands of cars, and having their physics more or less be accurate for the car model (so that the BMWs and Ferraris accelerate much more quickly than, say, the Smart Car, and being able to 'Test Drive' the car in-game by jacking it from a car lot. (Note, I've not yet played any of the Recent GTAs, so they may have even done this, by now, for all I know - the last GTA I played was Vice City, though I'm slowly

    • by tepples (727027)

      I play games to fucking escape my ordinary life, not to have the worst aspects transplanted into it

      Then I'll guess that social simulators like The Sims series and Animal Crossing series aren't for you.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by ZekoMal (1404259)
      Again, it depends. For example, if a game was set ten years in the future, it may add to it. Say, massive monster apocalypse, and you walk by a billboard that says "McDonald's, I'm lovin' it!". Biting irony, maybe have some blood splattered on it or some splayed corpses. On the other hand, how unrealistic would it be if it was entirely devoid of all advertisements?

      But 30 second load screens? Oh yeah, those suck. 100% agreeance. In game product placement advertising? May add to it, but only in the right ki

    • Heh, I wouldn't mind seeing a Zombieland trailer playing on a knocked over TV set in L4D...
    • by The Moof (859402)

      I can't imagine a situation where I would rather have any space in-game taken up by an ad display than a blank space or a simple generic texture.

      Actually, I'd find doing that in sports games would actually detract from the immersion. Take a look around the various arenas and stadiums for professional sports, there's ads all over the place.

    • I am having difficulty imagining what an enjoyable advertisement in a game would be. Sure, a realistic video game Times Square would have ads. You wouldn't recognize Times Square without ads.

      However, how many games really take place in a realistic environment where ads would be natural? After all, Times Square is really in a class of few in its placing of ads at the heart of the place.

      The only ad I've ever seen in a video game is billboards advertising Intel Core2 processors [tinypic.com] in the Highway Tampa map for Ba

  • by Terwin (412356) on Friday October 09, 2009 @01:22PM (#29695565)

    I can see some utility in this. Imagine if you are toting around your grenade launcher and you see an ad that particularly annoys you. So long as you can frag it, I am all for having it in the game.

    Especially effective if you have political advertisements so that you can launch your grenades at a poster with the face of your favorite political demon.

  • by elloGov (1217998) on Friday October 09, 2009 @01:23PM (#29695581)
    I understand that advertisers pay big bucks. However, I'm absolutely sick and overwhelmed by the amount of advertisement I encounter everyday. It's information overload at a conscious and subconscious level for most. Considering the relevance of the information to one's life, it's nothing but spam. It makes it harder for kids and adults alike to focus and pay attention to worthwhile information. Does advertisement make the gaming experience better? It has no relevance, no matter how well you hide it. Advertisers' ultimate goal is to implant a self-serving everlasting memory into your brain. I understand the size of the economics behind this sector, but it's too inflated in every aspect.
  • Porno (Score:4, Insightful)

    by iamacat (583406) on Friday October 09, 2009 @01:25PM (#29695605)

    Come on, everybody knows what kind of ads gamers really want.

  • by fortunato (106228) on Friday October 09, 2009 @01:25PM (#29695615)

    Anyone in advertising that I've ever spoken with always insists people love advertising. However, I've never spoken to anyone outside of advertising that says they like ads. I would think the emergence of things like DVRs, browser adblockers, etc would be a big clue to the advertising industry.

    • by dissy (172727)

      Anyone in advertising that I've ever spoken with always insists people love advertising. However, I've never spoken to anyone outside of advertising that says they like ads

      Governments say "You want us to keep you safe from yourself"

      Rapists also say things such as "She actually wanted it"

      Of course advertisers are going to say everyone loves ads. They would have to admit to themselves how much misery and frustration they cause everyone if they didn't.

      Most[1] people have a tendency to feel guilty and bad when

    • by dr00g911 (531736) on Friday October 09, 2009 @04:52PM (#29698417)

      I work in advertising.

      People hate advertising. They're inundated with it. People in advertising hate advertising (at least on the creative side)... but they recognize that it's a necessary evil, and it's one of the most reliable ways for slacker artist types like myself to get gainful career employment. I have no illusions. I'm helping sell shit to people that they don't want or need.

      Usually, I work in business to business stuff, so I don't have to do the soul-searching thing as often as folks who market for consumer brands/retail.

      Occasionally people might enjoy a Superbowl spot, or the like, but those are generally narratives, and they account for the tiniest fraction of a percent of all advertising.

      I appreciate the craft and thought process that goes into making effective marketing in the same way that I can appreciate move recaps of classic chess games. That doesn't mean I want to experience them in real-time. I want to experience them on my own terms... marketers' responses have been to simply scream louder and louder so that the advertising can't be avoided.

      My $12 movie ticket buys me 20 minutes of advertorial (not including previews) if I want to get a decent seat. I get congratulated on my free nano or wii 200x a day if I forget to disable Flash. Same thing on a different scale.

      TLDR: Don't think you know too many folks who create advertising... just ones who sell it. There's a difference.

  • Research done by a company selling in game ads says that people like in game ads?

    Sounds like those Microsoft studies finding that Linux has a higher TCO then Windows, or big oil studies showing that climate change is a sham.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    > 'Imagine further that it is up-to-the-minute, whether you played your game today or six months from now

    Yes! *That* is what's been missing from my gaming experiences recently. I knew someone would figure it out. All those classic games I enjoyed in the decades past... little did I know how much better they'd have been if they only had up to the minute advertising! They didn't have advertising *at all*, so now I realize that I wasn't actually enjoying Baldur's Gate or Elite 2. It was a hollow experi

  • Not so fast... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by phayes (202222) on Friday October 09, 2009 @01:32PM (#29695699) Homepage

    The only games I can think of that try to be as close to RL as they can get are the Sims & GTA. OK, for these games the times square example has some validity, but even there, we are not really there for the ads, but to play the damned game. As soon as they start modifying the gameplay to make the ads more visible than they are in RL they will have gone too far.

    I don't want a driving game where the ads are so in your face that you cannot see the track. I don't want a soccer game where the ads are 5 times the size they are in RL. I do not want to be pestered by ads for softdrinks in WoW. Unfortunately I'm sure that once advertising gets a foothold in gaming these & other abuses will outweigh any increase in "realism".

  • NO. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Veggiesama (1203068) on Friday October 09, 2009 @01:32PM (#29695709)

    "In fact, according to Massive's research, gamers like ads."

    Emphatically, absolutely, unequivocally

    WRONG.

  • by nimbius (983462) on Friday October 09, 2009 @01:33PM (#29695721) Homepage
    something that people hate, like ads, will somehow become likeable if it conforms to a time-based nature? so fallout 3 would have "double pits to chesty" axe ads and that would make them likeable? or perhaps Wolfenstein will have ads for family guy and armor all?

    plus i dont think the technology in some cases has been well thought out. example: the same flash gamestop ad, between every clip of The Venture Brothers on Adult Swim, means i see the same rabbit sell me the same shit 5 times for one show. thats a commercial EVERY 6 MINUTES until i have memorized every line in it after 8 videos (40 viewings of the same damned commercial) and hanged myself in the bathroom.

    anyone thought out how angry im going to be when i pay $65 for the latest xbox game only to enjoy commercials and advertisement in it at every opportunity? A comcept that works: Streets of Sim City made commercials laughable for fake products, which actually made the game more fun because a trailer full of marketing execs and legal teams weren't scared about market penetration or viewer reaction.
    • It isn't talking about "stop playing game and be forced to watch ad" type of ads.

      This is talking about seeing an a billboard for Gatorade in a sports game on the walls of the arena, or walking into a "real" McDonald's while going on a murder spree in something like GTA. I agree with TFA that those add to realism, and so what if they make some more cash for the game devs?

      It is important to note that IMHO, this does NOT include things like how Snickers "branded" about 100 terms in the latest Madden game, or

  • Yes, advertising in-game if it's done right can add "flavour" to a scene, like mentioned in the article.

    However, far too often advertising in-game tends to be placed in ways that are an eyesore. I know there's a couple of games that actually use their multiplayer scoreboard as adspace, which is a significant eyesore. High visibility isn't always a good thing when it comes to in-game ads.

    I don't know. I think ads in games aren't going to disappear anytime soon, but I can say with certainty that a game th
  • With no ads, it's not real at all.

    I always thought gamers played to escape reality.

  • Hey if they want to have the ad's on the boards in NHL2015 match the real life arena, that's cool. Driving around some racing sim with ad's for Nike on a billboard doesn't bother me. I really don't care. Sports games are the easiest to think up on how this would work out ok.

    Now if I'm playing some dungeon hack n slash and I see an add for Vigra on the walls, they can go to hell. Or if it's like clippy and come up and tell me that if I want I can click the right trigger and buy the same Nike shoes as act

  • Reality (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Aladrin (926209) on Friday October 09, 2009 @01:41PM (#29695833)

    Or maybe it's reality that's broken. Imagine a Times Square that doesn't have all the ads, but instead has art, or beautiful architecture. Wouldn't that be -much- better?

    Starting from the assumption that ads are good can only lead to the conclusion that ads are good.

  • Reverse it (Score:5, Interesting)

    by dazedNconfuzed (154242) on Friday October 09, 2009 @01:41PM (#29695849)

    Maybe Times Square would be improved by removing the inundation of advertising. Been there, seen it, pretty lame actually once you look just a bit past the initial "Ooh! Shiny!" reflex.

  • How SAD it is that our culture has gotten to the point where we need ads and overt commercialism to validate an experience as 'real.'

    This is the same problem that plagues the movie industry now, where entire plotlines revolve around using famous TV anchors, Larry King et al, or pretend news reels, and copious doses of ads and famous logos to make something unbelievable seem more real.

    Oh gee, if they're interviewing that space alien on Oprah and he's feeling depressed and she's helping give him a sense of s

  • Love or hate it, once it starts it will never stop. In ten years, we will look at games like doom and quake, and marvel not at their primitive graphics, but their lack of ads.

    I just hope that devs aren't fucking idiots, and forget that the ad servers that they are querying for the latest ads might someday not be there..
  • Then again, you can do it right. GTA not only has ads and commercials for fake companies, it has the businesses behind them. You can get a Whiz Wireless cell phone in-game. You can go to Burger Shot. That's doing it right.

  • This just tells us that ads have become expected. Times square is one place. A NASCAR game would be another. A busy New York street or a NASCAR race would actually look wrong without ads because we've grown accustomed to seeing them plastered everywhere. In those cases, gamers might actually find the dissonance between reality and the game to be a distraction.

    Now imagine a game called "Grand Canyon Whitewater Rafting Adventure", where you try to paddle through the canyon while being shot at (and shooting

  • The solution to this is the solution that would solve a lot of problems with games, but will probably never happen - proper reviews.

    Ads in some games are alright. In some games, they're annoying. In some games, they really detract from the experience - maybe not the *gameplay*, but the *experience*. Reviewers should be incorporating all aspects of a game into their reviews *and their scores*, including this one.

    All it will take is a game or two that gets its score dropped by half a point or a full point wit

  • What a damned tool (Score:3, Insightful)

    by cfalcon (779563) on Friday October 09, 2009 @01:55PM (#29696073)

    You could use real ads, but fixed in time. When is the game set? 1995? Then the ads should be from 1995, not updated to today. That's not realistic. Is the game set in 2009 (today as of this writing)? Then it should have those ads, you know, in Times Square. But probably not in some evil villian's fortress, or wherever the game actually takes place.

    Some games, novels, and movies are supposed to be set "today" or "a year from now", though obviously these things all look very dated after twenty years. In these cases only could he defend his case.

    Since all he's *really* doing is trying to justify a massive cash flow- after all, most games aren't set in times square, or any other heavily-dominated-by-advertising area- it doesn't even matter what he's saying. But even if we take him at face value, he's hip deep in BS.

    I won't buy games with ads. I avoid TV because I hate ads. Keep them the hell out games, thanks.

    TMNT for the NES has Pizza Hut ads everywhere. Looks absurd. Looked absurd back then too.

  • I don't care it if it helps lower the cost of the game because it's not going to be significant enough to make me buy a game that I wouldn't buy otherwise because of the price. In reality, if there's a game I really want to play, I'd be willing to pay heavily for it if the cost is justified.

    Just slapping some ads into the game, regardless of how cleverly they are slapped in, does not change my decision to not play a game. In fact, it changes the game that I wanted to wanted to play in the first place so
  • Do you think the GTA series would be improved by having the adds be for Dunkin Doughnuts instead of Rusty Brown's Ring Donuts?

  • One of the best parts of the GTA series are the hilarious fake radio commercials & stupid billboards. I swear they have a 12 year old heading the creative department at Rockstar with all the toilet humor. But all the fake media MAKES the game. You end up playing more to find all those silly things. Still want one of those degenatrons(it takes quarters!).

    You can almost tell the graphic artists get bored so they put some real inappropriate content in there. I remember in one of the Carmageddon games there

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Krneki (1192201)
      Proper ads are bad because they create fake desire in your mind. It doesn't matter how smart you are, they get under your skin. The only safe thing to do, is to not see them. The funny one in GTA are a different thing, they make you smile as opposed to real one, who makes you depressed because you can't afford them.

      P.S: Sure we all love ads, this is why we remove all the stupid intros from the games, which only reason to exist are to delay the start of the game.
  • I can put up with a little bit of ads. I have played racing games and it does ad to the experience. I know a while back I played the "real GTA3" mod and it ahd the actual name for the cars and they had ads and stuff.

    But I do feel like after paying $60 for a video game I shouldn't have to subside it even more with ads.I mean unless they want to reduce the cost of a video game with ads to something like $45 or so dollars.

    I could only put up with ads in video games in just a few genres and in very limited case

  • Realistic !== Fun (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Nerdposeur (910128) on Friday October 09, 2009 @02:05PM (#29696217) Journal

    With no ads, it's not real at all. With generic ads, it's a little better.

    Maybe. But generic ads can be humorous, too. Real ads have to take themselves seriously.

    'Now imagine Times Square with ads you just saw on television or read in a newspaper--the latest movie release or television show or a new car model,' he said. 'Imagine further that it is up-to-the-minute, whether you played your game today or six months from now. That is much more realistic.'

    FAIL. Using the CUSTOMER'S bandwidth pulling down up-to-the-minute ads, so you can get paid for advertising in a game the CUSTOMER already bought? Advertising that will always change, thereby distracting from the game itself? And pitching that as an improvement? FAIL, sir.

    Besides which, realism is only good when it makes a game more fun. Realistic explosions? Good. Realistic insurance claims afterwards? Bad. Some aspects of reality suck, and people play games to escape them.

  • I hate when companies lose their focus like this and worry about marketing initiatives instead of their core focus, making the game. Once they are putting ads in the game, then instead of trying to make the game better it will creep that they need to get you to look at the ads. And all the while the game is not any cheaper and now they are starting to degraded the game as well. I could see ads in some games if they made the game cheaper and better, but for the most part it makes the gaming company lose t
  • Tell that to GTA4 (Score:4, Insightful)

    by SmallFurryCreature (593017) on Friday October 09, 2009 @04:04PM (#29697775) Journal

    It has a "replica" of what looks like a famous NY street pattern and looks just like it (well like the hollywood versions I have seen anyway) and not a real ad in the entire game.

    Sorry, but the story ain't about realistic billboards in the game, advertising don't work that way. The Coca Cola company doesn't want that crushed rusty can that just rolled away to bear its logo, it wants you to sit watching their latest ad for 30 seconds while you want to play the game.

    They don't want you to be a F1 driver, watching a yellow line that is your cars hood and maybe see the shell logo clearly in a flash in a replay. They want you to see their commercial, for 30 seconds and possibly more.

    So yes, real world games CAN gain some immersion by having real world ads in it. But that is NOT what advertisers want, the opposite in fact. GTA did NOT have permission to use REAL car names for their cars. Why not? Free advertising right? Nope.

    Not only does Coca Cola NOT want to pay for that crushed rusty can that ads to immersion, they do NOT want THEIR logo splattered with the brains of the hooker you just killed for a bit of cash.

    Oh, and remember one thing please gamers, IF you sanatize your product and make it overrun with ads, you will have the same effect as TV. No, not free money. The gamer audience, that most lucrative market of young adult men leaving for something else. It already happened to TV. Why do you think we game? because there is nothing on tv.

    The article mentions that the ads are "only" 4-5 minutes in an hour, hardly anything compared to tv. So what are all the complaints about? Because it won't stop there. Advertisers basically want to chain their customer to their ads, forbid them to leave at pain of pain. They WILL increase the amount watched, make it harder and harder to skip until people finally rebel.

    Look at what happened to tv. Innocent commercial blocks have now become so invasive the ads are broadcast OVER the actual program.

    If advertisers had their way you would be driving a cola can powered by cola, collecting cola buttons to spend on cola bottles and every single texture is the cola logo. Interrupt every 30 seconds by a 2 minute commercial.

    Right now an advertiser is creaming his pants at this wonderful idea. You know it.

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