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The Almighty Buck Entertainment Games

In-Game Advertising Breaks Out 513

UID1000000 writes "MSNBC reports that companies like Nielsen are implementing tracked advertising in video games. Viacom is also considering in-game advertising. I can't wait until your first person shooter stops and drinks a nice cold refreshing soda."
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In-Game Advertising Breaks Out

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  • by BoldAC ( 735721 ) on Wednesday August 25, 2004 @10:32AM (#10067840)
    I'm not quite sure how this is all that new. Many, many console games have ads throughout the game. I was playing Madden 2005 just a few minutes ago... and the billboards in the stadiums are pushing all sorts of EA-related stuff.

    What has shocked me is the failure of freeware with embedded ads. For a while it seemed many freeware authors were trying to make money with this concept.

    As a freeware author myself, it didn't work well for my product. People preferred the old, buggy ad-free version to the final version with small, tasteful ads. I ended up making more money off the google ads on the download page than I did from the product.

    I finally killed the ads and the number of people using the program hit the roof.

    AC
    • by proj_2501 ( 78149 ) <mkb@ele.uri.edu> on Wednesday August 25, 2004 @10:34AM (#10067857) Journal
      Madden 2005? I remember the big hullaballoo over Pizza Hut ads all over the NES version of the Ninja Turtles arcade game!
      • The game came with a coupon for a free personal pan pizza, now that is great advertisment to bovine America. Get your kids to play video games, then take them out for some greasy pizza!
      • by glesga_kiss ( 596639 ) on Wednesday August 25, 2004 @11:04AM (#10068245)
        I remember the big hullaballoo over Pizza Hut ads all over the NES version of the Ninja Turtles arcade game!

        Likewise, I'm sure early sports games such as Fifa 96 had advertising. All stadiums tend to have advert boards now, so it was obvious to include these in the game. Initially they used to use the publishing house name and other games they made, but after a point they started to accept advertising from third-party sponsors. That probably began with some "official sponsor of ..." creeping into the games.

        While the submitter may have incorrectly indicated that this is the first game advertising, I think it is true in terms of downloading new adverts as time goes by.

        If you do decide to introduce this form or advertising, tracking is a neccessary evil. You need to know which users have seen which ads. Your clients want to know how many eyeballs saw each one. However, I see no reason why this could not be done on the client side using anonymous submission of the data.

        • by SatanicPuppy ( 611928 ) <Satanicpuppy AT gmail DOT com> on Wednesday August 25, 2004 @11:17AM (#10068392) Journal
          The example they gave in the article was GTA, referring to the billboards on the streets. I can honestly say that it wouldn't bother me at all to see companies pay to put their real product ads in games in that manner. Same goes for sports games, which the ads in the arena, yadda yadda.

          These are places where, in our every day lives, we are used to seeing ads. This is no change, as long as its done in a non-invasive sort of way...That is as long as you aren't forced to sit and absorb the ad.

          Nothing. Nothing in the whole freaking world, makes me madder than being forced to sit through an advertisement. If I have paid for a freaking movie, and they make me watch some goddamn annoying commercial at the beginning, I find that completely intolerable. I doubt I'm alone.

          So it all comes down to the same thing; how much advertising can be done without making people crazy? I think GTA would be a good testbed, because if the ads make the players crazy, you know someone is going to go to the ad company and kill everyone there. Its a given.
          • Doom3 (Score:4, Insightful)

            by Andy Dodd ( 701 ) <atd7@nOspaM.cornell.edu> on Wednesday August 25, 2004 @11:30AM (#10068568) Homepage
            D3 has lots of advertising/news for fictional companies.

            A non-futuristic FPS occuring in current times could include Microsoft software boxes, Dell monitors on desks, maybe the occasional Coke machine, etc.

            Stuff we're used to in our everyday lives that just appears natural there. (Similar to product placement in movies. I'm not speaking of the commercials beforehand, but within the movie, such as a person wearing Nike sneakers or driving a Lexus.)
          • So you mean GTA's gonna get rid of the made up ads and go to real ones? Now that's no fun. I want the perverted ads back...
          • by fatcatman ( 800350 ) on Wednesday August 25, 2004 @02:58PM (#10071168)
            Nothing. Nothing in the whole freaking world, makes me madder than being forced to sit through an advertisement.

            I can think of something. "I, Robot": "Don't you just love these shoes? They're great. They're from the year 2004. Can you zoom in on them? Cool shoes, aren't they? Grandma, make sure you ask me about my shoes later in the film, so I can show them to the crowd yet again. Buy these shoes, guys. Come on, you know you want to."

            This sort of blatent product placement is a load of, excuse my language, pure fucking bullshit. It distracts from the movie and makes me feel like I just paid $10 to see a 2 hour commercial. Next time this shit shows up in a film, I'm walking out and demanding my money back.

            This was as bad as the Subway stuff in Happy Gilmore. Except when Adam Sandler did it, it was a big joke and setup for laughs. He didn't try to take it seriously.

            You want product placement? Stick a coke in a fridge. Have Neo use a Nokia phone. He's going to need a phone anyway, so it might as well be a slick new model that I can go out and buy if I want to. That's realistic and appropriate. Don't stop the whole movie so you can show me your fucking shoes.

            Let's put it this way: Put the item there but don't make a single reference to it. If you have to zoom in on it and talk about it, you're going to piss people off.
        • by bigman2003 ( 671309 ) on Wednesday August 25, 2004 @02:01PM (#10070542) Homepage
          And in a big grand circle...

          Xbox is the 'official console' of World Cup 2006. [xboxrules.com]
    • by stretch0611 ( 603238 ) on Wednesday August 25, 2004 @10:39AM (#10067933) Journal
      This is new because: "Gamers are tracked. New advertisements are delivered on the fly. It's both a game publisher and ad exec's dream."

      I will not pay for a game that tracks me or downloads ads. I am not even sure I would play it for free under thsoe conditions.

      • by Nos. ( 179609 ) <andrew AT thekerrs DOT ca> on Wednesday August 25, 2004 @10:45AM (#10068007) Homepage
        You and I may not, but millions will, especially if it means less expensive (free?) games. Targetted and tracked advertising is the way things are moving. Pushing a commercial to thousands or millions is going by by, which is why were seeing thigs like Google's Adwords/AdSense becoming very popular. Its targetted advertising.
        • by Xofer D ( 29055 ) on Wednesday August 25, 2004 @10:58AM (#10068169) Homepage Journal
          You and I may not, but millions will, especially if it means less expensive (free?) games.
          No they won't. They'll simply download a version which has been cracked to remove the ad misfeatures. You can be certain that such features will be removed along with copy protection, because any feature which downloads ads from the vendor would also be "phoning home", and what cracker would want that? Once they're merely copying the game already, there is a lot less incentive for consumers to purchase the game.

          This probably will not mean less expensive games, and it certainly will not mean free games (giving it away for free makes it less valuable as an advertising medium; free things don't always get used). The game companies will want to maintain the perceived value of their games by not positioning it as a cheap, second-rate game. Of course, we know that it'd just be cheap spyware, so you can count me out too. That's my internet connection, thanks, and just like spam I don't want them using it for their benefit and not mine.

        • by Croaker ( 10633 ) on Wednesday August 25, 2004 @11:06AM (#10068268)

          You and I may not, but millions will, especially if it means less expensive (free?) games.

          The thing is, it won't result in cheaper games. As an example, take a look at the movies. Back in the 80's, it was unheard of to have advertisements for products (other than the coming attractions, that is, which had been established almost as early as the movie theater itself). Now, we have 10 minutes of so of ads for all sorts of crap, reducing a trip to the movies to being TV you pay $10 or more for.

          And has your ticket price gone down at all since they started showing ads? Concessions gotten any cheaper? No. Prices still continue to climb. The theaters and Hollywood just pocket the extra revinue.

          • Recent Experiences (Score:3, Interesting)

            by Nurgled ( 63197 )

            The other day I visited my local cinema with some friends to watch I, Robot. We went to the pub for a drink first and after queueing and my friends buying expensive food products we got in to the theatre proper about 35 minutes after the billed start time, expecting to have missed the start. We were quite shocked (and, on that particular occasion, relieved) to find that we arrived in time to see the last preview trailer as well as the "don't let mobile phones ruin your movie" and the "Love Movies? Hate Pira

        • by _Sprocket_ ( 42527 ) on Wednesday August 25, 2004 @11:14AM (#10068355)


          Targetted and tracked advertising is the way things are moving. Pushing a commercial to thousands or millions is going by by, which is why were seeing thigs like Google's Adwords/AdSense becoming very popular. Its targetted advertising.


          A key part of this is the tracking. Google Adwords goes to certain pains to maintain a privacy barrier between users of Adwords (via site visits, searches, etc.) and those who establish a business relationship based on an Adwords ad (that is - someone who clicks on an ad... and even then the information is limited). This, among other user-favorable approaches to advertising, is what has made Google's system a success.

          The grandparent doesn't say what ad tech they used. But the problem is that by this time, the well has been poisoned. Any app that admits to being "advertising supported" will be viewed as a likely carrier for untold amounts of scumware (spyware, et al). Even if it isn't. The perception is there - and for good reason. Scumware companies have soured our view of that model.

          The interesting thing is that Google entered a poisoned market. Advertising ilk such as Doubleclick polluted online advertising with inappropriate expectations (why is just seeing an ad on TV acceptable but an online campaign a failure if it doesn't generate click-throughs) and playing games with tracking cookies, pop-ups/unders, java, and flash. It's a wonder anyone loads ad banners at all (and an increasing number of users don't). Yet Google has flourished in this wasteland. And a large part of this has to do with their behavior. At the least, they don't behave in a manner that makes it worth the effort to block them. And that only makes an already effective system more effective.

          Purveyors of "tracking" and "targeted" ad technology should be very careful as to what limits their targets will accept.
          • by plover ( 150551 ) * on Wednesday August 25, 2004 @11:42AM (#10068716) Homepage Journal
            I wish I had mod points to give you, this is very insightful.

            And I guess I've surprised even myself with this. I'm an ad-blocker. I'm sorry to anyone's web page I visit that's paid for with advertising-sponsored links, but there is only so much flashy blinky sh!t that I can take. I run the Proxomitron and have a huge ruleset. On top of this I use Mozilla with the popup blocker, and use adblock constantly. I have the flashblocker plugin that simply does not display flash until it's clicked on. It's been so long that I surfed without all this armor that I find myself shocked by the crap people put up with. Pop ups, pop unders, flashy DHTML blocks that fly around their screens, it's like a carnival leaping up to disguise the fact that they are serving information. Hell, I already find the "games.slashdot.org" color scheme to be distatefully distracting enough, without the clutter of banners.

            I do have a few exceptions: I don't deliberately block ads on the sites that I frequent (fark, UF, etc.) in hopes that they get some stipend simply for the traffic. I even buy from the banner ads on some of those sites just to give the business their way.

            I also don't mind SOME OF the banner ads I've found in certain products. For example, XFire is completely sponsored by one small banner ad located at the top center of the screen. It's not PUNCH THE MONKEY BLINKING, it's not spyware sponsored, it's just a small billboard. I appreciated the effort so much I've purchased a couple of games through them just to say "hey, well done guys, this is the right thing to do."

            My other exception is Google's advertising. It's always been text based, so it's never been the visual distraction that causes me to want to block it. I don't always read them, but sometimes I do. Certainly, it gets much more of my attention than the blinky "turn away from the flashing lights" ads. Plus, I've always considered Google to be "the good guys" for all the reasons you mentioned.

            I once evem wrote a proxomitron filter to strip the google ads, but removed it when I realized it was advertising that didn't drive me off, and that might benefit the sites hosting it. So, you're absolutely right -- Google's ads aren't worth the trouble to block.

      • by stretch0611 ( 603238 ) on Wednesday August 25, 2004 @10:58AM (#10068168) Journal
        I forgot to mention:

        It may be a game publisher/ad-exec's dream, but it is not a player's dream.

        Also I suppose it is possible to circumvent the ads in single player mode if your pull your dsl/cable/dial-up line out of your computer before you play.

        • Also I suppose it is possible to circumvent the ads in single player mode if your pull your dsl/cable/dial-up line out of your computer before you play.

          Unless you're playing over the Internet, or if they rig the game so that you can't play unless you have an active Internet connection with a certain port open to receive images.

          Money grubbing bastards like this have no soul. They will try everything to squeeze every ounce of money out of you.

          I have no problem with people getting paid for good work. Howeve

      • by Anonymous Coward
        To be honest, so long as I'm allowed to 'register' my level of approval by fraggin' the in-game billboards, I'm all for it.

        Like, spawn your own bots that actively hunt $PRODUCT_I_HATE 's ads and railgun 'em. For hours at a time. And maybe even get 'em to defend $LIFESTYLE_INDICATORS_I_FEEL_PERSONALLY_ATTACHED_T O.

        Let's show 'em what this demographic's made of.

      • by Moraelin ( 679338 ) on Wednesday August 25, 2004 @12:30PM (#10069369) Journal
        I'm not sure why everyone assumes it _must_ be an intrusive in-your-face affair, or that tracking _must_ mean your data being sold to the advertiser.

        There are lots of opportunities for advertising in online multiplayer games which won't necessarily break the game.

        E.g., a MMO which happens in modern times is pretty much expected to have billboards. City of Heroes for example has them, but they're just funny in-game stuff (bail bonds for villains and such) instead of trying to sell a real world product.

        Now think a little. Getting a couple of real world banners for those billboards would definitely not be annoying or break suspension of disbelief in any way. E.g., if I saw a big MacDonalds billboard in that city, I wouldn't stop and think "wtf is it doing there." It would fit right in with the rest of the urban landscape.

        It also doesn't even need to be a big billboard, but can be something even more subtle or less intrusive.

        E.g., in a town you _expect_ shops. In fact, you tend to be disappointed when you don't see them. I know I've stopped and wondered about how few the shops in City of Heroes are.

        So I don't think it would look out of place if in a hypothetical modern day MMO you saw a MacDonalds or Pizza Hut on a street corner. It fits there and it makes sense. Those townfolks must be eating somewhere.

        Or you can go even more subtle and have stuff like: if that town has a shoe store, sometimes it could sprout a sign in the window proclaiming a big sale on Nike sportswear. It's not like you don't see those IRL, you know.

        Also, these are massively bandwidth intensive games anyway, _and_ are based on stuff downloaded on-the-fly from their servers anyway. Having to download an extra 16k worth of compressed texture for some billboard ad wouldn't really make any difference.

        So, really, what's the problem?
        • Have you ever played Super SX Tricky from EA Sports. The 7up billboards (for dnl) and are EVERYWHERE. I'm aware that snowboarding tracks would have billboards and the city tracks would have billboards but every 3 seconds you see yet another one. Also that game advertises for the honda element but not as obtrusive. The most blatent one of those is when you do a jump right throught the middle of one with its doors open. Just a few billboards.

          My point of this is that they will be obtrusive. Why would a
      • I'm going to be leery of any game that interrupts gameplay to deliver a commercial. If Max Payne 3 has some cutscene where Max stands still for 20 seconds and watches a TV commercial for Mountain Dew, I'm not going to like it. If my kids racing game on the PS2 makes them watch a 30 second commercial for lunchables to unlock one of the cars, I'm probably not going to buy it for them.

        But if a company can deliver ads without screwing up gameplay, I don't think I'd have a problem with it. Somone mentioned b
    • by heir2chaos ( 656103 ) on Wednesday August 25, 2004 @10:49AM (#10068069)
      And one can't forget the blatent advertisements for "Space Quest X: Latex Babes of Estros" in "Space Quest IV", or was that "Space Quest XII"... hmmm, damned timelines screw me up.
    • by kris_lang ( 466170 ) on Wednesday August 25, 2004 @11:05AM (#10068256)
      It's not the ADS that are new, it's the fact that the statistic-bots at Nielsen-VNU are attempting to sell compiled packages of market demographics of who exactly VIEWS these ads to the purveyors of advertisements. Nielsen-VNU does this so that the purveyors of ads can charge more for these ads by claiming that more of those key 18-36 males actually view these ads. Nielsen also competes with soundscan and arbitron for radio ad penetration, also partners with TiVo to sell those kewl demographics that TiVo can collect, and sells the key information about those "nielsen t.v. log" viewers such as income, race, age, and buying habits for large chunks of money. Nielsen recently had to re-readjust their amazingly skewed statistics when their N.Y. ratings showed a HUGE drop in young hispanic males viewing certain channels. Turns out that they had modified their sampling formulas and ratios and, as a result of that, the "viewing" numbers that they extrapolated from that (and which the big networks broadcast and cable and satellite use to calculate the charges for their ads) changed lots of money changing hands. Univision protested loudly.

      Fox station in San Diego got in trouble (dropped off the Nielsen results tracker for x period of time for having an advert saying "hey nielsen viewers, write down our station now!", and you know a lot of those radio give-away gimmicks that say "listen at 1:30 this afternoon for such and such a song and CALL IN TO WIN!" are often temporally correlated with Nielsen logging times for radio listenership.

    • Yes, ads have been in video games for some time. Tony Hawk Underground, for example, contained McDonalds storefronts as paid product placement.

      This type of advertising is awful. It does not add value to the consumer's experience. It takes advantage of the captive audience. It's no different than movie theaters showing commercials for shoes before a movie.

      Your example of ads supporting freeware is an illustration of how advertising has traditionally worked- it pays for a service to be provided to the con

  • by SirLanse ( 625210 ) <swwg69.yahoo@com> on Wednesday August 25, 2004 @10:33AM (#10067851)
    Will there be points for Coke vs Pepsi? Can I get all the Gatorade? If I get generic, will get sick?
  • Demo versions... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by hot_Karls_bad_cavern ( 759797 ) on Wednesday August 25, 2004 @10:34AM (#10067854) Journal
    ...should soon be rife with this sort of thing. Want to play the game? For free? Well, here's some ads to enjoy in the mean time. Might bug some folks, but if the game is really that good, hell, i'll buy...if the ads are taken out of the pay-version.
  • Does that mean that the price of games will come down? If so, will companies want people to "pirate" games because it would only mean more exposure for their advertisers?
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Prices of games will never come down from this. If anyone thinks that they're an idiot. It only means that the corporate whores in the publishers companies will be making more money.

  • Who else? (Score:5, Funny)

    by ack154 ( 591432 ) * on Wednesday August 25, 2004 @10:34AM (#10067858)
    I can see it now:
    • Healthpacks - sponsored by Johnson & Johnson
    • Ammo Reloads - sponsored by Remmington
    • etc
  • by evilNomad ( 807119 ) on Wednesday August 25, 2004 @10:35AM (#10067870)
    PlanetSide already got ads for Intel on the loading screen, and tbh i doesnt really bother me, if it means more money for development, then they can fill the loading screen if you ask me!
  • Worms, by Team 17, had Red Bull as an item that you could collect.
  • Cat fight! (Score:5, Funny)

    by PIPBoy3000 ( 619296 ) on Wednesday August 25, 2004 @10:36AM (#10067883)
    Forget the Coke ads. I want the Budweiser girls!
  • Nostalgia (Score:4, Informative)

    by brejc8 ( 223089 ) * on Wednesday August 25, 2004 @10:36AM (#10067884) Homepage Journal
    Can anyone remember an old Amiga games called Pushover [amigagames.com]? Sponsored by Quavers?
    Or Zool not only being covered with advertising but even came with its own Lolipop [geocities.com]
  • Blatant ad (Score:4, Funny)

    by Monkeyman334 ( 205694 ) on Wednesday August 25, 2004 @10:36AM (#10067885)
    Yeah, I was playing Evil Dead the other day and saw a blatant ad for S-Mart. It was terrible because it wasn't a billboard or anything, it was actually part of the storyline.
  • Well... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by CountBrass ( 590228 ) on Wednesday August 25, 2004 @10:36AM (#10067890)

    If it's unobtrusive or, even better, adds to the game then all well and good. If it jars or is too blatant then back goes the game to the store.

    I would compare the appearance of Omega watches and Aston-Martins in James Bond and Starbucks in Shrek (which I think was all well done) with the appearance of Audi in I,Robot and BMW in James Bond: both of which I felt jarred and reduced my enjoyment of the film.

    • Re:Well... (Score:3, Insightful)

      by LostCluster ( 625375 ) *
      If it's unobtrusive or, even better, adds to the game then all well and good. If it jars or is too blatant then back goes the game to the store.

      Uhm, you haven't noticed that all video game sellers are required to have a "no refunds on open boxes, only exchange is for same title" policy by law? I highly suggest you start renting your video games if you want to be able to take them back...
      • Re:Well... (Score:4, Informative)

        by kfg ( 145172 ) on Wednesday August 25, 2004 @11:07AM (#10068271)
        I'll bet you believed the clerk at the store when he told you that it was against the law to take back underwear too.

        It isn't. It's against the law to resell returned underwear not in the original package. It is simply company policy to not accept the return.

        Notice that you too used the word "policy"? If there were such a law as you suggest that word would not appear on the sign. The word "law" would replace it. When the sign says "policy" that's exactly what it means.

        They are perfectly free to give you a refund, they just don't want to. Same as the underwear.

        Only in the case of computer/video games the store is also free to resell the title.

        KFG
    • That extended car advert bit in one of the recent bond films with the two cars dueling it out on the ice was just blatant advertising and quite dull.
  • by grunt107 ( 739510 ) on Wednesday August 25, 2004 @10:36AM (#10067894)
    IMO if a videogame is going to advertise during the game, there better be a substantial discount (I know there won't be but a guy can dream). I do not see the game experience benefit of the Master Chief powering up with a SoBe Liz Blizz, or enjoying Coke often.

    It would be less distasteful to include advertising with the game documentation - although that fails with online downloads.

    Strangley, now I WANT a Fanta...
  • by derrith ( 600195 ) on Wednesday August 25, 2004 @10:36AM (#10067897)
    Something like this? [penny-arcade.com]
  • by Admiral Justin ( 628358 ) on Wednesday August 25, 2004 @10:37AM (#10067899) Homepage Journal
    You can use the god cheat by typing at the console:

    "Iforgiveyouforcrystalpepsi"
  • by micromoog ( 206608 ) on Wednesday August 25, 2004 @10:37AM (#10067901)
    NetHack [slashdot.org]'s Mail Daemon has been delivering spam to me for years.
  • discount? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by bodrell ( 665409 ) on Wednesday August 25, 2004 @10:37AM (#10067903) Journal
    They damn-well better give a discount, for subjecting paying customers to unsolicited ads.

    Ads on TV I can mute, but I can't stand ads in the movies, when you've already paid high dollar for a ticket, then while you're a captive audience they blast Coke/Blockbuster/Body Fantasies ads at you.

    Arrgh.

    • Yes, the best model for this is have the game funded through advertisers and give out the game cheaply (or even free!).

      But the truth of the matter is, they'll sell for the same amount and EA execs will line their pockets more.

      I wonder if this would help out the indy or open source developer??
    • Re:discount? (Score:3, Informative)

      by MyHair ( 589485 )
      I can't stand ads in the movies,

      Tell me about it. Have you seen "The Twenty" or "The 2wenty" or whatever they call it? It's a digitally projected "show" (cough cough) in place of the old slideshow ads. It's a thinly veiled series of ads along the lines of an entertainment show. What really gets me is at the end they always summarize what they've shown you and say "if you didn't see all of the twenty, come to the theater earlier!" ?!?! Yeah, thanks for the advice. I'll come early to see more ads. At least
  • by grasshoppa ( 657393 ) <skennedy@tp[ ]co.org ['no-' in gap]> on Wednesday August 25, 2004 @10:37AM (#10067906) Homepage
    ..keep the ads somewhat tasteful and out of my way, then who cares?

    And by tasteful, I mean no flashing crap at me, alternating contrasting colors. Or, say, flash.

  • by stromthurman ( 588355 ) on Wednesday August 25, 2004 @10:38AM (#10067910)
    I remember playing text adventure games on a Commodore Vic 20 where you'd find leaflets and reading them presented you with an ad for another game by the company. Granted, this wasn't an unrelated company looking for product placement, but it was still advertising within the game.
  • I can't wait until your first person shooter stops and drinks a nice cold refreshing soda.

    It would beat drinking out of a toilet.
  • ...Never heard of it!

    *Cough*America's Army *Cough*
  • Just like porn, except whereas some people actually like porn, no-one likes advertising.

    I will resist any attempts to force advertising on me e.g. Adblock, and if my attempts fail I will just turn away entirely.

    Thankfully I'm an academic and don't even have to deal with billboards.

    A single non-intrusive, correctly targeted and well implemented advert is a million times more effective for legal businesses than a million expensive "let's ruin another part of your day with offensive crap" campaigns.
  • The idea of advertising in some games just doesn't really bother me. If you want to change all those soda machines in Doom 3 to Coke machines, I have no problem with that. As long as the ads don't affect gameplay, what's the problem?
  • I can't believe the most blatant case of in-game advertising ever hasn't been brought up yet...

    Or am I just the only person in North America who played this Gamecube game where your goal was actually to gather magic Skittles(tm) and Taste the Rainbow?

  • by spookymonster ( 238226 ) on Wednesday August 25, 2004 @10:41AM (#10067961)
    Get hit with the Ad Cannon and you'll be incapacitated for several seconds while your avatar stops and conspicuously consumes:
    - a bag of Doritos
    - a can of Red Bull
    - a bottle of Tums
    - a tube of Preperation-H
  • Note to advertisers (Score:2, Interesting)

    by YrWrstNtmr ( 564987 )
    Keep your dickbeaters out of my bitstream.

    Ads, especially billboards, in an urban driving game or FPS, are kind of OK. For realism, the billboards have to be there anyway. Make 'em realistic, and if the publisher can get a kickback from Pepsi (theoretically lowering the price of the game - - HA!, but I digress), well and good.

    But reading what I'm going past, and phoning that info home? Gimme a break.

    Pretty soon, your next upgrade patch will include not fixes for the actual game, but new ads. "Our new sp
  • EA Games (Score:2, Informative)

    by p0 ( 740290 )
    EA's Fifa series has been doing this for sometime now. The commercial billboards on the soccer fields do advertise real products.
  • So what is new? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by frankthechicken ( 607647 ) on Wednesday August 25, 2004 @10:44AM (#10067996) Journal
    Games have been trying to emulate movies for years, in the false idea that since both are visual entertainment, they should both be approached in similar ways.

    Having to interact with an advert in order to progress, I can see as being a very infuriating premise, unless it is done in a clever way.

    Movie promotions you can generally ignore, and let them pass you by, as they are simply passive images, game promotions I can see as being more invasive, and less avoidable.
  • With the current popularity of PC game modding, if product advertising within games becomes too overpowering, I'm sure a lot of people within the modding community will end up creating patches that delete advertising completely.

    If it happens to be a "must have" mod, a fair proportion of the game buyers end up applying it and the advertiser gets less coverage and revenue as a result.

    In that instance, I guess the only litigation the advertiser can take would be against the game creator or publisher.

  • we already pay alot for games and I'm sorry to see them taking the all-too-predictable route of adding advertizing to the storyline. First it was sporting events: every moment of a broadcast is sponsored (stadium names, half-time shows, replay cams, etc etc) and nearly every visible surface carries a logo. Then it was adopted by movies, sometimes altering the plot in senseless ways...have any good examples? I remember Lara Croft parachuting into a jungle and driving a truck (BMW?) some needless distance
  • ...has Pizza Hut logos in it. So in-game ads aren't all that new. Neislen ratings figuring on calculating how many times someone runs past the wall with Pizza Hut written on it is new, but the fact that their ratings systems seem pretty shoddy at best isn't all that new either. I still find it pretty crazy what people accept for ad exposure rates when buying ads for TV, radio, magazine and newspapers, when the one surely trackable ad system (teh interweb) shows just how infrequently people really pay att
  • martianbuddy.com (Score:2, Insightful)

    by kop ( 122772 )
    Need i say more?
    martianbuddy.com
    Wed, 25 August 2004
    Total unique visits: 471121
    Unique visitors today: 16867
  • Microsoft's Monster Truck Madness had advertising years ago.

  • Maybe they will take highly addictive games like Everquest or the Sims and place drug ads. They will attack you with Zoloft ads to cure "social anxiety disorder". "Take our drug and you will be able to meet real people again."
  • For those who didn't RTFA:

    Gamers are tracked. New advertisements are delivered on the fly. It's both a game publisher and ad exec's [wet] dream. Atari and Ubisoft are among the game publishers to sign up.

  • EA Sports (Score:2, Interesting)

    by slungsolow ( 722380 )
    Has been throwing in outside advertisers for some time. From what I can remember, the music that used in the latest version of their wonderful madden games was provided in a fashion similar to "payola" or pay for play...

    To be honest, this doesn't actually bother me because the advertisements within the game take place while the action is still going on. Whether is the "Nokia Sugar Bowl" within NCAA 2005 or the "Gillette Half Time Report" in various other games.

    Its completely unobtrusive and works well
  • We already there (Score:5, Informative)

    by Jarnis ( 266190 ) on Wednesday August 25, 2004 @10:59AM (#10068186)
    Anarchy Online already has billboards advertising Alienware computers :)

    (This is a tie-in to a marketing campaing related to the launch of AO expansion titled 'Alien Invasion')

    I doubt any gamer would mind much for (paid) advertising in the form of (animated) billboards or 'holograms' in first person shooter levels, but the stuff should *fit the theme*. Futuristic shooter such as Unreal Tournament would be easy - just stick in some billboards to suitable levels, but if someone would start selling McDonalds stuff by planting ingame ads into something like Everquest, gamers would go berserk over it...

    It all depends how it's done. I think Sims Online and The Sims 2 also have somekinda marketing/product placement deals already set up.
  • by d_jedi ( 773213 ) on Wednesday August 25, 2004 @11:00AM (#10068194)
    They want *me* to pay for games.. so that I can see advertisements??!

    I absolutely do not see how this benefits gamers in any way.. game prices will NOT go down (exclusive scoop.. you heard it here, folks!), and game quality will suffer (progammers will be forced to change their mindset from "what will make this a good game?" to "how can we maximize the ad space?")

    I prefer the "fake" ads in many games s/a GTA.. they're funny (I want a Mibatsu Monstrosity :-> )
  • by foxtrot ( 14140 ) on Wednesday August 25, 2004 @11:34AM (#10068623)
    Do I want billboards all over my games, so while I'm eliminating the Zerg, they're running past a big ad for a Volvo? Not really.

    On the other hand, remember the original Castle Wolfenstein? To regain health, you'd eat a meal that someone left out. Does it hugely change gameplay if, in a more modern setting, to regain health the object you grab looks like a bag of Doritos and a can of Pepsi? Not really.

    Done well, in-game advertising can actually yield a more realistic feel-- if I'm playing an FPS set in modern times, I should be walking past Coke machines and USA today newspaper boxes and have a UPS truck drive by. It's reality, and having them say "Cola!" "News!" and "Package Smashers!" detracts from the realistic feel of the game. ...but y'all are probably right. What we're gonna get instead is a cut-scene in Fallout making sure we realize our Pip-Boy runs Microsoft Pocket PC 2025...

    -JDF
  • by msaulters ( 130992 ) on Wednesday August 25, 2004 @11:37AM (#10068661) Homepage
    Jennifer Government [maxbarry.com].

    Read it. It will happen (or something like it). It IS happening. Futurama was NOT at all wrong when it depicted advertisers beaming their crap into people's brains while they dreamed. Every successful marketing/sales droid I know would have zero second thoughts about anything which can increase revenue. Among those people, there are no morals. I mean, Pepsi has already tried to pollute the night sky [sustainer.org]. Pizza Hut is slapping their logo on the side of spaceships. This has been going on for years. There's nowhere [medialifemagazine.com] they won't try to go.
  • Pole Position? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by MasMacho ( 556423 ) on Wednesday August 25, 2004 @11:51AM (#10068814) Homepage
    Am I the only person here old enough to have played Pole Position? Where all the billboards were for things like "Dig Dug" and Namco? It would seem this is hardly a recent phenomenon. What is recent is that nobody had any info on whether the kid with the two liter bottle of shasta was walking over to the Dig Dug game and inserting quarters. What Neilson is trying to do is figure that out.
  • by ReadParse ( 38517 ) <john@funnyc[ ]com ['ow.' in gap]> on Wednesday August 25, 2004 @11:54AM (#10068838) Homepage
    Yeah, let's use sponsorship for something valuable to the consumer again. Like the sponsored shows in early television (like "The Maxwell House Price is Right", for example -- I made that one up, but you get the idea). The whole show was basically a commercial for a single product, and the whole show was paid for by that company. Kind of like what stadiums and concert venues are doing now, except without the benefit to the customer. It should be either cheap or free to go to a stadium that's named after a company, but instead of lowering the price of admission, they're doing that to pay obscene salaries.

    But I digress....

    I think a sponsored video game would be a great idea. Say Pepsico pays great game developers to make a great game, then they give it away. You can download it or pick up a CD at the store. It's blatantly a Mountain Dew advertisement, with Mountain Dew billboards all over the game world, and yes, the main character always finds his refreshment in a nice, cold Mountain Dew. Before you know it, you're thirsty for a nice, cold Mountain Dew also.

    And the best thing about it is that the consumer once again gets dramatic benefit out of sponsorship, just like you do on the radio and on broadcast TV. You get the content for free in hopes that you'll buy from the sponsor.

    RP
  • by AviLazar ( 741826 ) on Wednesday August 25, 2004 @12:24PM (#10069272) Journal
    If they want to stick a coke can in my game, pizza hut logo, etc. I could care less. If it is part of the game (find the coke can for bonus points), I could care less. Actually if it reduces the cost of the game or helps keep the game maker in business - even better!
    Now if it tracks me - which means it is using my bandwidth, and sending information about me - I DO care and would not buy the game for that reason. Though, I could see it being in every game (eventually) making it that you have no choice....
  • by John Carmack ( 101025 ) on Wednesday August 25, 2004 @10:19PM (#10074872)
    We had a pretty good money offer to put a sponsored add in the Quake 1 entry level. We decided not to just on the basis of it being tacky, which was for the best, considering the company (some random early internet company) dissapeared into obscurity.

    I don't have any fundamental problem with product placement in games, but it isn't something we pursue. I would just as soon have real brands in realistic settings instead of made up ones.

    John Carmack

"Be there. Aloha." -- Steve McGarret, _Hawaii Five-Oh_

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