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PlayStation (Games) Entertainment Games

Ads Retroactively Added To Wipeout HD, Soon Others 299

An anonymous reader writes "American users of Wipeout HD might have noticed that there's an advertisement showing up all of a sudden during loading, both during online and offline play. This, according to a poster on the well-known gaming forum NeoGAF, is being done covertly. The writer suspects that the display software was installed during update 2.01, and the ad-content is now being snuck in. Gamasutra has a story on the company responsible for the software to deliver these ads, Double Fusion, which said it plans to launch in-game advertising in 'another handful' of PS3 games by the end of the year. So, what's next? Can we look forward to fighting the Kool-Aid Man and zombified Mars bars in Uncharted, or is there anything that can be done to hinder companies from adding advertisements retroactively, without the customer's prior knowledge?"
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Ads Retroactively Added To Wipeout HD, Soon Others

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  • Re:Ad blocking (Score:4, Insightful)

    by gmezero ( 4448 ) on Monday August 03, 2009 @10:12PM (#28935673) Homepage

    This is only going to work if the ad server is not on Sony's delivery system.

    And here I was planning to buy the DLC this week. I'm seriously reconsidering that idea. :(

    I think if we want to protest this, refuse to buy the expansion release. Unfortunately the reality is you'll likely end up in the minority as most of the sheeple out there don't care enough to fight this.

  • Boycott (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Kell Bengal ( 711123 ) on Monday August 03, 2009 @10:16PM (#28935705)
    Don't like the way they're treating you as a consumer? Don't buy their products - simple as that. Use the only real power you have as a passive recipient of their products: the power to stop being one. No one is forcing you to buy Super Testosterone Massacre III if you don't want to. You just have to want being treated fairly more than the latest shiny bauble. There are bigger things in life.
  • Some ads and product placement make sense in the context of a game. In sports stadiums or racing tracks, they may even ad realism. You just have to do it right.

    But a video during a loading screen -- and worse, making it ten seconds longer? That's NOT acceptable.

  • Re:Boycott (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Nyall ( 646782 ) on Monday August 03, 2009 @10:23PM (#28935755) Homepage

    Read the summary?
    How do you boycott something when the advertisements show up several months after you've bought it?

  • Re:ESRB (Score:0, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 03, 2009 @10:26PM (#28935775)

    so long as it is not offensive, what's the issue?

  • by ihaveamo ( 989662 ) on Monday August 03, 2009 @10:26PM (#28935777)
    ... and for a downloadable PSN game, Wipeout HD is surpurb. 1080p at 60fps on a widescreen tv. Closest thing to a rollercoaster - race. It really feels like a more expensive title.. So..... Would you rather see ads, or pay more upfront?. The game moves so fast, ads a fine by me if the cost stays down! .. I wouldn't like 'em in a RTS or FPS methinks.
  • by fremean ( 1189177 ) on Monday August 03, 2009 @10:29PM (#28935801)

    Here in the internet backwater country we call Australia we get a limited amount of bandwidth usage quota.

    Every time the PS3/game downloads advertisements it uses my limited quota...

    If I run out of quota I either have to buy more, or suffer 64kbit shaping...

    And I consider myself lucky, some ISP's charge 18 cents per meg when you go over your quota without the ability to buy more.

    I don't mind ads in web pages, or even sensible advertising in online gaming because they constantly require money to upkeep - but a game I've PAID FOR download and am playing OFFLINE doesn't cost the provider a damn cent!

  • by Nikkos ( 544004 ) on Monday August 03, 2009 @10:29PM (#28935807)
    Bullshit. I bought the game for $20 without ads. What the hell gives them the right to change the game content of something I've already bought and paid for (a year ago!) Next they'll be changing the music or lyrics of song I bought.
  • by GabriellaKat ( 748072 ) on Monday August 03, 2009 @10:30PM (#28935811)
    Contact SONY and ask for your money back. And if that fails, well, guess you could try to go SUE happy and start a class action lawsuit? After all, you bought the game without ads and no clue they were going to do this.
  • by StreetStealth ( 980200 ) on Monday August 03, 2009 @10:45PM (#28935933) Journal

    If the game were free, sure, ads would be completely permissible. But your standard $9.99 game on the PSN should be supported by the purchase price, and as you point out, Wipeout HD sells for double the usual amount, making it a premium PSN title. There is absolutely no excuse to "re-monetize" something like this, especially in such an intrusive way as increasing the load time for levels by an appreciable amount of time.

    I think this may be one of those few cases where a credit card issuer chargeback is in order. They sold you something, then messed it up. Enough people do this, and you can be sure Sony will write a proscription of sleeper-ads into their new studio license agreement.

  • Re:Ad blocking (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Goldberg's Pants ( 139800 ) on Monday August 03, 2009 @10:54PM (#28936013) Journal

    Yep. I'd estimate in my experience for every 20 or so people who say "Screw them, I'm not buying that", 1 will actually follow through.

    I've boycotted a hell of a lot of games over the years due to copy protection, greed of the developer etc... I realise my boycott makes no difference to the company. But it does make a difference to me.

    Sony will make more money from the advertising than they'll lose from disgruntled customers sadly, until such time as the consumer at large grows a set and stands up to say "Enough".

  • Re:ESRB (Score:5, Insightful)

    by causality ( 777677 ) on Monday August 03, 2009 @10:54PM (#28936015)

    so long as it is not offensive, what's the issue?

    The point is that a change to the game's content could make them have to go through the ESRB review/rating process all over again, causing delays and maybe additional expenses for them. It'd be a way of making it a bit more of a hassle for them to assume that the game you bought with no such advertisements has now become a billboard.

    I think ESRB makes an exception for "online play" (I'd speculate this is because of the difficulty/undesirability of censoring the other players) but it seems there were changes to offline play as well.

  • Creativity (Score:4, Insightful)

    by corychristison ( 951993 ) on Monday August 03, 2009 @10:59PM (#28936047)

    So, what's next? Can we look forward to fighting the Kool-Aid Man and zombified Mars bars in Uncharted

    If they were to start advertising like that, I think it would be welcome in a sense. I don't like the idea of a fullscreen ad taking up my screen when the game is loading (although it's not as though I have anything better to look at while loading).

    If companies got really creative and were to add in special characters that pop in from time to time it could be more entertaining and feel less like they were cramming advertising down my retinas.

    Picture a giant Sour-Patch man skateboarding as a competitor in a Tony Hawk Game. Or a Coca-Cola bottle skiing down the hill in Winter Sports 2.

    Entertainment and advertising all combined into one may be fun and enjoyable. And may upset less people here at Slashdot.

  • by causality ( 777677 ) on Monday August 03, 2009 @11:02PM (#28936069)

    I think you might just have a case here for the ultimate retroactive boycott: the credit card issuer chargeback.

    They sold you a game. Then they added a double-dip, "secondary monetization" to what you already paid for. I'd call up MasterCard and see if they've got your back on this.

    Honestly, the studio or publisher that did this needs to get hit hard. Ads are for freeloaders, not for paying customers.

    From what I understand, chargebacks are a pain in the ass for retailers. They're also one of the few scenarios where the deck is stacked in the favor of you the customer. That's because the merchant really wants to be able to take $MAJOR_CARD but you as the customer can choose among several major credit cards. A small percentage of affected people doing this really would get some attention, methinks.

  • by erroneus ( 253617 ) on Monday August 03, 2009 @11:08PM (#28936107) Homepage

    To be simple, greed knows no limits except those limits imposed by morality and by law. And in the case of modern business, there is no such thing as "morality" and so law is the only limit recognized by business. To be clear, unless laws are present to prevent it, 12 year olds will make your clothes and shoes in factories as can be demonstrated even today. Without laws, there would be billboards covering ever scene and location imaginable. I have no doubt that business would have no problem playing ads in your dreams if it were technically possible, and of course, legal.

    There is nothing more important to modern business than money. Nothing. Not quality. Not human life. Not nature or the environment. All of that has been lost. It would be nice if that sort of morality could return, but I just can't imagine how. The story of how it was all lost would be an interesting story to hear. I just know we had some morality at some point and it was lost... I feel the loss.

  • hosts.txt (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Nimey ( 114278 ) on Monday August 03, 2009 @11:15PM (#28936161) Homepage Journal

    Any players notice traffic to ad servers? Post the hostnames and people can just map them to

  • by T Murphy ( 1054674 ) on Monday August 03, 2009 @11:41PM (#28936317) Journal
    I don't anticipate it would work but if there are few advertisers so far maybe complain to those companies instead? Pitting companies against each other is often a good way to get someone to back down in a beneficial way. The game company can't monetize on the advertisements if word spreads that it just gets you negative PR. If anyone has heard of such a strategy working it'd be interesting to hear but I'm not too hopeful. I don't have a PS3 but I'll be affected if this idea spreads.
  • Kneejerk reaction (Score:1, Insightful)

    by kyjl ( 965702 ) on Monday August 03, 2009 @11:46PM (#28936353)

    ./'s reaction has 'kneejerk' all over it. Fox News kneejerk.

    Games have had in-game advertisements for YEARS and nothing bad has ever come from it. Some as blatant as in WipEout HD. Some games even paid the companies to advertise in the games - Guitar Hero and Rock Band jog your memory a bit?

    Hell, if anything WipEout is a fantastic example. Ever since the first one came out on the PSX it was inundated with in-game advertisements for stuff like Red Bull and other Psygnosis games. This was before the internet was put on console games, now it's no different (only now the advertisements can change - OH NO THE WORLD'S GONNA END WE GOTTA PROTEST SONY BOYCOTT BOYCOTT BOYCOTT).

    Calm the fuck down everyone.

  • Re:ESRB (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Arker ( 91948 ) on Tuesday August 04, 2009 @12:08AM (#28936497) Homepage

    I rather think if this were a game I had already paid for, sans ads, that suddenly started showing them I would find the change quite offensive.

  • Re:doublefusion (Score:3, Insightful)

    by assassinator42 ( 844848 ) on Tuesday August 04, 2009 @12:26AM (#28936589)
    Why do you work for such a firm? No better option? I think I'd feel rather guilty in such a position.
    And I don't recall Live originally having ads. In fact, I don't remember any ads at all on the Xbox 1.
    The most "brazen" example of in-game advertising I've seen is 1 vs. 100, but that's understandable as the game is "free" (besides the Live subscription). Although it remains to be seen if they will charge for the full version. Seeing as how they seem to be making the game more buggy as they release more builds, I have a feeling it may be in beta for a while yet. I'm also a bit confused and quite a bit annoyed by their advertising plan: run the same ads over and over again each half hour, and only add more ads from the same companies.;
  • Yeah, it sucks. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by chaboud ( 231590 ) on Tuesday August 04, 2009 @12:30AM (#28936611) Homepage Journal

    It's jarring, breaks the style of the game (old-school dollar bills for State Farm?), and sucks when you've bought both the game and the Fury update (Mirror's Edge costs less). This is the natural outcome of having a closed system that allows people to reach in and screw with things you've already "bought."

    Of course, I also have an iPhone and iPod touch...

  • Re:ESRB (Score:4, Insightful)

    by PitaBred ( 632671 ) <> on Tuesday August 04, 2009 @01:10AM (#28936811) Homepage
    I paid for the game. If they want to inject advertising into it, they should lower the price. This is Sony having it's cake and eating it, too.
  • Re:Creativity (Score:4, Insightful)

    by oneirophrenos ( 1500619 ) on Tuesday August 04, 2009 @04:20AM (#28937615)

    Picture a giant Sour-Patch man skateboarding as a competitor in a Tony Hawk Game. Or a Coca-Cola bottle skiing down the hill in Winter Sports 2.

    To me, that would nonetheless totally ruin the game experience. If I feel I'm being expoited by the ad department, I find it hard to concentrate on having fun.

  • by kannibal_klown ( 531544 ) on Tuesday August 04, 2009 @10:02AM (#28940433)

    Games have had in-game advertisements for YEARS and nothing bad has ever come from it. Some as blatant as in WipEout HD. Some games even paid the companies to advertise in the games - Guitar Hero and Rock Band jog your memory a bit?

    It's not so much that there is advertising in the game. It's that a game that's been out for a year and is premium-priced on the PlayStationNetwork Store "all of a sudden" had commercials added via a nearly automatic update. To add insult to injury, said commercials are adding to the load time between tracks.

    So if the game came with ads in the first place, then that would be one thing. I'd argue then said game should either the regular PSN price or slightly lower, but that's another story.

    But if you buy a game and all of a sudden they patch it so it has ads/commercials then that's aggravating.

If I have seen farther than others, it is because I was standing on the shoulders of giants. -- Isaac Newton