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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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  • ESRB (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Lord Byron II ( 671689 ) on Monday August 03, 2009 @10:06PM (#28935641)

    Contact the ratings board and complain that the content of the game has changed.

  • by Anonymous Cowar ( 1608865 ) on Monday August 03, 2009 @10:18PM (#28935731)
    I would be interested if there would be a way to block these ads by looking at traffic and blocking the source at the router. I haven't seen anyone attempt that with the xbox360, but everyone assumed that was par for the course. It would be really interesting to analyze this, and the youtube video should really spark outrage at the ads. I mean the ads are actually degrading performance, they're removing value from the game, and they're very very intrusive. Not everyone has hours and hours and hours to play, and if i can only play for an hour and an add saps 10 seconds every few minutes from my play time, I'd be royally miffed.

    Alas, not everyone feels the outrage at having advertising shoved down their throats. I know that newspaper and tv REQUIRE ads to continue to be made, but you can get 77 issues of the WSJ for 70 bucks. That's a little more than a ps3 or xbox game, but the game isn't something completely new every day.

    Bottom line, if you use ads, you should either seriously discount your product (newspaper) or provide it for free (broadcast TV), but charging users full price for a game or a DL game and then reaping the benefits of the ads that reduce play time from a session and degrade performance (longer load time = performance degredation) is not right.

    Real bottom line: If you want more money from your game, make a better game, its on the console so you can't bitch about piracy, so do better or lose my business. If you previously got my business and then wish to make money off of providing ads to me in a game that there were previously no ads, I will be asking for a refund and encouraging all of my friends to do the same. If you didn't tell me that there would be ads or allow me to decline the ads, expect a general backlash. (I hope)
  • Redirect the DNS (Score:3, Interesting)

    by binaryspiral ( 784263 ) on Monday August 03, 2009 @10:38PM (#28935873)

    I neither own this game or the console its on - but I'm assuming the game downloads its ad content from a single source.

    Block it on your DNS or redirect it to photos (or videos) you'd like to see during the loading of a level.

  • Only a few ways ... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by ScrewMaster ( 602015 ) * on Monday August 03, 2009 @10:43PM (#28935909)

    or is there anything that can be done to hinder companies from adding advertisements retroactively, without the customer's prior knowledge?

    1. Pass another law.

    2. Let the market decide.

    3. Boil the bastards in oil.

  • Re:Redirect the DNS (Score:3, Interesting)

    by fremean ( 1189177 ) on Monday August 03, 2009 @10:46PM (#28935947)

    It would be sweet if anyone who was getting the ads could upload a tcpdump log somewhere :)

  • Re:Boycott (Score:5, Interesting)

    by StreetStealth ( 980200 ) on Monday August 03, 2009 @10:51PM (#28935989) Journal

    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.

  • Re:ESRB (Score:4, Interesting)

    by LihTox ( 754597 ) on Monday August 03, 2009 @11:51PM (#28936385)

    Advertising is an (often feeble, granted) attempt at mind control, and therefore offensive by definition.

  • I can already see (Score:3, Interesting)

    by sleeponthemic ( 1253494 ) on Tuesday August 04, 2009 @12:37AM (#28936653) Homepage
    That the slashdottian righteous indignation is in full swing. My question to those of you perturbed by this is: Are you offended by the inclusion of ads or the non-disclosure?

    There's a difference. Non-disclosure is foolish. Providing free patches, partially funded by advertising revenue to you is not.
  • Re:Boycott (Score:5, Interesting)

    by idlemachine ( 732136 ) on Tuesday August 04, 2009 @01:19AM (#28936843)

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

    I've just spoken to American Express Australia and have been told that I have no grounds to dispute this. Apparently, digitally distributed content is considered a service and not a product, so the same protections don't apply.

    Moreover, I was told that unless I had - in writing - something that stated that no advertising would be introduced, I can't raise a complaint. Incredulous, I asked the support person if that mean that unless I had written evidence they wouldn't include hard core pornography in my game, I'd have no grounds for complaining about them introducing it. She replied that with services, this was indeed the case.

    Next call: Sony!

  • Re:Boycott (Score:4, Interesting)

    by AmiMoJo ( 196126 ) <mojo@wo[ ] ['rld' in gap]> on Tuesday August 04, 2009 @04:20AM (#28937611) Homepage Journal

    This is certainly not the case in the UK. For example, when Virgin Media lost Sky 1 and a few other channels, my friends who had signed up to a 12 month contract only a couple of weeks before cancelled their service, got the installation fee refunded by the card issuer and cancelled their direct debit.

  • Re:Ad blocking (Score:3, Interesting)

    by theydidnthavemyname ( 1258750 ) on Tuesday August 04, 2009 @05:35AM (#28938015)
    Yeah, but i'm being even more pedantic... Males have genes to make them grow a pair which women lack. Its called SRY []
  • by tepples ( 727027 ) <> on Tuesday August 04, 2009 @07:24AM (#28938629) Homepage Journal

    Repeat your request. Escalate the issue. Put it in writing. Repeat that cycle over and over again.

    And then your credit report will likely brand you a "demon customer" [], other lenders will raise your rates (as they do in universal default []), and your insurance will drop you [].

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 04, 2009 @08:23AM (#28939123)

    This will likely be moodded below zero but yes, it is possible to block from your router. I use the same method to block other crap (especially from the PS3).

    If you are using apache, mod_rewrite and ProxyBlock are your friend. To use the PS3 as an example, I have rules like:

      ProxyPass / http://i/ [i]
      ProxyPassReverse /fus() http://i/fus() [i]

    You then configure your PS3 (or xbox... wii ... iPhone.. etc), to use your firewall as a proxy.

    Or you can do it transparently...

    iptables -t nat -I PREROUTING -i dmz -s -m tcp -p tcp --dport 80 -j REDIRECT

      and add:

                    RewriteRule ^/(.*) http://i/proxy/%25 [i]{HTTP_HOST}/$1 [P,L,NOESCAPE]

    That is of course just a weeee peek at what you can do and I've left out quite a bit wrt counter measures some sites are trying. Here is a hint though, adblock and no script don't block nearly as much as people think they do. And no, SSL will not help.

    Although it _is_ possible to outright block with DNS tricks, I've found that to be more of a pain. Some things fail completely while others just aren't logistically worth it. In the case of the PS3 for example if it isn't able to grab that updates file, it will refuse to do just about anything. And who really wants to keep updating their list of sites hostting spy / malware?

    So why spoof it? For the PS3 I got tired of downloading updates every time I wanted to use the damn thing. It seemed like every DVD, Bluray and video game required a new update that was usually at the WORST time.

    On platforms where apache is not available and I have no control over any kind of firewall (iPhone for example), adding a few hosts entries works fine for now though.

    I suspect that like most people, I'm not against Ads. I don't cut ads out from news pagers or magazines for example. What I'm against is the data mining, webbeacons, and other invasive crap that seems to go along with them now. Unless you are a kindle owner, you don't (yet) read an ad in the paper and wonder if something in your house just notified the publisher that you've read it, how long you were reading for, what pages you were viewing, post that to facebook/twitter/adthis/asdfasdf, etc. Those are invasive online gimmicks.

God made the integers; all else is the work of Man. -- Kronecker