Friday, September 08, 2006

Ads in Games

Having been subjected to the annoying product placements in Fight Night Round 3, I'm not overly enamoured with forking out for a game that offsets part of it's production costs by blasting advertisements my way during a gaming session.

It's not like in-game advertising is a new thing, game ads first appeared in the late 1980s, when Marlboro banners were displayed in Sega's arcade auto racing games, so I can't say I haven't had a chance to get used to them.

Indeed recent years have seen the deliberate placement of products as part of the actual game play becoming increasingly common. Who remembers Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell Pandora Tomorrow and the Sony Ericsson P900 smartphone?

Fine says I, I see what your doing, but at least you've taken some effort to sensibly merge the product into the actual gameplay. And as long as the in-game posters and vending machines and kickable cans are part of the game fabric, then I'm willing to continue trodding along quite happily.

What I am concerned about is a recent development in the upcoming game Need for Speed Carbon by EA games (they of FN3 fame) which replaces the old Static ads with ads that change over time. (see physorg.com)

Planned for xbox live enabled games and pc's connected to the net, the development is seen as "the first steps in the process of building out the infrastructure behind in-game advertising," according to Chip Lange, EA's VP of online commerce. He worryingly went on to say "instead of selling brands, we can sell the product of the day.........as the online penetration rate picks up with that platform, it becomes a valuable business area"

It remains to be seen, whether as the "valuable business" grows, in-game advertising will become more agressive and reach the point (as it did for me in FN3) that the advertising takes away from the game experience.

While I have no problem with tearing up the city streets flanked by advertisments for coca coola, and skateboards , I'm not particularily interested in forking out big bucks for a game that attempts to sell me toothpaste and tumbler dryers, while i'm battling with the hordes from hell.

elderly tags

14 comments:

TheTimeRunner said...

We shouldn't be suprised over this growing commerical trend. Here in the US, there are some stores that now have non stop ads running on LCD screens in front of urinals.

Given how more games are taking advantage of online connections, it's no suprise that there are going to be so many ad plugs that'll almost be fun and sad in counting how many one runs into during every game session.

If talk about seeing a pizza store in a game, then actually being able to order a delivery right to your door, actually leaves the theory board and comes into a more practical usage in gaming then I'll start to worry.

The Elderly said...

Strangely ordering a pizza through an in-game button wouldn't upset me that much. But it depends on the game, having a pizza product placment in Oblivion would get my goat..

DEITRIX said...

Speaking of Oblivion Im trying to finish it up by Oct 17th...
Splinter Cell then a crap load of games after that!!

DEITRIX said...

GRAW had alot of ads as well- in Mexico City t'boot...

gnome said...

Ah, yes... Advertising. In game. Right. Only perhaps acceptable when the game is provided for free... But then again that would be some sort of quasi-socialism, wouldn't it. So, sticking to the wise formula of discreetly and interestingly adding ad content to the game would be the way to go... Until the revolution at least.

A brilliant (and quite brilliant too) post mr. Elderly. Pure class.

TheTimeRunner said...

I'm sure most of us gamers would not mind such ad placements. But here in the US, parents are in an uproar for fear that their kids will be brainwashed to like certain things with such subluminal messages.

Plus it'll make them all FAT!

They get fat enough sitting around playing videogames, now they can order pizza a pepsi online in a game and have it delivered to their door so they can get FATTER!!

The Elderly said...

(blushs red) thank you mr.gnome and indeed for your kind comments elsewhere...... (blushs beetroot red).

Timerunner I can well understand why parents are concerned, but it does make me wonder whose doing the parenting. I've had occasion to witness a very determined 7 year old proceed to devour their weight in chocolate, crisps and coke, while the parents tutted about his weight......

As to my knowledge the 7 year old wasn't gainfully employed, it just begged the question who the hell bought the sh!@ he was pumping into his obese little frame.....

How bad are the ads in GRAW Deitrix?

gnome said...

Anyway. A discourse won't solve anything. We could simply start by burning two ad company CEOs (not adsense of course.. we love those guys)

TheTimeRunner said...

riiiiiiiiiight..

The Elderly said...

ahhh a burning, my weeks not the same without a burning..... (hugs adsense guy)

(tries counting the i's in Timerunners right, changes glasses....gets magnifying glass)

why do you write so small......

DEITRIX said...

GRAW had alot of billboard ads in the city parts of the game... not to big of a deal, just that they didnt seem to fit Mexico City that well.. Plus I thought the last level got a little stupid and the end guy looks like a zombie on crack!!
If you ever play thru' it you will see what I mean... worth a few laughs!

The Elderly said...

Thanks for that, and its that out of context inclusion of ads that i'm dreading, believe or not I havne't even downloaded the demo... Call of duty 2 is still enough for my blood lust...

gnome said...

Imagine Call of Duty fought under Nintendo Ads. Would be surreal. In the bad sense.

The Elderly said...

must i? .......okay here goes

eeek!..... no didn't work for me, now i've just thought of an ad for Krupp or siemens.......