by Mike Masnick

Ads In Video Games And (Apparently) A Good PR Staff

from the what's-new-here? dept

People have been talking for years about the idea of ads in video games -- and, in fact, they've been showing up more and more. One of the issues, though, was always keeping the ads up-to-date. With that in mind, a few companies have been experimenting with ways to do so. In fact, there were stories last year about companies working on exactly that. So, with that in mind, it's not clear why just about every publication seems to feel the need to talk about a me-too offering that seems to do the same thing. However, the San Jose Merc,, the New York Times, Reuters and plenty of others all seem to be carrying the story. Apparently, this particular firm has a fairly impressive PR team. Most of these articles seem to just be parroting the story that the company wanted released, which doesn't seem particularly interesting at all. They're just adding dynamic ads into video games. That doesn't seem particularly special. What would be interesting is whether or not anyone actually pays attention to these ads, or if they're a complete waste -- but only the NY Times piece seems to even question that, and they don't go too deeply into it, either.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1. identicon
    LBB, Apr 11th, 2005 @ 5:23am

    Longevity question

    I'm wondering if the technology will affect the long-term usability of the games. If I buy Half-Life 4 with dynamic ads in 2007 and decide I want to play it 10 years later after the ad-serving company has gone bust, will the game still function without being able to grab the ads?

    For that matter, will I be able to play the game on a machine that doesn't have an Internet connection?

    You'd think the companies involved would consider these issues, but experience tells me they probably wouldn't.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. identicon
    Precision Blogger, Apr 11th, 2005 @ 9:57am

    Can we boycott these games?

    The interesting question is whether the gaming community will quickly teach the gaming companies not to put ads in their games.

    Therea re plenty of games out there. Do I have to play the ones that have ads?
    - Precision Blogger

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. identicon
    saleh, Apr 11th, 2005 @ 10:29am

    Re: Can we boycott these games?

    Games are somewhat unique; in our advertising saturated culture, ads actually make some games more realistic.
    While I agressively filter almost all poorly targeted advertising (e.g. Firefox Adblock, no-call list, locked credit reports, disposable e-mail addresses, TiVo...) I strangely enough don't mind ads or product placement in games. Seeing a billboard for a soft drink in a racing game, or the ads surrounding the field in a sports game makes it more realistic.
    The publishers will likely screw this up for a while. But, since game publishing is a zero-marginal-cost business, the situation will likely correct itself quickly if there is any backlash from gamers.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 11th, 2005 @ 11:22am

    Re: Can we boycott these games?

    Yea, for instance in the first two "Wipeout" games, most notably in "Wipeout XL" there were tons of ads for Redbull energy drink, among other companies running along the sides of the tracks. It actually helped the atmosphere of the game with fitting the futuristic image. As long as we don't get more McDonald's/Cheetos/7-Up games in the future, and the ads fit with the gameplay, I wouldn't mind seeing more in the future. Plus it might keep game prices down in the next generation by subsidizing some of the development costs.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

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