In-Game Ad Market Booming

from the centipede-never-had-this dept

The market for ads embedded in video games is booming, setting the stage for a spat over whether they're intrusive, or a "creative element". A previous study -- albeit one sponsored by a game publisher -- found that in addition to in-game ads being highly persuasive, players say they make games more real. The BusinessWeek article raises a few examples: the first is a new Sims game where users run restaurants and other businesses, but EA eschewed using any real brands or products. The second mentions how an ad agency put some ads for Subway on some servers' versions of the online game Counter-Strike -- without the permission of the game's publisher. In the first instance, in-game ads and product placement could make it more realistic, even more interesting to some players, while the second seems like an odd intrusion into an online world. The key is context: in the context of the Sims game, product placement's appropriate; in Counter-Strike, the Subway ads stick out like a sore thumb. Sure, they'll get noticed, but their blatant appearance can cause a backlash that creates the exactly opposite reaction than advertisers want.

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  1. identicon
    Really Anonymous Coward, 25 Jan 2006 @ 9:57am

    Re: No Subject Given

    But by that token, subscription games that make you play on thier server and don't charge you anything are ok right?
    For example, Anarchy Online has been doing this for almost a year - they have in game bill-boards. Those taking advantage of the free play option for Anarchy Online have no option to disable those advertisements, while paid subscription players (like I was) have a simple option to *turn them on*.
    That's right - on. Funcom has done some silly things in the past, but one thing they did right was to disable adverts by default to their paying subscribers. That being said, I turned them on one day to see what they were like and they stayed that way - they weren't super intrusive and the adverts helped set ambience for the futuristic cities.

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