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
    AF, 25 Jan 2006 @ 10:14am

    No No and No

    I can’t believe my eyes when I read about gamers who think that in game advertising will “add realism” or “it’s alright if it’s in context”. I am vehemently against any type of in game advertising. I’ll gladly pay $5 dollars more at retail for an ad free game.

    I uninstalled my SWAT 4 patch because the advertising it added was despicable! Even though SWAT 4 has a modern and realistic setting, real ads totally cut into the experience. After up the update I had posters for a new show on the WB everywhere through out the level! They did not fit into look and feel of the game and it was just a giant eye sore. I’d rather play a buggy game than a later version with ads in it.

    I much prefer and actually enjoy the fake brands and ads that you see in some games to ad realism. They’re not obtrusive and you don’t notice them until you actually make an effort to look at them.

    Real ads of any kind need to stay out of games. There’s a god damn reason the mail 18-34 group doesn’t watch TV anymore! Don’t let the same thing happen to our games.

    And returning to my first comment, I just can’t believe the level of complacency with some gamers about ads. “It’s fine if I get a discount on the game”. Guess what, you’re not! “It adds realism”. If you want to stare at a giant neon billboard for AXE deodorant (Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory) then I think you have some issues to address about your unusually high level of commitment as a consumer.

    Publishers are playing with fire and I hope to god they get burned.

    -AF

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