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
    amasa, 25 Jan 2006 @ 8:48am

    bleh

    I'm a former Planetside subscriber, from retail through December 05. Sony introduced ingame ads, that hung like pictures on walls inside various ingame structures. They weren't super instrusive, I didn't mind them. Some people did, and went as far as to figure out the DNS names that were used to host the ad images and put looback entries on the hosts file to prevent the ads from coming down. I think ad subsidized gaming is here to stay, but I think subscription gaming that also has ads is a bit cheesy. If I can game for free because there are ads, I think that's legit but don't take my money and make me watch ads.

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