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Paying Subscriptions for MMOs with In-Game Ads? 246

Posted by Cliff
from the more-like-product-placement dept.
CokoBWare asks: "Next Generation is reporting that NC Soft, makers of the beloved City of Heroes, Guild Wars, and other MMOs have announced that they will be incorporating in-game advertising for their MMO Auto Assault, using an ad service from Massive Inc. NC Soft has made no indication that they intend to change their subscription model in light of this new announcement. I wanted to know how other people would feel paying $50US for a game, plus approximately $15/month in subscription fees, and in addition be served with in-game advertising as well? Is this a good trend for subscription-based MMO games of the future? Should gamers pay for the privilege of having to be subjected to in-game advertising on a monthly basis?"
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Paying Subscriptions for MMOs with In-Game Ads?

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  • It's quite simple: (Score:5, Insightful)

    by robyannetta (820243) * on Wednesday March 15, 2006 @05:32PM (#14927692) Homepage
    If I'm paying $15 a month, I better not see an advertisment.

    If I'm getting the service for free, bring on the ads.

    • by Anonymous Coward
      I agree that there should only be ads in a free version of the game. If that happens, they might consider an option to charge a couple bucks a month to get rid of the ads, too.
    • by tukkayoot (528280) on Wednesday March 15, 2006 @05:48PM (#14927867) Homepage
      Some product placement might be acceptable in a game that I'm paying a subscription for, assuming of course the game takes place in a modern or contemporary setting where you might actually expect the products being advertised to exist. It wouldn't necessarily obtrustive be too obtrustive to be playing a GTA-style game and to see billboards on the side of the road as you drive down the city highway. In fact, it might even make the game more believable. It could prove limiting as well, however. If a car game only features GM automobiles as a part of their product placement contract, it might not work out to be as immersive an enviornment as compared to if they populated the game entirely with made-up autos (or those patterned after a variety of different makes of car).

      If I'm paying the market price for a MMO subscription (presently, $15/month or so) not a single advertisement had better be integrated as a part of the UI/HUD, unless I can easily and permanently disable it. Integration of ads in the UI might be acceptable as long as you're paying less than what an adless MMO of comparable quality costs, and if you're given the option to pay a bit more to get rid of the ads.

      And though I say that might be acceptable, it doesn't mean I want to see it happen. I worry about the old slippery slope. Today you can easily fork over $80/month to your cable company and the majority of stations will still be displaying pure advertising 15% of the time or so. Gaming companies may figure that if people will accept this in television, they will accept it in games. This is obviously not the direction that I'd like to see another medium headed in.

      • by Fulcrum of Evil (560260) on Wednesday March 15, 2006 @06:59PM (#14928529)

        If a car game only features GM automobiles as a part of their product placement contract, it might not work out to be as immersive an enviornment as compared to if they populated the game entirely with made-up autos (or those patterned after a variety of different makes of car).

        That's suck in something like GTA - you jack a car and it breaks down 3 blocks later.

      • by NeuroKoan (12458) on Wednesday March 15, 2006 @08:22PM (#14929181) Homepage Journal
        How about, instead of casting a fireball in your favorite RPG you instead get to cast a KC Masterpiece fire-spell presented by Ford.
        • by patio11 (857072) on Wednesday March 15, 2006 @08:59PM (#14929383)
          If I got 3 extra points of intellect out of the deal my mage would wear Nike. I'm not even kidding. Here's a bidding war, companies: I will wear your logo on my chest, and gladly, if it comes with a stamina boosting enchantment. And it will be associated in the minds of millions of Horde players with a rush of enjoyment: every time they see my mage charging at them, they'll know Coca Cola = honorable kill for free. You work out the details with Blizzard, the one with the best bonuses gets my chest piece. Losers take heart, I've got 10 other locations to auction off bit by bit.
      • I don't play many racing games, but I recently picked up Need For Speed Most Wanted, and was surprised to see Burger King restaurants in the game.

        Sure, in a game like GTA, I expect restaurants with sily names or something, but in this case, I think it's actually pretty cool.
      • Check out the response from the development company (NetDevil) [ign.com] on how the ads will be integrated into the game.
        Of particular interest:

        "One thing I always felt was missing from AA was the remnants of modern real world culture, which if you take a look around any urban center, is oversaturated with ads, billboards, posters, etc. It's a fact of the landscape. For example, why wouldn't you find an old rusted out Coke can in this world?"

        "We get total artistic control over which ads go into the game so nothing wo
    • Won't be long before folks figure out how to replace the ads with porn.
    • by Traa (158207) on Wednesday March 15, 2006 @07:19PM (#14928662) Homepage Journal
      "Better not" does not qualify as an argument. We live in a world where you pay for magazines that have advertisements, you pay for TV which has advertisements, etc. I would argue that we, as a collective "feed us"-species have come to embrace this advertisement model as a norm to shave of a few $$ with which we can buy more advertisement ladden services.

      Given that you got "+5 insightfull" hints that there is at least a certain group of us, I would say "market", that is willing to pay for advertisement-free content. Yes, I am one of those. But I at least recognize that our 'freedom-means-you-are-allowed-to-make -money-no-matter-what' attitude isn't as grandiose as is advertised by the overlords.

      Advertisement = $$. This simply equates to the fact that we will have to shell out extra $$ to allow the games to be how we want them to be. So be it.
      • by Moofie (22272)
        I don't know about you, but I definitely choose which magazines I'm willing to subscribe to based on the mass fraction of advertising. I'm happy to pay more for a subscription to a well laid out magazine that isn't 3/4 advertising copy.
    • by SpacePunk (17960)
      It's like any media. Ads support the media cost, and lower the cost to the end user. If magazines, for instance, did not have ads the magazine cost to the reader would be above what it is with ads. It's inevitable that ads get into video games in one form or another. Got a magazine subscription? Do they have ads? Yup.
  • I knew it... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by danpsmith (922127) on Wednesday March 15, 2006 @05:35PM (#14927729)
    It was only a matter of time before advertising and subscription fees both hit you in a package. Cable has been doing this for years with little justification in my eyes. One of the major points in signing up for cable was to get rid of the advertisments, but that idea has been tossed by most cable networks decades ago. Now they are doing the same thing with online stuff. I hope they finally bump into a wall here. I hope this greedy sales model falls right on its face. It's one thing to get us to accept advertising for free services, but when you are paying, and you are online. It just feels so slimy and unnecessary. I hope this project falls flat on its face and serves as a lesson that online, people don't want to pay to be marketed to like everywhere else where they had no choice.
    • I hope this project falls flat on its face and serves as a lesson that online, people don't want to pay to be marketed to like everywhere else where they had no choice.

      Couldn't have said it better.
    • Re:I knew it... (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Urusai (865560)
      Parent is correct. Greed is boundless. I personally consider the vasty ad market to be a calculated evil that needs to be expunged. Since the cost of ads goes into the product, you end up paying for the right to be manipulated. This is as corrupt as a government that markets its position on debatable public policy. It gives an entity a say in the direction public affairs that has no business but serving the will of its clients.
  • Unfortunately it's going to be like Cable TV: you pay for cable, but you get the commercials too.

    Maybe this can go another way though, and people will abandon the games that want to double-dip. We can only hope.
    • Re:Like Cable TV (Score:3, Insightful)

      by ab0mb88 (541388)
      This is not how cable TV works. Cable TV is like online games are now. You pay for the cable to provide the connection to the content but the actual content providers still need to make money through their ads. This is like having to deal with ads on HBO.
  • by creimer (824291) on Wednesday March 15, 2006 @05:35PM (#14927733) Homepage
    I don't mind blowing up, burning down or melting sideways the billboards inside the gaming world. Heck, I wouldn't mind slashing and dicing the local authorities if they try to arrest me for cleaning up the environment. Whatever makes the game fun. :)
    • Burning down billboards is funner in real life...Until the cops come that is.
    • by Sylver Dragon (445237) on Wednesday March 15, 2006 @06:26PM (#14928275) Journal
      I don't mind blowing up, burning down or melting sideways the billboards inside the gaming world...

      Unless the game doesn't let you. For those that haven't seen it yet, Rainbow six:Lockdown on the PC had in game advertisements. Actually it only had one, which was repeated over and over and over again. It was for a movie, The Hills Have Eyes which I will never see, partly due to the ad, also partly due to the movie looking like it is going to suck.
      While just about everything else in the game took damage, or at least spawned bullet holes when I shot them, the ads did not. No matter what you did to the posters, the looked good as new. This was tested quite often since the ad had a picture of the main actress on it, which was often mistaken for a taget for a second, and shot. In the end, I'm looking to find a way to replace the image with something a bit more interesting, say porn, before the next LAN (which is how I play the R6 games).
      This was bad enough in a game I just paid $50 for, getting that along with the StarForce crap was a real slap in the face. But, the idea of paying for a game subscription and then getting ads as well, just seems like too much to me. Yes, I realize that I'm getting shafted in the same way by the cable company; and that I will probably end up with no choice when it comes to my games; I still don't have to like it.

  • Well Life is Tuff (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ResQuad (243184) * <slashdot.konsoletek@com> on Wednesday March 15, 2006 @05:36PM (#14927739) Homepage
    Ya know what I'd like to say "Bullshit, I'm never gonna pay for a game that has advertisements". But the reality is thats not going to make a difference. Just look at TV. Most people pay around 50$ (or more) a month, and there are 15mn+ of commercials per hour.

    At least with in game ads they aren't stopping you from playing. You can just walk right past them. And if this helps the companies put out better games cause they can afford to spend more time in devel becaues they are making X more per month per person - well great. (And Frankly, I'd rather see adverts than pay more than 15$ a month per MMOG)
    • by danpsmith (922127) on Wednesday March 15, 2006 @05:43PM (#14927818)
      At least with in game ads they aren't stopping you from playing. You can just walk right past them. And if this helps the companies put out better games cause they can afford to spend more time in devel becaues they are making X more per month per person - well great. (And Frankly, I'd rather see adverts than pay more than 15$ a month per MMOG)

      It won't lead to better games, I can almost guarantee that much. And as far as being able to walk past them, yeah, that's true. But the way I look at it is that it's another place they've taken from us. Another form of entertainment that isn't ours anymore. Another form of advertising that they can use to force brand names on you. People never seem to mind, they always say "well advertising is everywhere else, why not?" And my question is, why is it everywhere else? Why do we tolerate things like the "Tostitos Fiesta Bowl" when the taxpayers paid for the stadium and the fans paid for tickets? We shouldn't. When I hear complacent comments like this one it just makes me sad and it reminds me of a Matthew Good Band song called "advertising on police cars."

    • Re:Well Life is Tuff (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Ohreally_factor (593551) on Wednesday March 15, 2006 @05:46PM (#14927847) Journal
      I could even see where in game ads, properly done, would improve the experience. If someone where to make a Bladerunner MMORPG, it would seem utterly naked if there weren't huge electronic billboards.

      However, what would be interesting would be top player endorsements. Imagine if you were the "best" (whatever that might mean in the context of the game) in a game, and your play was subsidized by wearing logos or having logos on your vehicle. A Nascar MMORPG?
      • Indeed. Like most racing games now adays have advertising in them, because thats how it is in real life. I assume other sports games are like this (but I wouldnt know). Planetside with adverts are way out of place, but MxO with adverts makes sense.

        As for the nascar MMORPG - its called Auto Assult - just keep driving to the left and you have the NASCAR minigame.
    • Just look at TV. Most people pay around 50$ (or more) a month, and there are 15mn+ of commercials per hour.

      TV is free. Just plug in you TV to a power source and watch free broadcasts. What? You want more channels and guarenteed quality reception? Well, you are in luck, for $50/mo we can hook you up.
      • Heck, if you watch PBS over the air, there are no commercials and no $50/month. Heck, that's about all I use my TV for besides Netflix. I've never understood paying for "nothing on"!
    • Just imagine this. 2 players in a duel. In the middle of the match, you hear a voice

      *Players freeze*
      "AND NOW, a message from our sponsor. Tired of a small dick? Get Viagra NOW!........ back to fight in 3... 2 ... 1.."

    • Ya know what I'd like to say "Bullshit, I'm never gonna pay for a game that has advertisements". But the reality is thats not going to make a difference. Just look at TV. Most people pay around 50$ (or more) a month, and there are 15mn+ of commercials per hour.

      Apples and oranges. You're paying for access to content, not the content itself. Those providing the content have to, you know, make money. So they do it with subscriptions, like HBO, or they're an organization that can't get enough subscribers to def
    • You forget a very basic rule.

      Whoever puts in the money, gets to decide the content.

      While it may start with "just an advert here please", it could turn into "Well, I don't agree with that, lets drop it". Could even go as far as "A jail? No! How silly.. We'll goto a coke factory instead! It'll be a EVIL NAME HERE strong hold instead".
    • For. Get. It.

      I don't have a TV, not simply because 95% of the content is junk, but because of all the endless, irritating, noisy, intruding advertising which tries to sell me as particularly stupid. ("No worries, I use that time to get a beer or go to the loo!" - rubbish).
      Same reason: no radio.
      Driver 3 had not only poor graphics and poor gameplay, but advertising in it. When I first saw it, I couldn't believe it. Then I exited, deleted the game, and gave the original away.

      I spend a fair amount of time with
  • Missed a point.. (Score:5, Informative)

    by Daxster (854610) on Wednesday March 15, 2006 @05:36PM (#14927741) Homepage
    Guild wars is free to play per month, unlike EQ2, WOW, etc.
    • by snuf23 (182335)
      No - YOU missed the point:

      "have announced that they will be incorporating in-game advertising for their MMO Auto Assault"

      The article is about advertising appearing in Auto Assault NOT Guild Wars, City of Heroes, Lineage or any other NCSoft game.
      Auto Assault was pre-sold as an MMO with expected normal monthly MMO pricing. Now as to whether the monthly subscription will be for a game with advertising or if some other model is in the works, we don't know at this time.
  • Basically, these companies are looking for as many sources of revenue as possible. Advertising is just another of them.

    There are loads of examples of things the user pays for that have advertising: TV, magazines, movie theatres, movies themselves, etc. You almost can't escape it nowadays.

    Now, ask me if I think paying $15/mo for an on-line game makes any sense and I'll tell you NO -- but I'm not the entire gaming market. =)
  • by RingDev (879105) on Wednesday March 15, 2006 @05:39PM (#14927781) Homepage Journal
    I'm not the hard core gamer I used to be, but I probably play 4-8 hours a week. So you figure $15/month = $180/year = $3.46/week = $0.43 to $0.86 per hour of entertainment.

    Compared to a Movie, I paid $8.25 to see Underworld 2. Run time 106 minutes, but you could theoretical count the travel time and previews as "entertainment" so let's call it a 3 hour event. That puts the cost at $2.75/hour.

    For me, $15 is a drop in the bucket. I would prefer to not have adds (specifically since I play high fantasy games usually) but in some games (the NFS series for instance) Ads can be put in the game seamlessly in a way that does not break immersion.

    -Rick
    • When I signed up for an MMORPG, I went with Guild Wars precisely because I can only manage about 2-3 hours a month. (Busy life. Not too busy to read some morning slashdot, but too busy to grind and power-level) WoW at $15 would not be a good deal - especially after considering that you pay $40-50 for the box... But that's getting to a point. I used to play roleplaying games - the pen and paper type. And they have no fee. You just buy the books and play. They're expensive books, but I kept hitting th
  • Predictions (Score:5, Insightful)

    by BaudKarma (868193) on Wednesday March 15, 2006 @05:40PM (#14927787) Journal
    Prediction: 90% of respondants will react to the concept of in-game ads as if someone was offering to attach live leeches to their eyeballs. Brave proclomations will be made about how respondant will never, ever, EVER pay for a game that has in-game advertising, no matter what.

    Prediction: If the game is good, same people will buy it and play it, complaining bitterly the whole time. Until and unless the advertisments get so intrusive that they actually interfere with gameplay, people will put up with them to get their gaming fix.
    • The problem is (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Wednesday March 15, 2006 @06:43PM (#14928394)
      The bar is set fairly high, and keeps getting higher. Ok so time was your competition was Everquest, a game that felt like a job run by people who seemed to actively go out of their way to screw their customers. Didn't need a big leg up there. However now there's World of Warcraft. It's a fun game, a REALLY fun game. Certianly the best of the five I've tried and the only one to hold my attention for over a year. Sales figures seem to back that up, with 5 million subscribers and rising.

      Ok so people who need their MMORPG fix can (and do) go there, you game has to offer something different or better, if you don't, they'll ignore you for the most part. Thus if you decide that a fee plus intrusive ads is the way to go, gamers will tell you to fuck off, they have something better already.

      The reason I'm very anti in-game ads is because I know how stupid advertisers are when it comes to computers. They seem to think that ads need to be extremely in your face, noisy, and interactive. If they aren't getting your full attention for an extended period with lots of click throughs, well they must be failing. I mean shit, look at the previlance of not just popups, but take-over-your-browser types of Flash ads. The web is a non-linerar medium and the closest thing would be a newspaper, where you can skip around as you want, yet they insist that's not good enough, their ads have to be in your face.

      See I could go for a game with well integrated ads, I even think they could enhance the experience. For example you walk by a TV and instead of displaying some 3 screen loop with babble sounding audio, it has downloaded some new ads and plays them. Would feel nice and realistic, and integrate in to your experience well.

      However that's not how it will go, I'm afraid. The advertisers would bitch since people could just ignore the ads and look at other things (I'll never understand why that's not a problem with real billboards and such, just ocmptuer ads). What they'll want is forced ads on loading screens. So you zone in to a place and it starts loading, but instead of a loading screen you get an ad that talks to you, wants you to click thigns, etc. You computer finishes all it's work in 5 seconds but you spend 20 more being bombarded by an ad before you can play.

      Thanks, but no.
    • Re:Predictions (Score:5, Insightful)

      by umbrellasd (876984) on Wednesday March 15, 2006 @08:12PM (#14929107)
      Most players lack the ability to switch off. Do people like television advertising? Most do not. On the other hand, most people will tolerate a great deal as long as their brain numbing distraction of choice remains available.

      Anything that enters the mainstream will have advertisements because if there's a way for someone to legally make a dime, it is going to happen, particularly when it feeds off the least common denominator of principle in the population as a whole.

      I don't watch television, I don't listen to radio, and I don't play games with ads in them. I personally know 0 other people like that. I've never even met anyone else like that. Sure you meet people that are angry about invasive advertising, but when it comes down to it, there's something in the media that they just need so bad they cannot really turn it off.

      The general reaction when I mention this and indicate that a big reason is that I get really pissed when I am interested in something and some fucker comes along and laces that something with every act of manipulation that they can to make me spend money...the general reaction is disbelief and comments about my dubious sanity.

      Given that, advertising is inevitable. Just look at it this way. If every single major game producer decides to go in-game advertising, you know without a doubt that gamers will continue to pay to play. Without a doubt. It's a bit like price fixing. Then eventually, the economy will adjust so that a successful game company pretty much needs (read: publishers won't back a game with a lower advertisement-free profit margin) the additional in-game advertising revenue, and there you go.

      There's no turning back, and huge economic pressure will arise to starve out competitors that would offer a liberated experience, but cannot do so because the majority of consumers are tolerant and costs are adjusted to require revenue generated by the tolerance of advertising and the profitability of the resulting impulse purchases that occur.

      • Re:Predictions (Score:3, Insightful)

        by CrayDrygu (56003)

        "I don't watch television, I don't listen to radio, and I don't play games with ads in them. I personally know 0 other people like that."

        I think most people would prefer a compromise, to giving things up completely. I know I do.

        So, I watch TV, but thanks to my HTPC, I don't watch the ads. I listen to radio, but thanks to XM, I don't listen to ads. And when Planetside added in-game advertising, I blocked Massive's ad servers.

        But I've got the same attitude behind it all: If you have a medium where

    • Bingo! You hit the nail right in the back of the hand.

      Here is a suggestion for everyone who is sick to death of ads. Quit buying the crap being advertised! Otherwise shut up about it.

  • by brunes69 (86786) <<gro.daetsriek> <ta> <todhsals>> on Wednesday March 15, 2006 @05:46PM (#14927838) Homepage
    I see nowhere in the announcement that NC Soft plans to charge a monthly fee in adition to having advertisements.

    Seeing how they *already* have a very popular MMORPG without a monthly fee (Guild Wars), I don't think it is a stretch to think this one won't either.

  • Better Games? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by carterhawk001 (681941)
    If the publishers and content produces for MMO's are going to stick advertising in games, then I have no problem continuing to pay my monthly fee so long as the revenue from said advertising is used to improve the game im playing. Less downtime should be a top priority for both sides because downtime = less advert money. More content in general would also be nice. More places for that advertising to go i figure. You have to remember that disneyland is like the real life equivelent for an MMO, and in additio
  • by Quarters (18322) on Wednesday March 15, 2006 @05:47PM (#14927852)
    "...wanted to know how other people would feel paying $50US for a game, plus approximately $15/month in subscription fees, and in addition be served with in-game advertising as well?"

    People pay $5000US for a hi-def set, plus approximately $80/month for HiDef satellite and/or cable service, and are served ads without complaint.

    • People pay $5000US for a hi-def set, plus approximately $80/month for HiDef satellite and/or cable service, and are served ads without complaint.

      That does not mean they are making a good choice.

      These are the same people that are going to be eating dog food and living on the street in a box after they retire.

      If you want to do something with your money, put it in an IRA and go for a jog instead of sitting on the couch waiting for the heart attack.

    • People pay $5000US for a hi-def set, plus approximately $80/month for HiDef satellite and/or cable service, and are served ads without complaint.

      Most people I know loath advertisements. I mute commercials whenever I can and switch channels as soon as they pop. One of the main reasons Tivo gained in popularity was to avoid advertisements. One of Mozilla's main selling points is a popup blocker and its user base is growing rapidly. I think most americans and most people around the world dislike advertisem
    • What's worse, people buy expensve Tivo-style units to watch the ads for them!
  • by popo (107611) on Wednesday March 15, 2006 @05:48PM (#14927869) Homepage

    No publisher with any sort of standards would allow the game setting to be destroyed this way. I think we'll see the games with low subscribership succumb to this trend, and lose even more players as a result. Its one thing for Anarchy Online, City of Heroes or a game with a futuristic setting to use in-game ads (since ads exist within those worlds thematically), but a Volvo ad in a dungeon?

    Ambience, mood, storyline, graphical quality and believability are hugely important in a MMORPG. All I can say is, if my Lvl 20 Monk/Ranger comes across a "Lower Your Mortgage"
    ad in the depths of Hell, I'm never playing Guild Wars again. ...Not to mention the inherent problems with advertising Pepsi on some bloodstained field of carnage.

  • US centric adverts (Score:3, Interesting)

    by forgotten_my_nick (802929) on Wednesday March 15, 2006 @05:55PM (#14927945)
    One thing amazed me about the US when I lived there is how badly you are bombarded with adverts. Not just TV but everywhere. Really its like having a fast computer. You don't realise it until you start to try to use a slow one.

    I found amazing, and very annoying. But for everyone else because they grew up with it they more or less blocked it out. Advertising companies know this, which is why adverts are becoming more and more intrusive. Take a look at this site.. http://www.womma.org/wombat/agenda.htm [womma.org]

    It will give you an idea of how intrusive they actually get. Whats intresting in that site is that NCSofts Auto-Assault has used these marketing companies for viral/Gurrilla/astro-turfing. So having them put adverts into the game is just an extension of this to be honest.

    As for the OP question. I wouldn't play it. I'd quit. If I am paying a subscription why the heck should I be paying to be spammed with adverts. Don't talk to me about it. Think it helps? Guess you have never seen "Deuce Bigalow: European gigalo" pictures in planetside.
    http://www.secretlair.com/index.php?/clickablecult ure/entry/massive_ruins_planetside/ [secretlair.com]

    which incidently was hacked to stop adverts spawning in game (just basically edited the hosts file).

  • by Zaffo (755234)

    In-game ads could work in a subscription-based game model, if done right.

    The most important thing advertisers (and game companies) have to accept is the fact that their ads will only be appropriate in contemporary-themed game environments. City of Heroes and Enter the Matrix fit this description, and not much else does. They try shoehorning an ad for potato chips (or anything else, for that matter) in a game with a fantasy/medieval setting. The reaction from subscribers will be instant and negative.

    Inte

    • Context wise, I don't see how there going to add these to Auto Assault outside of loading screens.

      The world is set in a futuristic, post apocalyptic "Mad Max" world. if youre going through a war torn zone and start seeing pristene unweathered billboards for Pepsi, it's going to look fishy.

      I really don't understand why they don't do this in COH/V instead. It's like they built the world to show billboard advertising, and it's built in such a way that it would make the world seem more realistic. It's almost to
      • The world is set in a futuristic, post apocalyptic "Mad Max" world. if youre going through a war torn zone and start seeing pristene unweathered billboards for Pepsi, it's going to look fishy.

        one interesting question is do the billboards need to look pristine to have an affect or would billboards for pepsi that looked like they would post apocolypse (weathering random damage etc) be effective.
    • For fantasy settings, (if they can) they will probably try some product integration style thing. I once saw an advertisement about a Sony, Pizza-Hut partnership that allowed an Everquest II player to type '/pizza' into the chat window, and a Pizza-Hut online ordering menu would pop-up. I thought this was the stupidest thing I had ever seen, but Evercrack junkies probably found it uber-convenient.
  • and I'll say it again...(Disclaimer, can't read the article, so if there is content about the style, I only get the summery).

    As long as the ads are unobtrusive and fit the style and content of the game I'm fine. For instance, racing games advertising cars or tires, no problem. If there was an advertisment in WoW for hand lotion, however, I would be less than pleased.

    Oh, and I think everyone would agree with me. If there's ads in the game, I best be getting some sort of substantial discount. Say, at leas

  • I really always assumed that we would begin to see both advertisement and sorts of sponsorships in online gaming. It might not always work in the most thematic way, but this is not really different than product placement for example.

    The Ancient Order of Coca-cola have defeated the Mercedes Barbarians to bring the glory of the gods to America.
  • Planetside has that (Score:3, Informative)

    by RobinH (124750) on Wednesday March 15, 2006 @06:13PM (#14928146) Homepage
    Planetside already has that. They're not overly invasive, but they are noticeable in areas that people frequent (it's not like people's tanks have billboards on the side of them, a la nascar).

    It's also very very easy to get rid of the ads. Apparently you just enter a line in your lmhosts file that tells the game to redirect all requests to the Massive Inc servers to some black hole. No more ads.
  • Thanks for purchasing Product X! Please take the time to let is know where you heard about our product:

    1. Newspaper
    2. Billboard
    3. Gaming Magazine
    4. Farming Blue/Purple Items in Molten Core.

    Thanks for your input.
  • by MaWeiTao (908546) on Wednesday March 15, 2006 @06:38PM (#14928361)
    I have two fundamental problems with in-game advertising.

    The first is immersion. If I'm playing a game set in a post-apocalyptic world why am I seeing ads, and worse yet, why are they for products that don't exist in this world.

    The second problem is specific to subscription based games. If I'm paying a monthly fee why should I be subjected to advertising? I don't even think I should see advertising in a game I've spent $50 for. Corporate greed knows no bounds and I expect in-game advertising to grow increasingly obnoxious and obtrusive.

    I have a few other problems with this form of advertising, one of the largest being the general lack of quality for these ads. It's like ad banners, nearly all of which are complete and utter garbage. The stuff I've seen from screenshots of other games looks awful. I don't expect this to improve and I'm sure we'll see poorly placed ads. Like posters for Subway sandwiches in terrorist hideouts.

    Now, advertising fits a bit more neatly into a world like that in City of Heroes; it's a contemporary city based in the United States. But again, the general idea of advertising in games rubs me the wrong way.

    It's far more enjoyable and faithful to the game world to see the fake ads the designers have created. The moment I see an ad for a real-life product I'm no longer based in the game, I'm thinking about my life outside the game.

    To put it simply, I think in-game advertising is lame. It's companies tried to grab every last penny from consumers. But too many consumers seem to think this is okay which means that its going to be forced on us all whether we like it or not. Consumers are far too accepting of being charged for nonsense and there aren't enough people willing to organize to oppose anything.
  • by TheNetAvenger (624455) on Wednesday March 15, 2006 @07:11PM (#14928606)
    Billboards in the Matrix Online had both fake and real ads on them from launch. It actually added to the realism of the game, as it wasn't just fake ads. (Made it feel more real)

    I quit Matrix because SOE (Sony Online) bought it, and started adding in everquest abilities to the game model, a lot like when they brought the everquest developers over to Star Wars Galaxies and started destroying because they didn't 'get the difference'.

    But until then it was kind of cool to see new movie billboards or alienware ads for a new model, etc.

    It can make the world more real, but if it fits in the context. I wouldn't expect to see a Pepsi Machine In WoW or a Billboard for a new movie in WoW, it has to fit the game and not break it. Matrix it worked because it was mimmicking a real city.

    And if it adds revenue they use to make the game better and add content and expand the game, I'm for it...
  • I can't wait to see mobs looking like nascar drivers, covered in ads....cheap gold! www.china.com.
  • Why are people so adverse to advertising in a game?

    I pay a subscription to my satellite TV provider, yet I still get ads on the channels I like to watch. Even in the middle of sporting events. I had to pay for my decoder box and pay my monthly subscription.

    Advertising in a game is acceptable to me as long as it is within context. I don't want to see an ad for CocaCola(tm) in the middle of Droknar's Forge in Guild Wars. Or an ad for Gillete Mach3 over the door to the Auction House of Orgrimmar in World of Wa
  • I wanted to know how other people would feel paying $50US for a game, plus approximately $15/month in subscription fees, and in addition be served with in-game advertising as well?

    Hey cockmonkey, I'm glad you asked! Here's what I think:

    I betad auto-assault for the first time this weekend and was very impressed with what I saw. As of yesterday I had full intention of pre-ordering AA and playing it as soon as possible.

    AFter reading this article I now have zero intention of ordering AA. I won't pay $15/mon
  • That's just odd. NCSoft publishes City of Heroes, which is set in a city which is analagous to a modern day metropolis. (Or megopolis - think perhaps NYC times five)

    Ads in such a game would probably ADD to the experience. I wouldn't want them jacking up my performance or anything, but seeing a Pizza Hut or a Coke banner? Seems like verisimilitude, and if it lets them make more money, add more content, or whatever, more power to them.

    Ads in a game like Auto Assault seem crazy for the most part. It's a postap
  • Is there a way to port block the ad server? Or 127.0.0.1 the adserver's name in %WINDIR%\system32\drivers\etc\hosts?
  • by leabre (304234)
    I paid for a subscription to classmates.com and still get served with tons of the most annoying adverts ever when logged in. That's just wrong. I cancelled my subscription so it won't renew next year.

    This is no different. If I'm paying, then I should not be bothered with in game advertisements if they are intrusive. For example, seeing a Coke billboard or poster isn't annoying, so much, as its modeling reality. However, when the adverts become annoying or too much, or somehow, the game goes out of its
  • It's entirely expected that advertisements will appear everywhere and anywhere they can. There is no reason for them not to. People are not dissuaded from using a product because of advertisements, even on paid media. They have appeared cable TV, movies (before and during), DVD's, video games... they'll hit XM soon enough.

    What surprises me is the sizable percentage of people who saying "well, if it results in more money to develop better games, that's fine". What?!? Since when has advertising dollars b
  • Wow, NCSoft just made up my mind for me. Auto Assault looked like it might be a pretty good game so I sighed up for the beta, downloaded it, patched it all up and was presented an activation key to play this weekend.

    Since this article came out I have uninstalled it completely, deleted every single email I have ever received from NCSoft and vow never to play any of their games until they change their stance. If I'm paying for a service there better not be ads no matter how "unintrusive" they may be.

    I hope NC
  • Consumers in general appear have no ability to restrain themselves from spending money on something they want. Game developers/publishers have realised this which is why we're seeing more ads in more and more games. Sometimes they're subtle (posters/billboards in racing games) which I don't have a problem with.

    I strongly believe that Blizzard could pump World of Warcraft full of ads and it'd have barely any effect on player numbers because everyone is so hopelessly addicted to it. They're locked in to the g
  • http://www.project-entropia.com/ [project-entropia.com] has been throwing around this idea and in fact had mentioned that they will be using in-game advertising. This would be good since it is a theoretically "free" game. As most probably know it is free for a little bit and you can't do to much with out eventually paying a bit. Any how it is another game brining advertising into play.

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