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The Next Step For The FPS - Advergames? 97

simoniker writes "The CEO of Vancouver company Threewave, famous for creating Capture The Flag, has been explaining their current project — multiple versions of a free, ad-supported FPS: 'We'd like to provide sponsored content that also supports the brand of the FPS, allowing it to have a whole stream of maps that are available month after month, featuring different product placement each time. Maybe in a Jeep-Chrysler level you'll be able to drive their vehicles. Maybe a Pepsi branded level where you jump through a Pepsi logo to materialise somewhere else.' He also noted: 'For example, one of the projects that we completed recently... features terrorists taking over the Alienware computer factory.'"
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The Next Step For The FPS - Advergames?

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  • hmmm (Score:3, Funny)

    by jimstapleton ( 999106 ) on Monday September 18, 2006 @03:32PM (#16132735) Journal
    'For example, one of the projects that we completed recently... features terrorists taking over the Alienware computer factory.
    Is terrorist the right word?
    • by Aladrin ( 926209 )
      It's obvious they want the processors to help pilot their bombs and only the most overpriced name-brand computers have them. Duh. Terrorists aren't stupid you know.
      • Terrorists aren't stupid you know.

        That's right. Terrorists can perform maneuvers with a passenger aircraft that would make a fighter pilot envious and after only a few private flight school lessons and no practical experience. Now that's smart.
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      wait, so the terrorists get free advertising? that hardly seems fair. the terrorsts have won!
  • By the time I get finished playing one of these product placement FPS level, I'm might be incline not to buy anything from the company. Or worst, tell my friends to avoid playing the level and the products.
    • by spun ( 1352 )
      It's free. Paying for a game with obnoxious ads would turn me off, but this is a free, ad supported game. The only thing I can see wrong with that is that, if it succeeds, it will probably encourage game developers to sell ad space in pay games as well.
      • I agree completely.
        The only thing that allows me sleep at night is the fact that in-game advertising (for pay-for games) will likely be immediate targets for modders to remove.
        Sigh, then, of course, there will be the move to stop it with anti-cheat technology.
        Then, after much battling, we will end up with what we now call "cable television".

        -d

      • Paying for a game with obnoxious ads would turn me off,


        Heh... I've made the mistake of paying for such a game twice... Need for Speed Underground 2 and Most Wanted. EA really wants to be hated, huh?
  • Really? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by chrismcdirty ( 677039 ) on Monday September 18, 2006 @03:37PM (#16132801) Homepage
    I had no idea that Threewave invented Capture the Flag. I could have sworn I was playing it years before Quake even existed.
    • Smack! Get out of here, and don't come back to you realize there is no real world, its just your imagination.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by rsmith-mac ( 639075 )
      Threewave released a CTF mod for Quake back in the day, it was more or less the first time CTF became a popular FPS game option. Threewave didn't invent CTF, but they are largely responsible for making it a staple of the FPS.
      • Largely responsible? I think they were explicitly responsible for it! I remember back in the day, you had Deathmatch, Deathmatch where you played with the physics setting, Deathmatch on custom maps. Then, later, there was this threewave CTF thingy. Awesome levels, they added the now classic "grappling hook", and a new generation of gaming was born.
      • ... it was more or less the first time CTF became a popular FPS game option.

        Tch. I remember playing a popular FPS "capture the flag" back in 1983 [fandal.cz]. (Well, OK, not FPS, but certainly FP.)

  • Um, already done? (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Wasn't there a cereal-themed FPS that used to come in boxes of Chex or something? Am I the only one who remembers this?
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by fossa ( 212602 )

      It was called Chex Quest. I had already moved to Linux at the time (late 90s?) and was somewhat frustrated at not being able to play it via Wine, so I have no idea if it was any good; I have my doubts. It was more of a running joke between my brother and I than something I seriously wanted to play. But like other posters have mentioned there was a MicroMachines game for the NES, not to mention movie, tv, and comic book hero games such as Bart Simpson, Batman, Spiderman, Evil Dead Zelda 2 hack (scratch tha

    • I remember that, but that was a pretty bad advergame (but hey, it was free... although they were sort of advertising to the converted... since you had to buy the cereal to get the free game). I think the best example of advergaming out there is Cool Spot--a blatant advertisement for 7UP that you PAID to play (or to rent), but it was actually a fairly good game. Other fairly good games, but blatant advertisements, are the MicroMachine and HotWheels games (but those naturally adapt to the racing/stunt racing
      • by Enoxice ( 993945 )
        There were two Chester Cheetah games around that time, as well: Too Cool to Fool and Wild Wild Quest. I'd link to the wikipedia articles, but they are worse than stubs....
      • Nothing really to add, but to give you props for remembering Cool Spot. And I agree, as I remember, it was at least a mediocre platformer, not too bad.
  • Gotta love it.... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by pyrote ( 151588 ) on Monday September 18, 2006 @03:48PM (#16132916) Journal
    As I read the article.... the embedded ad is for "Grand theft auto: Vice city"...
    I could go for some hot coffee right about now...

    Anyhow on another note, Ads can be placed in games, where appropriate. The first time I jump through a 'pepsi' logo to warp, I'd be on google to find a 'patch' for this distraction in suspending my disbelief.

    I would have loved to see a Coke or Pepsi machine in Sin episode 1, but no... the had to be benign and put in 'Hammer cola...Get Hammered!' Great but it's a missed opportunity. The best ad placement I can remember to date is Bawls, in Fallout for the Xbox. not intrusive, it had nice billboards, where billboards should be, and to boot the caps were worth something in-game.

    If done correctly this could be a big thing... if done as a spinning pepsi logo i need to jump through, well... there are alot of other developers out there.
  • The only thing I can think of that would be fun in a in-game-ad FPS would be blasting large chunks in the game ads themselves.

    If that's a feature, sign me up.
  • by xxxJonBoyxxx ( 565205 ) on Monday September 18, 2006 @03:54PM (#16132979)
    "Advergames" are not really that new. Think back to Tapper, in which you served thirsty patrons mugs of (gasp!) Budweiser beer. (http://www.basementarcade.com/arcade/tapper/index .html)
  • by Neon Spiral Injector ( 21234 ) on Monday September 18, 2006 @03:55PM (#16132993)
    I thought it was Dell that took over Alienware.
  • Ads in other games (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Hahnsoo ( 976162 ) on Monday September 18, 2006 @03:56PM (#16133002)
    This is old news. Quite a few games have blatant product placements (and some games are virtual ads all by themselves... I know of more than one cereal that has their own labeled game in specially-marked boxes). In one relatively recent example, Anarchy Online has rotating ad billboards all over the place, although if you are a subscriber then you can turn them off... it's a great way to subsidize the "fr00bs", or the free-to-play accounts. America's Army is one big PR ad for the US military. I'm sure the /.ers can come up with many other examples. If I'm not paying for something, I'm happy to support a game through slightly-obtrusive ads (The price of "free"-dom, hah). If I am paying for something, though, then there had better be a good reason that the ads are there.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by smithbp ( 1002301 )
      All of the major sports games that are out right now, marketed by EA, include some form of advertisement, for among other things, the developers and various drink companies, etc. In an advergame, it's ok, because that advertising is paying for you to have that game in hand, but in a game that I am spending my hard earned money on, it is not appreciated. It's a similar situation to the forced "previews" that come on many dvds now. They are there to try to sell you something additional, not to pay for what
    • by josteos ( 455905 )
      PlanetSide has ads in a few places in the bases. They don't interfere wih the game, but frequently look out of place. If I was shooting signage I might be annoyed; but I try to shoot the peeps instead, so it all works out.

      BF2 has wall posters featurign the box art for its arabic release.

      BF2: Armored Fury has mild suggestion-type ads for BF2142 in a few places. These billboards would be very good atrgets to replace with rotating banner ads. Since BF2:AF takes place in the US, it would probably make the g
    • by xappax ( 876447 )
      Don't forget NeoPets [neopets.com], which is essentially one big trojan ad campaign targeted at very young kids.
  • by Deathlizard ( 115856 ) on Monday September 18, 2006 @04:10PM (#16133120) Homepage Journal
    I can see it now.

    You're in a Wal-Mart on Dec 24th. On one side it's the blue team protecting a Nintendo Wii in the electronics dept. On the other side, it's the Red team with a 10th Anniversary Tickle Me Elmo in the Toy Isle. In the middle is the Sporting Goods dept full of Remington's, Leathermans, Louisville sluggers and other vaious brand name, potentially leathal objects. First team to get the Wii, the TMX and escape to the checkout counter wins. Bonus points if you Collect all 5 Coca Cola Santa 24 can packs scattered through the store.

    Hell i'd play it. Especially for free.
    • by Xtravar ( 725372 )
      That sounds simply fantastic.

      Unfortunately, the most enjoyable objects would not want to sponsor a violent game... like Gerber or Huggies.
  • This story reminds me of the time when a random FPS (i think it was one of the Rogue Spear games) featured a website adress on one of the posters in a level and the guy who owned the domain noticed a serious amount of traffic start hitting it, which I guess can tell you that if anything it will expose people to your brand. Project Gotham 3 and games like Fifa 06 used all of the advertising boards to make extra cash and this wasn't picked up so much because players were so used to adverts being there in real
    • I doubt we will see Sonic eating some butterfingers anytime in the near future.

      Of course not! That would only happen in Simpsons games (and it would be Bart, not Sonic)!

  • by jmorris42 ( 1458 ) * <`gro.uaeb' `ta' `sirromj'> on Monday September 18, 2006 @04:34PM (#16133340)
    No, you guys aren't cynical enough. They will stuff in ads and raise prices.. and people will pay.

    Go to your friendly neighborhood Walmart (or Target, K-Mart, etc) sometime and look around. Especially in the stuff aimed at kids. You almost can't avoid buying co-marketed merchandise. I was commenting on just that last week while in Wallyworld. They still have a few copies of Memory(tm) in the original flavor... but you can see the way the wind blows with the much larger stack of Dora the Explorer and Disney co-branded copies of Memory, selling at $2 more. Yup, people pay more to get the ad for the TV shows. Try to buy a kid a puzzle with a generic picture on it. No can do, all they have is stuff enblazoned with some franchise character or another. Almost half of the toy aisle is stuff co-branded with a TV show or movie. Now go to the clothing dept and find a childrens shirt without a franchise character or an outright product ad on it. If you look you can still find un branded stuff, but that isn't what is selling, just look at the other customers.

    The question of advertising in games isn't when is it coming, the only question I have is why hasn't it happened yet? Best guess is because games get played long enough most ads would 'date' the game too much. That and they could get really burned if events hammers em between a game going gold and release. Imagine the PR nightmare if Nike inserts a set of ads with some sports star who gets busted for dope, accused of rape or overdoses yet millions of games are heading to stores too late to recall and repress.

    Give em a network connection to update the ads to the current crappy movie being hyped to death or the current ad campaign and watch out.
    • I don't think this is nearly the same. A closer representation, would be Pepsi memory, or Coke Memory. My daughter LOVES the Dora character. She has more interest in anything with Dora on it... So, HECK YEA, I would spend the $2 more a Dora version.
    • Imagine the PR nightmare if Nike inserts a set of ads with some sports star who gets busted for dope, accused of rape or overdoses yet millions of games are heading to stores too late to recall and repress.

      Or if, say, someone were to create a boxing game with Mike Tyson as the title character. Think of how bad it would look if he then went to jail or bit someone's ear off or something. Err, nevermind.

      As long as the endorsement celebrity doesn't do anything incredibly stupid shortly *before* the game is re
    • "Try to buy a kid a puzzle with a generic picture on it. No can do, all they have is stuff enblazoned with some franchise character or another. Almost half of the toy aisle is stuff co-branded with a TV show or movie. Now go to the clothing dept and find a childrens shirt without a franchise character or an outright product ad on it. If you look you can still find un branded stuff, but that isn't what is selling, just look at the other customers."

      Hate to break it to you but those company's are doing someth

      • by jmorris42 ( 1458 ) *
        > Blame mainstream consumers who are obsessed with whats hot.

        Which was exactly my point. People will pay more for a product with an advertisement on it. And while the slashdot crowd will bitch when it happens, Joe average will pay more for a video games that is basically an ad. Look at every movie tie in videogame ever released for proof.
        • It depends on how you define an ad then I guess. I view an ad as content that contains a brand or selling message. When I think of people buying licensed products, I see them as buying something that relates to a media property they enjoy. I mean, technically ANYTHING based on ANY existing idea is an ad for it, but its more of a grey area that depends on who has more clout. For example if a manufacturer has the hot product that everybody wants to get their content on, they would be accepting offers from
  • A futuristic world where coppertone sunblock protects us from the killer rays of the sun. All kneel before the benevolent copper-toned god.

    Smoka-Bowla Soft Drinks Inc. puts addictive drugs in their products, and only a lowly Pepsi delivery man can stop them with the new Pepsi-based detox.

    But why just FPS? Gatorade Sports could give EA's NFL monopoly a run for its money - toss the league and sign the players independently through Gatorade.

    Or a Red Bull brand bullfighting game. (See Mike Tyson's Punch Out

    • by kirun ( 658684 )
      Even if we can, Pepsi can't. I just saw a Pepsi ad in the free paper today which contained dictionary definitions of "zero" and "max", in order to remind us that Pepsi Max is ULTIMATE EXTREME SNOWBOARDING-TYPE COOL or somesuch. Anyway, there was a Pepsi Challenge [mobygames.com] game which was actually just a re-branded so-so Pacman knock-off. If Pepsi made a game, it would just be a box that pops up asking "Is Coca-Cola stupid and Pepsi cool?" and you have to click Yes.
  • I seem to remember Tony Hawks Pro Skater 3 having some ads in it. They put them in just the right spots so they weren't obtrusive at all, they even added a little sense of realism to it. One of the few I can remember is there was a poster with a Jeep on it at the bottom of the stairs in the airport.
  • So, I like the EA - Burnout series. the billboards have ads on them. It is done in good taste, and really ads(HA!) to the game... Anyhow, I also have Swat 4, where they have downloadable content. There was something REALLY bizzare about walking around a RAVE, with posters advertising William Shatner on the History channel!!! And, not like 1 or two posters, we are talking about a ton, spread all around the building, and something like 4 spots on 2 short wall segments. That is advertising screwed up. T
  • The purpose is to shoot the people wearing Coca cola t-shirts?
  • Boinger: Open Source is good for some things, but you can't do it in all industries, like the gaming industry.
    Jack9: Open Source developed games are the future. It's one of the industries that will actually work better.
    Boinger: How do those guys expect to be paid?
    Jack9: Ads on a racetrack, billboards, on the backs of their avatars. Welcome to capitalism.
    Boinger: huh...I guess that might work.

    Hey Boinger, remember that?
  • America's Army has already done this. If its free games I surely wont complain, I'm really surprised it has taken so long. I have always thought that online content could be better deeper and more immersive if it took a sponsored approach rather than just use banner advertising. Back in the early tv and radio days entire programs were sponsored by a single advertiser, that advertiser then became synonymous with the content, sometimes the programs outlived the sponsor itself (king biscuit time).

    It has als
  • DinoHunters [thedinohunters.com] is a FPS built on the Valve Source engine that's full on advergaming for Schick razors. Production quality isn't that hot in place (except for Candy, and she's hot) but the writing is pretty funny. They also have a Total Hunting Channel [totalhuntingchannel.com] companion site that is a pretty good bit of marketing. You can even "accidentally" get into some of the intranet pages.
  • . . .how long til an adblock plugin? Will I just see a black screen?
  • Nothings says immersion as jumping through a Pepsi logo to materialize somewhere else. Maybe at the enemy headquarters sponsored by Coca-Cola, while Tony the Tiger is shooting you with Cheerios and Mr. T is getting funky with his new Super Soaker 2000.
  • 'For example, one of the projects that we completed recently... features terrorists taking over the Alienware computer factory.

    I'm not the biggest Dell fan, but that seems needlessly harsh :)

  • Doesn't anyone remember cool spot [wikipedia.org]. Heck, I know people who actually liked the game.

    It wouldn't be hard to put a little low-level advertising in the games: posters on the walls, drinking Pepsi to regain life, or some other things of the like that wouldn't distract much from actual gameplay.
  • I'd buy that for a dollar!

I never cheated an honest man, only rascals. They wanted something for nothing. I gave them nothing for something. -- Joseph "Yellow Kid" Weil

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