Advertising in Games: Good?

I disagree with Tom. I’ve never, ever enjoyed seeing real-life products advertised in games–or movies either, for that matter. That’s probably because they just scream so loudly, “I’m an advertisement cynically positioned to encourage you to purchase me in real life.” They’re a distraction and an insult to my intelligence (he said, as he reached for a Coke).

There’s more to it than that, though. I don’t even like sports games that feature real-life teams and players. The last sports game I bought was the Front Page Sports Football one before it went “Pro,” and that was a long, long time ago. When the series went “Pro,” it lost me. There’s just something about mixing reality with games and fantasy that rubs me the wrong way.

Anyone else have a similar view?

You might want to add a link to Tom’s article if you want to discuss it. Not everyone visits Firingsquad regularly.

You’re right. I also enjoy when the graphics are an unrealistic as possible, especially when the textures are blurry and indistinct so it can’t possibly be mistaken for real life.

Come to think of it, I’d rather not play a game at all, lest it remind me of real life. I much prefer simply sitting in a dark room, closing my eyes, and imagining having fun in a totally fantastical environement where nothing resemebles anything at all.

Okay, overbearing sarcasm mode aside, advertising in games, like so many other things, isn’t catigorically good or bad. It can be annoying and overbearing, or it can be an aide to my suspension of disbelief. I’d much rather see a coke machine than a “soda” machine, and I’d much rather drive a Toyota in GTA than a “Toyola” or something (although some of those names are funny).

Slapping in some needless billboards in a game where they don’t really belong so they can have some ads is annoying. Tom brings up the billboards in Jet Moto. What, they put billboards along aquatic race courses? Going for all those potential customers on their…morning jet-ski commute? And what was that awful first-generation Xbox snowboarding game where they shoehorned Nokia phones in so bad that it just yelled out “look, I’m a sponsor!” By contrast, if I see a cut-scene where a guy has a mobile phone, it involves me more if it it’s modeled off a real-world phone.

McDonalds was really shoehorned into The Sims Online. Intel, not as much.

When I watch a movie, I think it’s absurd when people walk to a bar and say “I’ll have a beer” and the bartender whips one out. Try that at a real bar. “I"ll have a beer.” “We have heinekin, Sam Adams, Rolling Rock, Budwieser, Bud Light, Coors…blah blah blah” You cannot order a “beer.”

In American Wedding, the guys are sitting on a step drinking longnecks, and they’re Buds (the beers, not the guys). Fine, that’s reasonable and looks “real.” The part that set off my cynical advertising alarm was how one of them was like peeling off the label, so that the whole label showed, carefully holding it facing the camera. I wonder how many takes they had to do where the line delivery was fine but they messed up showing the Budweiser label.

Unless it stands to add significantly to the atmosphere of a game, I’m against it. And I doubt an ad would add anything to a game that a pseudo-ad (a similar but made-up product with a different name, logo, etc.) couldn’t contribute just as easily.

Of course, then, there’s no advertising income.

Peter

Advertising on t.v makes if free, does advertising in games lower the final price at all?

Go fuck yourself, Jason. Or let me know and I’ll do it for you. This kind of bullshit is completely uncalled for. I stated pretty clearly why I don’t like product advertising in games, and it has nothing to do with the caricature you’ve drawn.

If, as seems to be the case, your purpose is just to insult me, send me a PM and we’ll arrange a little meeting so you can do it to my face like a man.

Sometimes it’s funny. Sometimes it’s really kind of scary on a personal level…

mudpuppy

And people think Jerry Springer isn’t speaking to the masses…

Chet

I don’t mind advertising in games if it’s something like in Nascar, where they have all the sponsors for the cars, or in a baseball game where the sponosor logos are in the outfield.

What I would mind is a big fucking logo that says BUY COCA COLA, IT MAKES YOU PLAY GAMES BETTAR that I can’t click through as part of the intro. Well, if it was an A list title and it sold for $10-20 less than comparable A-list titles, I probably wouldn’t care, but if it was full price, I’d return it.

I covered this recently at GamerDad in a news item. Seems a company called “Added Value” did some research and found that kids don’t mind adverts in games unless it’s gratuitous like McDonalds in SimsOnline. Anyway, click for more.

GamerDad Article

I have no problem with ads in games if they make sense like along race tracks or on the boards in a hockey game. In your face advertising does bug me though.

That snow board game was called Amped by the way.

– Xaroc

Quick, get mudpuppy to a testosterone donation site!

I do everything I can to avoid ads, right down to my Tivo, NPR, and quaint country lifestyle.

I can deal with discrete product placement stuff occasionally, but advertisers aren’t the most restrained group.

I remember watching “Big,” a Tom Hanks flick, and enjoying the first half or so. Then there’s this scene of Hanks’ loft where he’s buying all this kid stuff. And there’s this Pepsi vending machine. And then there’s this long shot where the room is very dark, except for the radioactive glowing Pepsi machine in the center. I know it’s nonsensical, but I just could really recover after that and get into the movie.

I don’t want ads.

Actually, I wouldn’t mind them if the game is simming something that already has ads, like NASCAR or baseball stadiums as someone mentioned. In other games they definitely won’t add to the immersiveness, at least until I get used to them. I’d rather see a generic cola machine instead of a Coke machine in a game like Half-Life. I’d find the latter annoying and it would take me out of the game instead of drawing me in.

Is using a real car in a game really an ad? No one makes a big fuss about the use of real cars in movies, unless its Bad Boys II or the X-Files.

How about sports games? Is using a Big Bertha in Tiger Woods PGA Tour considered an ad? Or the type of bat in a baseball game?

As long as the product is not the focus, then I’m ok with it. As long as game prices come down. Which they won’t.

It doesn’t make the movies any cheaper either. What product placement should do is increase the budget.

Ah, true. So I guess it’s how the budget is used then. A big budget used well could improve an otherwise mediocre movie (Matrix Reloaded) or do nothing for it (Pearl Harbour).

Though I didn’t see Pearl Harbour - I doubt there was any product placement in it. Did Matrix Relaoded? The Powerade thing?

. I’d rather see a generic cola machine instead of a Coke machine in a game like Half-Life. I’d find the latter annoying and it would take me out of the game instead of drawing me in.

This sounds more like some sort of broad philosophical annoyance with the fact that corporations dare remind you that their products, in fact, exist than any sort of legitimate gripe. I mean, for what possible reason could a Coke machine in Half-Life remove you from the gameplay experience? If that generic soda brand in Half-Life was a real product, would you react so violently? It sounds like your answer is going to be “yes”. But in that case, your problem obviously isn’t with shameless plugging or in your face marketing, but rather with your own preconceptions of what a recognizably-branded soda machine in a video game means.

It sure as hell annoyed me that every fifteen steps on the future space station in Run Like Hell, there was a Bawls machine. And to restore your health, you had to drink Bawls. It was ridiculous and stupid. Like most of that game.

I mean, for what possible reason could a Coke machine in Half-Life remove you from the gameplay experience? If that generic soda brand in Half-Life was a real product, would you react so violently? It sounds like your answer is going to be “yes”. But in that case, your problem obviously isn’t with shameless plugging or in your face marketing, but rather with your own preconceptions of what a recognizably-branded soda machine in a video game means.

I know the difference between an ad and a piece of game fiction. I find ads in general annoying. If I see an obvious ad in a game, I’m going to be annoyed, unless the ad is clever enough to amuse me instead of annoy me.