In-game advertising

After reading about the ads in the upcoming BF2142, the old anger started welling up in me again.

In-game advertising is the worst thing that has ever happened to the gaming industry. The reprecussions are potentially much deeper than appear on the surface.

First, the basics- Advertising works with television because it pays for the production of the shows. This allows entertainment to be viewed for free (on major networks) or for a nominal fee (on cable). The entire industry is based around this principle, and for the most part it works.

Games cost $40-60 dollars a piece. In-game advertising has not offset this cost whatsoever. In the nastiest case of in-game advertising I’ve seen, Fight Night 3, the ads were so intrusive and obnoxious it was intolerable (that punch brought to you by Chicken Fries, new at Burger King!). And was the game any cheaper? No. It was actually 10 dollars more than the average price of a console game.

In Battlefield 2142, the ads will stream in realtime from an ad server. Direct from the ad server into your own computer, shoved into your gamespace with no option for you to escape them. Will the game be cheaper? Of course not. Not only will it not be cheaper, but after profiting from your initial game purchase, EA will then reap in ad revenue every single second you play the game from that point forward. This is because the servers are constantly streaming whatever content the ad companies paid for directly to your computer 24/7. And what benefit do you, the customer, get from this huge influx of profit going to EA? A bunch of ads you’re forced to stare at while navigating a war torn landscape 130 years in the future.

Now, the real kicker. Once all the companies jump on this bandwagon, they will become more and more dependant on ad revenue to create a game. When this happens, they will have to answer to their corporate sponsors. Does Coke not want to have people getting run over by a car in the presence of their ad? No problem, we won’t make games that have people getting run over. Does Johnson and Johnson not want to be associated with that filthy alien titty? No problem. We’ll take all female aliens out of our game.

I’m sure there are going to be people responding to this with such amazing insights as “OMG stop whining so what ads are everywhere deal with it lol”. Or “Yeah right, you’re totally overreacting, sky is falling, etc. Everything is going to be fine”. To those people, just look at what huge say advertising has in all television media. Look how many programs have been cancelled or scaled back because of what corporate ad interests want.

I don’t think it will go to the extent that you were predicing towards the end there, but I agree that it’s a problem.

And I DEFINITELY agree with your principle point - you’re already paying $40-$60 for the game. If the companies want to bombard you with advertisements then they have to make the game cheaper. Now, it’s one thing if you’re navigating a city and the billboards therein advertise actual products, or a character smokes a certain brand of cigarettes. That would be annoying for the aforementioned reasons,but not unbearable. But streaming advertisements from a server? How exactly do the ads get worked into the game? Does it show you a commercial while you’re waiting for an area to load?

In-game advertising is still in its infancy. I think publishers/developers are still trying to figure if and how it can be done successfully. Hopefully, if ads detract from the game experience, said game will sell less and the market will work itself out.

I definitely see issues with streaming ads, but i also see their benefits. It could really help out smaller games with things like server costs if like every time you joined a server you saw an ad, or every time you booted the game up you got stuck watching an ad (any worse than those stupid credits videos that i’m forced to watch?)

I think forcing it into the game is stupid, and only works for certain game settings, and yeah, you run into things were advertisers complain about you being able to damage their coke machine, or some other stupid bullshit. I can just see Battlefield having these indestructable billboards all over the place, while other things blow up. (Though everything in battlefield is indestructible anyway…but whatever)

How about 2 versions: 1 cheaper w\advertisements, 1 normal price minus the crap. Let the gamers decide.

This is just as intrusive as spy-ware that’s installed in the background of a legit program. Maybe the next thing the hackers need to do is figure out how to stop the streaming pile of shit that’s going to be pouring in through some back door and bombarding you. I get AWAY from TV, I don’t WANT to be subjected to the same crap. At least with TV you can get up during the commercials. In a video game we’re a captive audience.

I dunno, I was thinking about getting 2142 but that just adds one more reason NOT to buy it and to share this with everybody I currently game with.

It will probably just be that the ads on the billboards ingame will change every once in a while. And im sure they will do the QA to make sure it works flawlessly while the ingame serverbrowser will still be completely busted.

To the original poster I don’t think game ads will ever get that bad. The people purchasing games myself included will simply stop buying them if the ads are bad enough. Publishers will see it hurt sales and be forced to change. So in the end im not really worried about it, the worst it will do is ruin a few top tier games while the publishers learn their lessons. Kinda like Starforce type copy protection. (though for the record i personally never had a problem with Starforce nor was it a factor with my purchasing of games)

Also I’d like to say that I think BF2142 is going to bomb and not because of the ads which don’t help the game any. I just get that feeling from it.

It is irritating to think about. I already feel like computer/video games are very consumer unfriendly. This kind of shit just makes it worse.

I love the phrase ‘filthy alien titty’.

Get your hands off my Filthy Alien Titty"!

Why would you think that? It’s not like games a regularly released with lots of issues and need to be patched a couple of times just to get them to work. Besides on the rare occasion that they are broken all you have to do is return it to the store for a full refund, right?

Check out Dave Perry’s idea!

“When you buy a virtual item, we’re going to do a search to see if any advertiser in real-time is willing to pick up the cost of that item,” said Perry. “That allows the advertisers to bid against each other to start picking up the items for these people. If you want this sword, it would put up a message and asks if you would like Coca-Cola to buy this item for you."

That’s a pretty spiffy idea, actually. There are a couple other MMO’s coming out that are free to play and funded by sale of in-game items/currency, but this is quite an interesting thing to try. Here’s hoping the game is good and it actually pans out.

It’s good to see Perry thinking out of the box again.

Edit: Heads up! You can register for the closed beta at

Another edit: Apparently this game is already out in Korea, under the name Dekaron. I don’t know what the deal is.

The problem is that for most companies, this is seen as a new revenue source, not as a way of offsetting expenses. The distinction is crucial. It’s why games that have in-game advertising aren’t particularly any cheaper.

Anarchy Online has an advertising-supported model; if I’m not mistaken, you can play AO for free but ads are everywhere, while players who pay a monthly fee don’t see ads. I don’t have a problem with this. If I want to be a cheap bastard or just evaluate the game, I can; then if I like it, I can pay to turn the ads off. That’s fine. What is not fine is when I don’t have the option, but instead am force-fed ads for products I have already paid for.

I don’t think I can put into words adequately how much that pisses me off. I will not be purchasing Battlefield 2142.

BF 2142 is going to have ads? Aw. I was hoping it would be awesome.

I’ve always been okay with the idea that demos could have ads in them. But the final game? Not so much.

Ads are annoying in games, no two ways about it. But ads are in everything you buy. Ads in mangazines, product placements in movies, ads for other books in the back of books. Product placement in movies has been around for years, but ticket prices haven’t gotten any cheaper. Why are games sacred?

Already paid for? You already paid for cable TV and still are forced to watch Ads… You already paid for your movie ticket and yet are forced to watch ads…You already paid for the magazine, and yet there are a bunch of ads all over it.

which also gets totally on my tits. In fact I make a big effort to make conversation with my other half during the ads, and its quite bizarre watching her (and other people) having to try really hard to drag their eyeballs away from some bunch of gits trying to make ipods look sexy.
The ones I really hate are the mobile phone ads, not sure even which company it is. maybe orange, taking the mick out of how sponsorship ruins films. Having sat in a meeting where a mobile phone company said “we should have a special mission where you need to get mobile phones for the characters to finish it”, i look upon these ads as less parody, and more a fcking documentary.
Gamers dont want ads in agmes. And hopefully, won’t buy games that are covered in ads. I know I won’t be buying 2142.

This response always befuddles me.

So, because everything else has been shit all over by corporate America, why complain ever again? It’s just the way things have to be? Are people just so beat down by having this crap piped into their faces 24/7 that they feel an almost stockholm-syndrome comfort when surrounded by ads?

I’ve seen quite a few responses to the news on Shacknews that basically went like this: “You whiny little bitch. Deal with it. So what, ads are in games. Suck it up, it’s the wave of the future and I’m into it and anyone who isn’t is a retard”. There always seems to be this contigent of people who basically bully people on forums who have a problem with in game ads. I’m not saying this is you at all, AngryCoder, but I just don’t understand how anyone who doesn’t have a vested interest in sucking money out of this ploy can defend it. It’s almost like Massive sends these mooks out to the forums to belittle anyone who has the gall to complain about it. And given how many times I’ve seen this, and with all this evidence of “viral forum marketing”, I wouldn’t put it past them for a second.

Complacency is exactly what the ad companies want. Hell, they may have actually gotten people to defend their practicies by saturating us for so long with their bullshit. It’s sickening.

I show up late for movies, I dont pay for magazines, my TV is all on DVR and commercials get skipped.

'course I can probably add the adserver to a hosts file or something, at least for PC games. I DO get stuck with ads on xbox live though, which is lame.

If AAA games start costing nine or ten bucks (the cost of a movie ticket), I’ll accept product placement.

And as regards cable television, you pay for the means to receive the programming, but you don’t pay for the shows themselves.