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Advergaming and Other Horror Stories

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sub routine 21st February 2008, 10:06 Quote
Yeah I agree. I HATE adverts, they totally do my head it. I tend to not watch alot of tele and when I do I generally end up shouting at stupid stupid ads for crap I don`t want.
IMO we pay a premium for games as it is, I don`t want to be bombarded by crap that I like to avoid. Especially when they decide to spyware my pc and tailor the bloody things towards me, if they got it right they would understand they do my head in. grrr. And if it impinges on dev time and game performance....*pop*

$$ thats what it all boils down to though. Games are run by managers and folk who don`t care about the game : /

The only good point I can see in it is major price reductions to accomodate them, and even then I would buy a full price version not to have to put up with it.
will. 21st February 2008, 10:07 Quote
I think advertising in any game is OK, but it's got to be executed with thought. It's the same with TV and films. Both have product placement throughout entire shows and sometimes it's burningly obvious (Blade Trinity - Apple) but other times it's reasonably subtle (Bourne films - nokia). The publisher is definitely the source of the annoyance, but the developers have just as much responsibility. Perhaps even more. They have to accept that it's going to happen so they need to plan for it. Any developer having to create the adverts when they should be bug testing has messed up their project management. If it was a last minute addition then someone wasn't clear enough to the publisher when they made the request or they didn't really know how long it would take to implement.

At work I often used to have a situation where a client would come in for a meeting half way through a project just to check up on progress and I was never invited into the meeting. This meant that the person in the meeting who was usually completely out of touch with the work we were doing would agree to things that if I had been present I would have told them to either sod off or give us another 4 days.

I remember the Splinter Cell games with the airwaves adverts. That was blatant advertising and they obviously knew it. So they made it funny. He's in a helicopter wearing all black on his way to assassinate someone and suddenly decides that he needs to freshen his breath with a tasty green menthol flavoured mint. It's just ridiculous, but because of that, it was ok.
Same with burnout really. Crashing into a diesel van at 200mph and smooshing it into a teeny crumpled mess is just funny!
DXR_13KE 21st February 2008, 11:08 Quote
"In it you play the Burger King and have to sneak up on people and give them a hot delicious sandwich. "

you don't mean "hot delicious sandwich." as in "monster mash".... do you?

anyway, i hate in game adds, would you buy a car for full price and then have random adverts on it?
will. 21st February 2008, 11:16 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by DXR_13KE
anyway, i hate in game adds, would you buy a car for full price and then have random adverts on it?

You better get rid of your car then. You are basically driving a big advert. You paid lots of money to drive about advertising your car. How silly do you feel!
specofdust 21st February 2008, 11:19 Quote
As far as I'm concerned, advertising in games people pay for, without lowering the price, is valid justification for piracy.

Simple as that.
sub routine 21st February 2008, 11:37 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by will.
I remember the Splinter Cell games with the airwaves adverts.

I gotta say I didn`t like it. It detracts from the plot and appears as what it is, a cynical attempt to make money. The fact he is a stone cold killer means he shouldn`t be taking "chewie" interludes, if it was the GTA series this has an altogether lighter feel and it can be accepted, although when they pull a move like that in GTA they actually poke fun at stuff which to me adds to it`s value.
Money is the only reason and the way it`s involved just lowers the quality of the art value to me. Make up names for phones, drinks whatever I hate nothing more than soft drinks being peddled in any form of visual entertainment.

It`s everywhere though, James bond driving through a beautiful carribean island in a ford focus......... blah blah i don`t care about this his strategically placed phone and cleverly orientated laptop,

................... sort it out all it is is greed!!!.
Ninja_182 21st February 2008, 14:53 Quote
I know some people who buy adverts to put on their car although from past experience they seem to be shopping lists :p

Does anyone remember the Global Gladiators game on the Mega Drive / Genesis (may have been Master System as well)? That was pretty much McDonalds propaganda. Personally I have no objection to ads in games, some amuse me slightly. The Nivea adverts in Double Agent looked particularly out of place as did the randomly located electric shavers.
Jamie 21st February 2008, 16:03 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ninja_182
I know some people who buy adverts to put on their car although from past experience they seem to be shopping lists :p

Does anyone remember the Global Gladiators game on the Mega Drive / Genesis (may have been Master System as well)? That was pretty much McDonalds propaganda. Personally I have no objection to ads in games, some amuse me slightly. The Nivea adverts in Double Agent looked particularly out of place as did the randomly located electric shavers.

My car advertises Meguiars and I'm not ashamed.

Who remembers Zool? That was one big Chupa Chups advert.
CJ145 21st February 2008, 16:56 Quote
I don't mind adds like those in Burnout Paradise. The way they have done it makes it look realistic. What I did mind was paying $60 for a game full of adverts when I could buy the one next to it with no advertisements for the same cost.
CardJoe 21st February 2008, 18:53 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by specofdust
As far as I'm concerned, advertising in games people pay for, without lowering the price, is valid justification for piracy.

Simple as that.

I disagree with that.
specofdust 21st February 2008, 19:00 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by CardJoe
I disagree with that.

I know. Some people will, many won't.

Don't get me wrong, I understand the economics. Marketing in games doesn't pay for the games. But when you buy a game and you get forced to watch 20-30 seconds of adverts and other crap for tech companies when you open the game, then get blatant adverts in the game, and sometimes even adverts are you're leaving the game - well, you just start to feel, "what am I paying for here? A video game, or a first person advertisement?"

Bottom line is, it doesn't matter whether my point is valid or not. Lots of people like me feel it is. So long as IGA makes people pissed off with devs, they're going to head towards RIAA-ville.
Cadillac Ferd 21st February 2008, 19:18 Quote
Oh come on, the Burger King games were hilarious!
Bungle 21st February 2008, 19:41 Quote
I don't see the problem with ingame advertising if it's done within the context fo the game. I use to love playing Tigerwoods 2007 golf on my Xbox, this game was brimming with advertising. To the point where you played tournaments and got paid (ingame currency) for wearing certain brand names. You know what? It didn't detract from the fun of the game one bit. I'd even go so far as to say it enhanced an otherwise great game.
There is a place for advertising ingame, but it must be done with due care and attention to the game, so that it fits with the game design well. The last thing we need to see is designer clothes labels in an Age of Conan game.:D
Fozzy 22nd February 2008, 09:13 Quote
What really kills me is the THOUSANDS of screens you have to go through to load up a game.

Hellgate: London is atrocious when it comes to advertising. I swear there must be fifteen mini ads while you're loading up the game. It's so annoying to have to click that many times just to get to a log in screen....
g3n3tiX 22nd February 2008, 16:08 Quote
heh. Doom 3 friendly martian !
Imagine seeing real ads in TF2 : Blashpemy, this is madness !

But the GTA fake ads are so sweet.!! On the game radio, and billboards. It's very immersing.
E.E.L. Ambiense 22nd February 2008, 16:29 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by will.
You better get rid of your car then. You are basically driving a big advert. You paid lots of money to drive about advertising your car. How silly do you feel!

That's why I always mod my cars. Debadge, customize, etc. :)
genesisofthesith 22nd February 2008, 18:38 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by specofdust
As far as I'm concerned, advertising in games people pay for, without lowering the price, is valid justification for piracy.

Simple as that.

Perhaps that sould be the other way round - considering the extent of piracy can you blame developers from resorting to in game advertising to prop up development costs? In addition the developers can still make some money on pirated games if they could persuade their advertisers to take into account the total audience their adverts would reach (pirated copies included).

There is no justification for piracy, games are after all a luxury good - if we can't afford to or don't want to pay the price, then they're not holding anything vital back from us. And game costs do decrese over time, so if you started buying games when they fell to what you consider reasonable price levels as opposed to just downloading a copy, then either launch prices will decrease, or at least the price will fall quicker. Just look at console games, people stopped buying games at full price, and the platinum series etc. now launch not long after the full release - because developers can make as much money selling a lot of copies at £20 than a few at £40+.

I could easily see a future where games are cheap to buy, then ad supported (which if done with restraint would be acceptable) - and if someone pirates a game, then the ad revenue will at least contribute against the lost sale.
Cthippo 23rd February 2008, 06:35 Quote
I really have to wonder if all this advertising is really effective though. Here's a test. Without looking, do you know what's being advertised on this page right now? I bet you don't, because most of us have learned to tune out (read ignore) ads. The more common they become, the better we get at not seeing them. Unfortunatly marketers probably won't give up, so I can at least feel good about NOT buying things that they try so hard to convince me I need.
JohnBaker 25th February 2008, 14:06 Quote
What a shame a dev thinks this way, from a small independent studio too.

I am involved to a degree with in-game advertising and see this as a way to help finance
development of new releases.

For small devs it is important. I am not saying small (or big) dev teams have to give in to the
publishers (who incidentally pay in reality their wages) they have a choice and it can be a useful
financial part.

In fact in-game ads could help small dev teams/publishers more than the big boys.

Although most in-game ad agencies (well the big 3 - IGA, Massive, and Double Fusion) are mostly
only interested in triple A titles before they get want to pay.

The biggest people I can gather from the comments in the article are not too many adverts but too
few.

Take the Judge Dredd /Red Bull example you gave it is a problem because there are too few
advertisers if there were a hundred different poster ads then you imply that it would be a better
experience.

Sadly that is the main problem with the industry there just isn't enough ads (money) to go around.
The ad agencies work for the big brands don't want to advertise yet.

Many problems for this the main one is there is no overall worldwide advertising budget each brand
with have a budget per country or region and in-games to be really successful needs to have

It is barely worth it if Ford in Belgium wants to advertise in your game and will pay the CPM but
the other countries are not interested.

Also you seem to imply that budgets are cut from dev time for generating more revenue for the
company. That makes no sense at all. Like poster 'will' said that is just bad management.

Also you seem to think the in-game ad SDKs are complex and difficult to implement. That is not my
experience at all the ones I have seen are easy and straight forward. I would which ones you think
are difficult?

True In game ads don't work in all games but they can work in many. If they are done properly what
harm does it do.

Often over the top Slashdot type people online with automatically claim they will no buy the games
with any form of advertising in. I wonder if the same will not buy their favorite film or tune off
they favorite TV show because it has some product placement in.

Or maybe if you are still working you your dev company you will take a reduction in wages for all
the revenue earned from advertising if your company decides to go down that route.

It is a shame a more balanced article was not published.

99% of the adverts are very suitable to the games. Sometimes the placement is a little off but I
haven't seen many/any examples of truly bad placement. Lots of myths but no actual examples. I am
in fact looking for bad examples to write an article on what *NOT* to do in in-game ads.

If anyone here has screenshots please let me know.

The devs teams have a choice how obvious or subtle the ads can be and the ingame ad agencies can
point you into the right direction of how to add ads into games. Although if you are half
intelligent you can get better ideas then them that also work more seamlessly into your game. More
subtle, more realistic. It is the dev teams fault IMHO if they ads are not decent maybe you company
could employ some experts in the field that can ingrate ads into titles.

There, said my piece, and registered just for saying this. Please feel free to comment, hate mail,
etc..
Simon Hill 25th February 2008, 20:12 Quote
Thanks for all the comments, I'll try and respond to some.

Can't agree about piracy being justified by in game ads - piracy really hurts a lot of developers especially of PC games and it's a tough enough business as it is, genesisofthesith responds with a good answer on this.

I agree about the limited effectiveness of advertising Cthippo, banner ads and pop-ups appear to be virtually completely ineffective now except for the subconscious re-enforcement of brand which is pernicious to say the least and sadly probably more effective than you realise.

John Baker you make some interesting points so I'll try and address at least a few of them. First off I should say I just happen to hate advertising, I resent the fact that there are few places to look in the modern world where you aren't being targetted by an advert. That's my opinion.

The idea that this provides revenue for small developers is just false, as you admit yourself the advertisers target AAA games because all they care about are numbers of eyeballs on their adverts. The publishers (who admittedly pay a lot of developers wages, though far from all) do not pass their advert profits along to the developer. As I said in the article I see no evidence of developers benefitting directly from in game advertising, perhaps you can argue they benefit indirectly as publisher profits soar higher they are in theory giving more money to developers but in game ads form such a small part of their income at the moment that its a fairly tenous argument.

You're absolutely right about the lack of advertisers willing to do this and consequently you get the Judge Dredd example I mentioned where only one advertiser buys the space and it looks daft. Yes it can fit certain settings and a futuristic setting is one of them, as are sports games, however I'd still prefer a bunch of joke adverts which would give the artistic realism and provide some humour, like in GTA.

As for cutting dev time, this is personal experience of a situation where the publisher asked us late in development to implement an ad system and you're right it was bad management on the part of the publisher. My gripe wasn't so much about the difficutly of implementing the ad software, it was about shoehorning adverts into a game with a non-realistic art style and the difficulty of trying to make them fit. As it turned out in the end the whole process was a waste of time as they didn't sell any advertising for that particular game so we wasted time on it for nothing. Incidentally I know other developers who've sufffered this exact same situation where they've implemented ad software which never ends up being used.

Your idea about dev teams spending time on making sure adverts fit or hiring someone to integrate them, well that just supports my point that this increases the cost and time for the developer and my argument is that it would be better if they spent that time on improving the game, I don't think adverts add any value for gamers.
johnmustrule 26th February 2008, 22:02 Quote
I don't think in game ads are justified by the lifted costs of producing them with the latest technology. Publishers are charging more and more for games and adding revenue at the (potential) loss of quality is bad for the consumer, who is paying more and more for games that aren't gold and services that used to be free, horse armor, xbox live. Like was said, I would gladly pay a little more to compensate for add revenue especially if the adds were annoying, Red Bull in Guitar Hero. As far as ads go to ad realism to a game (banners in a soccer field) I support that, though I haven't found any enjoyment in sports games.
JohnBaker 27th February 2008, 15:43 Quote
Hi Simon,

Thanks for the time to address some of my comments. I like to read others point of view on this subject and often they are just in the form of a 15 year old kid with a chip on the shoulder so a refreshing change to have intelligent comments as on this site.

I gathered you don't like advertising in any form. :)

Although I too can like humour in place of billboard, GTA as a common example, I think realism is (rightly or wrongly) more achievable with ads. We just need more variety.

My main problem with the Big 3 and their passion for AAA titles is not the eyeball hours. I can get eyeballs hours and am more than happy with even a reasonable CPM (Cost per mille (or thousand)) rate of $20 (I would like AAA CPM rates of like $35). However they only want eyeball hours with triple A titles not more casual but popular titles. So they say it is about the eyeballs but you will get better rates CPM rates for AAA titles….it wish it was all the same.

The industry is new and growing market and I would like to direct in a more structured direction. We ads are integrated not just bolted on. I am sure if a suitable company wanted an ad then could be accommodated and I think that should be embraced and encouraged.

A Coke vending machine in a today based first person shooter I think is a good thing. It will get a better sense of realism. I mean you would want to see this is a film wouldn't you?....wouldn't you?!

Take the Judge Dredd case more adverts would make it better as we discussed but if you cannot get the paid adverts place your joke ads in there. Have some paid ads and some 'joke'/filler ads and/or have less placements. Maybe they believed the hype (loads of ads) when they implemented it and got press ganged a little into it.

I also think over the top too many ads harms the advertiser or at least they do not get the same value for money as they are there all the time.

I still believe that the offset of hiring someone, even a contractor, full time (not that you need someone full time (at this stage anyway) more than makes up from the income you can gain. You could easily get 20k a month in ad revenue for a reasonable selling game.

I imagine you can discuss and offset this cost with the publisher?

I try and do both publisher and dev so I don't have the same type of problems just different and equally complex ones!

Cheers,

John
JohnBaker 27th February 2008, 15:45 Quote
grrr the site doesn't like cutting and pasting from word sorry about the lack of quotes.
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