Ad Jamming

If you're a gamer, and want to skip the in-game ads served up by Massive Incorporated (even the name is ominous), the bottom of this page has code that will do so. Fight the Power.


unMuse said...

isn't product placement absolutely everywhere we go already? not that i don't get the "coolness factor" of what they found and how they fixed it - i really get that. what i don't understand is the surprise that certain vendors want [or are offered] very specific details about who/what/when/where/why their ad is placed. companies with simple web banners want to know information well beyond "who clicked x ad" like: the time a visitor stays on a page with their ad, how many pass-clicks and even there is a trend starting where developers use roll-over images or flash banners to identify how many users interact with the ad but don't click it.

when i worked in advertizing, we used every single legal way possible to find out ways to reach more consumers at every possible turn and how to best approach it. i guess my point is, i have always dug "mock ads" more in video games but i see real advertizements absolutely inevitable. We are a world of gamers, companies want to sell products, 3rd parties want to make money. It's the american way.

Satorical said...

Er, no. This isn't inevitable. If gamers reject games with heavy in-game ads, other possibilities exists for game tie-ins. Development and distribution sponsorships, for instance, are among the most underused ways of marketing to gamers.

Plus, context counts. I expect to be bombarded with ads in a sports game, but even in a shooter or other non-fantasy setting, I think it infringes on your ability to escape.

Consider this: one reason movie theaters are dying is because ads keep encroaching on the experience. It makes DVDs a better alternatives. One of the reasons TiVo caught on originally was the ability to circumvent ads. People have shown that they will pay a premium to avoid ads, or at least priorize media which has less in the way of ads. Also, the manner in which things are tracked matters; one of the reasons PeoplePC and the other companies which gave PCs away during the dotcom boom failed is because people deemed that it wasn't worth putting up with the ads, which were cookie/tracking-intensive.

I'm not saying it's unreasonable to advertise to gamers, but again, context matters. It's one thing to subsidize an independent development house through sponsorships, and quite another to feed Microsoft's greed through AAA titles which would have been developed anyway. You likely already know this, but M$ bought Massive about a month ago for a rumored $200-$400 million...

unMuse said...

Yeah, when I went to Massive's site, I saw that MS had bought them.

What it seems you fear is that the ads will encroach on game play. The screencaps from that game, and online games I have experienced with ads, don't overshadow the game. It's a piece of the game, sure, but it's not like there's a big Ronald McDoland popping out from behind various corners and scaring the crap out of you. Maybe that's just my nightmare, but it's ads in the backgrounds of games - billboards, posters, background objects, Not GTA: Pepsi-Cola.

Movie theaters aren't just dying because of ads or previews, it's mostly because of the "public environment" and convenience. In a time were we can have "theater quality" sound in the comforts of our own home, why go to a movie unless it's an IMAX anyway? I don't attend theaters because I despise the crowds, not because of the commericals at the beginning of the run. Mostly, it's about convenience and DVDs give you extra things that you don't get from the theater. Since the 2 industries aren't mutually exclusive [theaters and DVDs], movie makers have made it possible to make as much money as they can at both ends of the spectrum. No, theaters aren't getting the per capita attendance it was getting 10+ years ago but our society and technology has changed where movies don't have to be the first choice.

As far as tivo, sure, it gets away from the ads but it also records 2 things at once. I use my DVR religously. In fact, I have 2 - one in my living room and one in my bedroom. For me the draw is being able to record all of the things I like to watch. I only really "appreciate" the ability to fast forward when it's a cliff-hanger type of show and I don't want to wait 3 minutes to see what happens.

On the optimistic side of things, there is a possibility for reduced game prices and the ability for smaller companies to make money from discreet advertizing, allowing them to promote new projects as freeware.

I do agree games should be developed with the intent to advertize or a non-evasive advert patch, where it merely replaces posters, stores and products like the site showed. I doubt any game designer/developer will allow any ad to change the play or overall design of the game. I also doubt that any game company will release a product where ads where an "annoyance" and interfered with their enjoyment. Word travels fast and when your game can be downloaded through any P2P software, you don't want people to know, irrevocably, that your game completely blows. There's a line. To make money everyone has to respect it. At the beginning, I think a few will overstep it, but I don't doubt than in a few years seeing already created space sold in games [like shops, billboards and etc] will be as everyday as seeing mock ads like we do now.

The Kaiser said...

Personally I don't go to the movies in theaters any more because a DVD costs around $20, and two tickets to the movies costs around $20 (not counting overpriced popcorn etc). It just doesn't make much economic sense for me to drive to a theater, put up with all the teenagers, and shell out $20 when I could either:
A) own said movie in a few months for about $20 and watch it as many times as I want or
B) rent said movie for $4

So even though the ads are a little annoying, and the crowds are a little annoying, and the parking is a little annoying it's the money factor that keeps my ass out of the movie theater.

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