Friday, May 18, 2007

The Ads Are Coming!

There's basically two models for the acquisition of 'content' (roll with me here). Either you pay up front (movie theater, HBO, a book) or you pay through your attention span via advertising (watch 9 minutes of ads for every 30 minutes of whatever it is they put on television these days).

For video games, there may be a third way: pay for the content up front, and then pay again through your attention span. How tidy (profit, that is).

Valve is bringing in-game advertising to Counterstrike (via Eurogamer - pics here). Even more insidious, Google will profile players in virtual worlds (article about patent application from ITWire) with the intent of targeting ads to specific demographics. Potentially you buy a game at retail, pay a subscription to play it monthly, and have to suffer through ads for the pleasure (not sure if they will be in-game, or during login screen, etc.).

I've posted about this before. I think Penny Arcade sums it up nicely.

This is not part of the compact we've had with media companies. Personally I think there needs to be a revolt. Gamers should not stand for having to pay twice. If you pay up front, you're free to play after that. If you pay via advertising, the content should be free. If the game companies can't make enough money with $50 and $60 games then they are in the wrong business (and if it is solely for greed - as I suspect - then we should stop buying from developers and publishers that support in-game advertising).

From the CS-Nation interview with Doug Lombardi:
CS-Nation: Will the ads be optional on the part of server owners or players?
Doug Lombardi: The ads will not be optional.
So even though player-run servers are actually running the games for the enjoyment of player (and paying the bandwidth costs, etc.) server admins have no choice.

Gamers need rights. If virtual worlds are to become important in the future, we cannot allow them to be created and controlled solely by media companies. A gamers bill of rights?


Overman said...

Would be interesting if the revolt ended up getting staged within the virtual environment itself, a Counterstrike revolutionary guild led by hackers and a digital Bansky or two.

The dual and triple pay has bugged me since it started; I've been quietly rebelling against it for years by not opening my wallet... but it's not nearly as exciting as it would be to do the Tyler Durden thing from within, LOL.

bllius said...

Hmmm...this gives me an idea...

3dfilmmaker said...

I can't begin to think about this. All my ad anger is still tied up in commercials before movies. Thats when the revolt should have started.


bllius said...

And product placement in movies and TV shows. Gotta love it.

Ross Scott said...

I don't mind product placement at all, since it can be done seamlessly and not necessarily detract from the environment, but these couldn't be much more hideous, it totally kills any atmosphere the level might have had. It wouldn't surprise me if the warez servers see a rise in traffic after this.