BEDA | Day 2 – In-game Advertising

I am disappoint, guys. Not a single comment on my April fools. :( Anyway. GW2 being a distraction from uni is something I’m sort of worried about, but not too much. I’m sure I’ll be able to pace myself. Giving up GW2 is one of the last things I’d do. Freddy and I had an interesting discussion earlier today about in-game advertisements. Advertisements are one section of marketing that I don’t hate with a burning passion. (Marketing being defined in the Dictionary of Joe as “The art of trying to sell people things that they do not want.”) Two main reasons for this: firstly, if you have a product, you need to let people know about it. This is the obvious point. Sure, some things manage really well on word of mouth alone, but I’m sure that’s greatly down to luck. The second point is the one I want to focus on: adverts allow awesome stuff to be free. YouTube, Facebook, and Google all get the vast majority of their money purely from adverts, in one form or another. Everyone moans about all the adverts plastered all over the Internet, but the fact is that without these adverts, you would have to pay for services like YouTube and Facebook in the same way you may pay for MMORPGs, else they wouldn’t exist. The only problem is the intrusiveness of the advert – everyone has their own limit. Google adverts are built in so well that they hardly look like adverts, while every so often YouTube will plonk an unskippable advert in front of the one you want. Personally I have no problem with YouTube doing this, but as Freddy said, forcing someone to watch it is unlikely to change their mind about clicking on it. Perhaps five seconds of unskippable play is justified so that the person watching is sure to know what it’s actually about, but much more than that and I don’t think a skip button would bring down ad revenue by much at all. I’d actually be really interestedĀ to find out how much research has been done into the psychology of modern advertising. One sort of advert that does frustrate me to no end is one with audio, excluding pre-video ads. Those ones that sit at the side of a site with a fly buzzing around, making your music sound more painful than if it were coming out of laptop speakers. Those. Annoy me. Before you tell me to go and get AdBlock, I do use it. I’m mainly drawing on what I found before I used it or when I swap over to my unmodified Firefox for a bit. This has been a lot longer than I planned, so let’s continue straight on to what I was going to talk about in the first place – in-game advertisements. Adverts built into games as part of the world is obviously a touchy subject. For example, in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 there is a level with a fast food restaurant kept aptly anonymous with the name… Burger Town. This is quite clearly a copy of Burger King, the developers trying to put a recognisable place in to give another small layer of realism. (The level in question was when Russia had invaded USA, and it was trying to make the player feel as though their world was crumbling around them – not some random town in Unspecifiedistan.) There are only two reasons that I can see for them not using Burger King’s actual logo: either it would make the player feel as though they’ve been cheated on because of product placement, or Burger King would sue them. The first issue I’m going to ignore because it’s retarded, but the second is interesting. It would be advertising for Burger King, would it not? I can only assume that Burger King would dislike this because they don’t want to be tied with a gameĀ about killing other people – and therein lies the problem. Even if the game is ideal to partner with the company being advertised, the game developers would still have to make sure they’re showing the company in exactly the way they want to be shown, which could seriously alter the game. For example, I’m sure Burger King would not want a scripted event to destroy their building. (I think it’s actually a different building that happens in, but it still works as an example.) The other option is to have adverts built in the same way they’re built into websites – stuck in some empty space and left there to be ignored. While it would take a while to get this to be accepted because of people’s huge dislike for adverts, I really don’t see why this wouldn’t work. Instead of continuing this argument that’s gone on about ten times as long as I thought it would, I’m just going to jump straight to the Achilles’ heel. While writing this I thought about how much money it could potentially make, and it’s not much. If 20% of players clicked on a pay-per-click advert and the advertisers paid 5p per click, the game could be 1p cheaper. That’s just pointless, and I’m sure 5p per click is an insanely high price. The debate about this going on inside my head has got to the point that I just have no idea any more. If anyone knows anything about this, feel free to say. I’m just going to stop now. :D   Here, have some of Katie Melua’s vastly superior earlier, jazzy/bluesy music.

4 thoughts on “BEDA | Day 2 – In-game Advertising

  1. Forgot about your blogging every day in april.
    Your april fools post did indeed fool me.

    As to advertising, I would like to briefly mention google’s recording your searches and such to give you more relivant advertising. in a sense this is good, since it means you’re trying to be sold things you do want. In another sense it’s confused and irritated me purely on a sort of “why did it think that?” level.
    one google search for courses in social care had me with youtube adverts to the open college for a week. (the social care thing I will actually blog about myself soon.)
    And there have been other examples, but I’m not going to start writing an essay.

    I agree with most everything you said, if people don’t like advertising then those people don’t see the big picture.

    1. The “why did you think of that” is always amusing, though. Amazon currently thinks I want some scales. I can only presume that it found a book of piano scales bought by someone who bought a book of sheet music I was looking at, and went from there.

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