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EA games to get dynamic advertising


Brandon H
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Nice to see EA spending its online resources on the really important stuff. From the AP:

 

The upcoming video game "Need for Speed Carbon" will have more than just gleaming sports cars and streets to race on: Drivers also will be speeding past real-time advertisements for upcoming films, automobiles and other products.

Like many other games, previous versions of "Need for Speed" had static ads and product placements that cannot be changed once the game was packaged and sold on store shelves.

But with "Need for Speed Carbon," available in late October, players with PCs connected to the Internet or using Microsoft Corp.'s Xbox Live service will see ads that change over time.

 

Now, if we're going to be treated to ever-changing online ads, can we at least get multiplay servers that work?

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To be clear, I don't have an issue with in-game advertising, so long as it "fits." It makes perfect sense to drive by a Best Buy store or a Carl's Jr. billboard in a racing game, and in some sense even makes the game more immersive. Ditto for running boards alongside virtual soccer pitches and scoreboard signs in Madden's football stadiums. (I don't want to see Capt. Mike R. Soft shilling silencers in GRAW, though.)

 

However, it is irksome that EA/Microsoft/whoever can figure out how to do this, when online matchmaking in popular titles like Burnout and BF2 remains broken months after release. It seems a terrible misallocation of resources and priorities.

 

I can see why Microsoft is pushing publishers to do this, however -- additional revenue stream that could even help alleviate losses incurred by making Xbox Live Gold a "free" service if the competition makes serious inroads in the online arena. All the same, I'm irked. So terribly irked.

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I would welcome this advertising. I have no issue with real time ads so long as they don't choke the gameplay or online play. Unfortunately I don't think EA can effective manage to balance good online play with this advertising given thier recent shotty track record.

I do wonder how this type of advertising will affect flow of game data, and I wonder how it will affect the consoles performance.

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Before we start slamming EA, let's start slamming Microsoft who is pushing this on publishers.

 

Pushing on Publishers?. Please, everyone involved wants a peice of the advertising $$$. Actindie's point is that EA and any other company looking for advertising revenues should make sure that they spend resources on getting their games to work before going after the advertising dollars. I'm not saying it's not possible to finish a game properly and make ad money but I can easily see gameplay taking the hit over advertising when resources are tight.

 

I envision some Burnout 5 Project Manager telling a lead programmer that he needs to pull some programmers from the multiplayer team to finish those interactive billboards before the big ad sales meeting with Coca Cola.

 

My Rant:

 

Fuck it, I will no longer buy an EA game unless the online component is proven to work. I'll never see the game and never see the advertising and if I do, I'll purposely not buy the advertised products I see in-game. You want me to be more accepting of in-game advertising, then get the Fucking game to work first. :furious

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I don't really see this as a major change to what EA is already doing with thier titles in terms of advertising. Thier games have always been advertising heavy to begin with (a good portion of EA's library are Sports titles afterall which lend themselves extremely well to advertising). Now those ads are going to be dynamic. With Massive supplying the actual tech here, I honestly don't think we'll see too many scenarios like the one you mentioned above Dave where developers take precious resources away from game development to focus on in-game advertising. The tech is there and available, they only need implement it in thier titles and move on. This is akin to middleware for in-game advertising from what I understand of it. I do think the possibility is there for mismanagement. That goes without saying, but I think risk is minimal.

 

More to the point though, even before Microsofts' purchase of Massive there were a slew of companies signing on to use the technology including top dogs like Ubisoft, Konami, and even Sony who featured Massive tech in games like The Matrix Online and Planetside. So I think the underlying point is that this is certainly /NOT/ an EA only issue and we'll see plenty of companies signing on to use this tech in the future.

 

Fuck it, I will no longer buy an EA game unless the online component is proven to work.

After last night Dave, you know I'm right there with you. I'm at a point where there is a definite wait and see attitude taken for any EA online product in the near future.

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It's a lot less invasive than other forms of advertising that are popular now a days. I don't mind it all too much, in fact I would rather see a "real" company billboard in a game than a fictitious one. Little things like that stand out to me, I understand that someone is making money off the sheep, as long as it's not overblown I see no problem with it.

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Yeah, placement is important. As Actinide mentioned earlier, as long as it "fits", it doesn't really bother me either. I full expect to see advertising in a sports game for example. Watch a sporting event on television and you'll be completely inundated in advertisements and sponsorship announcements. So when I see Dodge car advertisement in Fight Night Round 3 during a fight in the Dodge Arena, I don't even think twice about it ya know?

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Yeah, placement is important. As Actinide mentioned earlier, as long as it "fits", it doesn't really bother me either. I full expect to see advertising in a sports game for instance. Watch a sporting event on television for instance and your completely inundated in advertisements and sponsorship announcements. So when I see Dodge car advertisement in Fight Night Round 3 during a fight in the Dodge Arena, I don't even think twice about it ya know?

 

Makes the experience all that more realistic IMO.

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"Vivendi Sneaks Ad Server Onto SWAT 4"

 

How the SWAT4/Massive advertising worked, and how it sent how details on how long you viewed ads in-game back to Massive

 

“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."

 

REDMOND, Wash. — May 4, 2006 — Today at the seventh annual MSN? Strategic Account Summit, Microsoft Corp. announced it is acquiring Massive Inc., the New York-based creator of a world-leading network for video game advertising, in a move that will help deliver dynamic, relevant ads across Microsoft’s online services, starting with Xbox Live? and MSN Games. Massive’s solution depicts brands in various forms within the game — on soft-drink cans and pizza boxes, on billboards and posters, and in images on TV screens — where gamers would expect to see them in real life, adding realism to the overall gaming experience.

 

Activision and Nielsen team up for in-game advertising push

 

Massive Advertising Network Announces 10 Publisher Partners Will Bring 40 Titles to In-Game Ad Network This Year... Publisher partnerships to date include Ubisoft, Vivendi Universal Games,

Funcom, Legacy Interactive, Eidos, and Atari.

 

 

 

People are posting as if EA are the harbingers of doom with the technology. They're actually behind the curve.

 

I don't like it either, but unfortunately it's here & now. Microsoft are pushing their solution with Massive quite heavily to developers with regards to Live. Every big publisher is looking for their piece of the pie as mentioned above. It's another easy revenue stream for publishers that builds upon an existing product placement market.

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I'm torn on this but one positive outcome imay be to give publishers reason to support long-life titles after release if there are continuing revenue streams coming from it. It may even pursuade some *cough* EA *cough* to fix their online components since it is often the online portion of a game that gives it longevity.

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Also, for the sake of posterity, EA is not using Massive for thier in-game advertising. They using a very similiar piece of technology which you can read about it right here:

 

http://www.igaworldwide.com/

 

The first title to use this tech is Battlefield 2142 for those curious.

Just as a note, the AP article stated that Massice was the tech for 360, IGA for PC. Not that it makes any difference.

 

And I definitely do not want Coke paying for a sword for me. Nor do I want to have to spend Microsoft points for it in-game.

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“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."

 

As stated already here by many, I don't mind the advertising if it integrates well within a game and doesn't distract or detract from the game play, but the example above illustrates a form of invasive advertising that I feel would be simply too annoying.

Had my level 44 rouge in WOW been offered a large backpack sponsored by Taco Bell's new Spicy Chicken Crunchy Wrap Supreme, I would have seriously shoved the Wow CD into my paper shredder.

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There is a lot of humor to be had here. But if these revenue streams are coming from something or someone other than me (coca cola) for example, I am happy that the industry and habit that I love is being fueled with even more cash and by extension, success. All building toward making videogames the biggest most successful form of entertainment where ultimately the majority of congress are gamers. Long live consumables!

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With all the hullabaloo about government wiretapping, the Patriot Act, etc., it's amazing what we're willing to give away to companies and advertisers. Not only for free, but to have the privelage to pay $60 for a game, have them mine our information, then present ads to us....for our benefit. I have no idea why people are so worried about the goverment (not in this forum, just generally) when we share private information so freely on our own.

 

So when I see Dodge car advertisement in Fight Night Round 3 during a fight in the Dodge Arena, I don't even think twice about it ya know?

 

I'm the same way, and that bothers me. The convergence of media is simply staggering and there's very little we can do about it other than unplug, which just isn't feesible. As you can tell, I hate this development. The worst offense I can think of is landing for the first mission in GRAW, turning to my left, and seeing a giant Billboard for Dodge Ram...in English...in Mexico City...

 

The whole "dynamic" adverstising trend is really scary, IMHO, just like Google mail. But, hey, I'll keep playing.

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