Computers, Privacy & the Constitution
-- RobertW - 28 Apr 2008

Video Games as Advertisers' Haven

Video game advertising is a developing market with an audience that grows by the gamer. This market is unlike other advertising markets in that there is a split in the audience as to whether these ads are welcome or simply interruptive of the game. Many welcome advertisements in genres such as sports and racing games, in which an ad-filled environment in the video game (however unfortunately) mirrors that of the real life environment being mimicked. Others are wary of advertisements' interrupting gameplay. Players don't want to have wait for Lara Croft to finish her Coke before continuing the next mission. By the same token, some players would like to be pitched popular real-life brands during the Superbowl at the conclusion of their season on Madden 2008. "Commercials' invading video games" officially meets "commercials are reality." No matter what the general or majority sentiment, however, the result is that gameplayers, like the audiences of many other media outlets, are at the absolute mercy of the content provider and advertiser. The fact that video gamers are split on the subject will give advertisers a greater opportunity than they have in other forms of media (e.g. the internet) to push ads relentlessly. There will be no "spam blockers for video games" because there will always be too large a contingent favoring commercials for the reality factor. Also helping advertisers is the fact that the gaming system itself is, to the majority, a black box with inaccessible copyright-protected software This situation can lead to either of two circumstances. The first of which involves gamers' reacting as have internet users, developing softwares or similar mechanisms to block unwanted ads. As described before, however, the video game is to a higher extent a black box to current users than are the computer and the internet. Likewise, Microsoft has invested in the failure of this outcome. In May, 2006, Microsoft purchased Massive, Inc., a 60-employee video game advertising company with $7 million in per annum income, for an estimate $200 million. There is no way Microsoft is ever going to let you block its' ads on A video game manufacturer's purchasing an advertising company for $200 million likewise indicates that a drop in video game advertisements is nowhere in site. This is not like the internet industry in which more ads allows for the existence of more websites. This is not to say that web content could not exist without ads, but more to take the position that as long as there are advertisers looking to get products in front of more eyes, there will be available fora for potential content providers. (no ads would mean only good content would survive, yes, but the argument I make concerns quantity, not quality) The Earthlink/PeoplePC/RoadRunner business model will also not apply. In those contexts, a business (1) offers internet for free; (2) recruits advertising revenue based on the eyes it has; (3) offers users an ad-free service for a price. Video gamers are already paying $60 a pop. This was the first year in which EA Sports put advertisements in its Madden football game (players agree that this was all that changes about the game, a necessary consequence since EA sports has an exclusive agreement with the NFL for licensing until at least 2011) yet the game outpriced and outsold its' predecessors. Why drop the price? Some posit that the efforts of advertisers will ultimately fail into an ad-free-content world, when users (internet, video game, TV, etc) get so tired of ads that they either find a complete block or stop using the media altogether. There are many problems with this theory however, especially in the case of video games. This media has a sort of "only game in town" aspect, in the fact that each game is so unique. Players of popular games such as Halo will not stop playing simply because the vehicles don Pontiac Branding, because loading times are extended to fit GM commercials, or because of advertising on uniforms. It is still Halo; they will grit teeth and bare it because there is only one Halo. Advertisers and game manufacturers thus have unchecked power to throw ads at gamers. As gamers have no way out, advertisers will do this to the extent that the game is still playable -- an assessment that, as made by the advertisers and revenue-collecting game manufacturers, will probably include slightly more ads than gamers would consider "still playable." Sort of like how certain internet pages are unreadable with

Move from “need advertisement revenue to get content out,” to advertisements covering and ruining the content that we want to get out. The consistent race against ads, why both sides' interests will not lead to "no more ads" but instead lead to a consistent race against ads. - Attack the “advertise to the extreme” business model - The ads on the internet - Pay-per-spam blockers Why isn’t there a market for spamblockers o Spamblocking technology such as DVR • Sense that we are doing something wrong in blocking commercials • Make this part short • Make the comparison to spam blockers • Commercials on TV as the norm, vs. the internet commercial as a new push that needs to be stopped - Why the ad revolution will absolutely fail o Will I have to buy a new version of Madden, or will the annoyance at Madden reduce sales o The reason why they can put ads in madden and in certain places on the internet, is because people are so accustomed or reliant upon these things that it will take a lot to stop them • There is a certain wall that ads must climb before people outright stop coming, buying • At the same time, does this wall get shorter and shorter or longer and longer with spamblocker technology such as • Is there going to be reciprocal technology to make us watch ads • I can walk out of the movie theater, I cannot skip the 15 second ad before every review I read on and • I understand they have to get their money • What are the movies doing right that these companies are doing wrong o Scarcity? o I don’t even watch TV in real time much because I can save time by watching the same program, without commercials, o o Laziness • It’s not a problem o Product placement as replacing ads. • The best advertisement is a good product • Don’t let the worst advertisement turus off of the best product • Will it reach the point that ads will appear before all youtube clips • XM Radio vs regular radio. Want it without ads, pay us more then. Why, so the rich can get richer? • Even internet radio, Pandora, can only skip so many songs per hour

The new commerce involves offering a product for free, with advertisements, waiting until people are sufficiently pissed off for having to watch those ads, and then offering the same product for a price. This is what our commerce has come to

We don’t watch commercial’s any more dude, we have DVR. Our DVR is full. We might need to get a bigger one, that can hold more shows so that we can watch even more shows with even less commercials.

More recently, I was shocked to see advertisements now in video games; specifically, EA Sports’ John Madden Football 2008 (Madden 08). To put things into context, one has to first under stand the common young (24 is almost young) black male’s relationship to the Madden football games. A friend recently told me that black men were programmed to love Madden games. How did he figure? He didn’t quite know, but he didn’t know any black males who did not like Madden or brag about their skills in the game. I have had Madden games dating back to, at latest, 1992. Many others agree that Madden is the one and only football video game. As the years have gone by, I have noticed the addition of advertisements in the game (and other sports games) and have appreciated them for making the game more realistic. I thought this ‘reality factor’ was the purpose for which they were put in the game. Recently, however, I watched friends play the most recent Madden game, and noticed that the ads had become excessive and imposing, interfering with my enjoyment of the game. Apparently there is a huge market for video game advertisement, led by none other than Microsoft, @ So the game changes from me playing the game to my playing the game, and their figuring how to make me watch ads. How Massive vows to not put ads in the way of the consumers. This is obviously not for the enjoyment of the consumer, but because the enjoyment of the consumer is what will put dollars in the content provider’s, and subsequently Massive’s pocket. There is nothing stopping EA from now deciding that since there is no more ‘football video game’ market to compete for, it is now OK to insert ads to the extreme that the game is still playable. That limit for the provider will always include slightly more ads than the player’s - this is a scarcity argument – about when the rest all goes away, it is ok to do what you want - the rest has not all gone away on the internet o although, there is no ad-less internet o there is only one internet o so in that sense there is only one o but we have offerings such as spam blockers, and DVR o changing ads are kind of cool o Will it progress to interfering with gameplay? They did say the ads were messing up their flow. People playing Skate may fuck up tricks because can’t see the course for the ads. EA sports will then make sure the ads are not in front of the tricks. Will it become a completely ad-crowded environment outside of the tricks?

What will change? With Microsoft making cash off of every ad in Madden and the other games, we imagine Sony and Nintendo are left with a difficult choice. Do they allow the ads on their console and put a bunch of cash in Microsoft's already considerable war chest? Or do they not allow the ads and walk away with nothing? If you're a conspiracy theorist, now would be a wonderful time to point out that the news comes almost exactly one week after Microsoft's Peter Moore moved to EA Sports, just in time for their companies to make sweet love and sweeter cash while Sony and Nintendo walk around the field stapling classified ads that they cut out of the newspaper to stadium walls. You know, just saying.

The conclusion of this ordeal will ultimately depend on which side takes the reigns in affecting change. The listeners may stand up in various ways – using technology and other means to dodge advertisements until they are no longer cost effective for the advertiser. To the contrary, advertisers and content providers, dependent upon advertiser income, will find new ways to get around these technologies to keep the audience’s eyes on the cash-producing prize. It seems currently that both of these parties have both of these powers. The conclusion may therefore be the race. The end of it is us against them. Society’s demand for new content will never decrease, as won’t content-providers’ need to pay the bills. Our coexistence will therefore be that race. - this is not to say that there will not be content without ads - I think this is a better characterization of the problem o Tie to this better how those two truths make the third possible: one side, one side → the eternal race. o Talk about a market for spam blockers o But in any case, costs would drop to zero, so may not be worth mentioning - The idea that there is one big media, in the sense that there is the content provider, and the listener o They will align o Masive will work in yet another industry than video games o So we will have to change, and figure out some way to block the ads • Hacks, and such • Videogames as a media that doesn’t really require such active blocking by the audience. • The ad is messing up the environment, a small part of the game, instead of impeding the game • Stil l there • And sometimes your time is wasted • Loading – ad • Am I waiting so long for the loading, or the ad - "We would love to do Nintendo and PlayStation? , but they control the platform, they control the ecosystem and they have to decide what to allow or not. It's not something that's in our control," Van Arsdale said. - Comment that this makes it more real o At o lakersin2025 o May 5th 2006 o 2:14AM o That's cool. I like to see to pro ads in games because it makes it more real. We are pounded by ads in real life so make it real in games too. I'd rather have a home town team get the revenue instead of the visitors (sony). BTW I'm so pissed the LAKERS just blew the lead and lost in OT. (of topic). Yippy for Halo 3 next w o Compare the generic name ads for games of yore vs. real ads for real current shit • It might be kind of hot • Ideas of ad free games • Something with zero • Microsoft paid 200-400 million not to be the best game out, but to get in on the ground floor advertising to gamers. • This is a situation in which the content was completely fine before the ads, now things are in jeopardy • Someone suggesting that ads will lower prices of games? • Yeah, right. DO you think that Microsoft spent 200-400 million to lower prices? - Advertising as allowing too much content to exist, not “advertising as a necessity to exist” o Currently, as a content provider, you can exist if you’re kind of good, and willing to put up another company’s ads o Without ads, you could only exist if you were good - People acknowledge that madden sucks, EA has bought the right not to have to improve it, and people will still buy it every year at increasing rates. Where is the gap? o Someone proposd the question about whether it is worth it to get ads out of video games via not buying video games at all. o o you’ve got mail – the movie – as an aol-centered and directed movie produced by AOL owner Warner Brothers o I just hope the video game industry is savvy enough to combat it o Interesting to see how even within the gaming context (even within certain games) they will target owners • Someone who plays their music loud gets ads for speakers, someone who likes the sound of the car gets ads for louder-type real-car exhaust systems • Second Life – and ads for things to buy with your second life person in the game • CastAway? as a commercial for fed ex and Wilson • How profitable it might be to come up with a movie, starring an object (a volleyball) for instance, and allow companies to compete for that placement • Happening • - Money to line the pockets of already wealthy businessmen/women, who have no say, nor concern, over the actual production of the game - WE PAY TO PLAY THESE GAMES


Webs Webs

r2 - 29 Apr 2008 - 03:19:56 - RobertW
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