Massive GM: advertising makes games better, when done right

Whenever there is a story written about ads in video games, gamers come out in droves to condemn the practice. They won't buy games with ads in them, they say. It's a terrible practice, we hear. Ars Technica caught up with the JJ Richards, GM of Massive, Microsoft's in-game advertising firm. His message: ads in games can enhance the experience, not hurt it

I'd have to say I agree with him, oh sure there have been games with advertisements in them that I'd totally detested, such as Anarchy Online, where it ruined the immersion totally for me, it's 20 thousand plus years in the future and I'm seeing an ad for a movie due out in a few months? Come off it.

But there have been games that have done it perfectly, my best example would be Saints Row 2, it has in-game ads on billboards that are actually based on real ads, and if anything they add to the game environment much more then any fake ad could, especially since they are region specific with ads that people in Australia/Victoria will recognise instantly such as the "If you drink and drive you're a bloody idiot" and other TAC slogans.

On the whole the whole in-game advertisements in that game were very suited to the environment where they were placed. I think it's a good sign that people like this guy recognise that gamers and tech users in general are fickle bastards (speaking for myself here as well) and that they, the advertisers, need to run the fine line between good ads and annoying ads that we take note of just so we can avoid the product out of spite.

I know I've done that in the past, purposely avoided a product because the ad campaign was so fucking annoying and intrusive.

I don't have any moral objection to ads in game I purchased if it fits in with the overall feel of the game, but heaven help you if you break my immersion with some shitty jeans ad, I'll cut your balls off and feed them too you.


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