Adverts in Games: A Slippery Slope

Adverts in Games: A Slippery Slope

My first reaction to the news that Microsoft were experimenting with in-game adverts for free-to-play titles was a resounding meh. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not thrilled, but come on. They won’t be the first ones, and they won’t be the last.

Let’s face it, advertising is pretty sparse within the world of video games. If the people behind television had been in charge of the gaming industry, there’d have been banner ads flooding the lower third of every title the second consoles connected to the internet. The fact that we’re in 2022 having this conversation as a “what if” is incredible.

But a story from Business Insider hints that advertising in-game could become a thing in the very near future – as early as the third quarter this year.

Billboards with real products would not be massively jarring. Hell, in-game advertising on radio stations or on television sets wouldn’t be so annoying to draw me out of most titles, so long as the adverts were suited to those worlds.

And therein lies the problem. Accept dollar one, and the floodgates open. This is a slippery slope actually worth worrying about.
Halo Infinite – Brought To You By Hyundai

So, let’s get through the usual nonsense first. Games development is hard and costly. People don’t buy games like they used to. Inflation means a $60 game in 2010 is worth more than a $60 game today. You’ve heard the complaints from publisher, so you know all this by heart.

Being against alternative methods of monetization is ridiculous. That’s especially true today, when DLC has been ingrained in our titles for so long. Whether you think it’s as big an issue as is made out or not, the truth is that the issue exists.

This move by Microsoft is the latest attempt to fix this problem. And I have no massive issue with it.

Advertising isn’t like DLC or even loot boxes. It is self-feeding. The more people accept, the more executives will sell. A Billboard, like the one above, might suit one game. But how long before it appears somewhere less suitable? How long before you have to watch adverts as games load? How long before you have to teabag an AI to get rid of a pop-up?
Adverts and Gaming

This is a slippery slope that becomes slippier the more you ride. And it is built on opinions like my original one – “this does not bother me”. I am not insulted by a car commercial in Fortnite. I’m not shocked by an energy drink appearing in a poster in Halo. So long as it is peripheral. Why should I be upset?

But once the peripheral is done, the adverts begin to move centre screen. If Microsoft – or anybody else once the floodgates have opened – can sell virtual billboard space, they can control your ability to look away. If they can do it in a free-to-play game, they can bring it to a single player title. Will they? Probably not. Will someone else? Definitely.

And that’s just one concern of many. Bring VR into the conversation and suddenly you realise why this might be a bigger issue now. Imagine that – VR worlds with real advertising, swapped out with a Google-like adspace manager. I think I just heard a marketing manager orgasm.

Like all slippery slope arguments, this one is flawed. It’s not the equivalent of “If you subscribe to Game Pass, all single player games will die and the cost will be as much as your rent,” but it’s still flawed. All of this horror exists purely inside of my head.

But on this issue, we can’t afford to give them an inch, else there will certainly be advertising for miles.

Soure: https://www.gamesreviews.com/articles/04/adverts-in-games-a-slippery-slope/

My first reaction to the news that Microsoft were experimenting with in-game adverts for free-to-play titles was a resounding meh. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not thrilled, but come on. They won’t be the first ones, and they won’t be the last. Let’s face it, advertising is pretty sparse within…

My first reaction to the news that Microsoft were experimenting with in-game adverts for free-to-play titles was a resounding meh. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not thrilled, but come on. They won’t be the first ones, and they won’t be the last. Let’s face it, advertising is pretty sparse within…

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