I’m desperately trying to seize upon (in the context of gaming, I hasten to add) a concept more despicable than in-game advertising. I’ll admit – so far, I’m struggling. The very notion of some sleazy, irresponsible advertising executive trying to conceive ways to get my games drunk on cheap, fortified wine only to impregnate them with their illegitimate ‘messages’ as a way to convince me to spend even more hard-earned cash on the wares they peddle sickens me. Even the language they use to promote why in-game advertising is the must-have for any serious brand is detestable – seriously, ‘eyeball hours’? It’s as if time functions differently for our ocular organs, perhaps explaining why they never grow.
However, one cannot argue with the figures – according to this article, in-game advertising is big business, and companies like this spend an awful lot of money in their nefarious attempts to convince other companies to spend even more money on ruining my gaming experience with their less-than subliminal advertising filth. Perhaps what is equally troubling are the predictions of growth for the industry; “Growth in the consumer and video game industry is expected to continue. In the current calendar year, the number of games with in-game advertising will likely double. The report says approximately 200 titles with in-game advertising units will be released. Titles will be spread across all major video game consoles and the PC.” I feel like I need to take a shower after reading these figures.
According to this article, a majority of gamers actually think that increased presence of advertisements in games does little to enhance the ‘realism’ of the title in question – yet this worrying trend of growth is expected to continue. Whilst accurate data has been difficult to find, I’d be interested to hear more of how developers and even their evil advertising executive cohorts go about gathering opinion on their plans regarding in-game advertising, as in this article the focus seems to be on what the advertiser thinks, not the gamer – or consumer, to use their lingo. If we are to ever infiltrate their fortress and destroy their evil brainwashing machinery, we must look, act and sound like them, no matter how long the bitter taste of their buzzwords may linger in our mouths.
You can turn your television off, you can filter your email and block your pop-ups, but ignoring in-game ads is a feat of Herculean proportions and looks set to become even harder, given their sinister plans. What do you guys think – do in-game advertisements enhance a game’s realism? Or are we merely being manipulated in not-so new and not-terribly inventive ways into spending even more money on crap we don’t need?