Updated Mon, Jan 05, 2009 by Methost
There's no easy way to say this… ingame ads are here and they're only going to get more prevalent. There are racing games that contextually place billboard ads according to the players' web traffic habits, there are plans to make interactive items ingame, like a can of Sprite on a table that a player can "drink". Some ingame art like graffiti can change according to advertisers demands. Even now, Google is courting with companies like AdScape Media to put their own brand of personalized, customized and targeted advertisements inside our games. I have seen the future and it is full of ads.
The good news is that we can trust the companies, the advertisers, the marketers and the game companies to provide us with ingame ads that will enhance our online gaming experience. We can certainly "trust" them… after all, with millions of people paying to play MMORPG's, none of these benevolent entities would ever try to give us a hard sell in a game where the point is to escape the real world for a little while and have some fun. Here are some of the ways that they're going to give us ingame ads.
Player housing comes at a price to players. There
is usually a resource cost, there's a
maintenance fee and, of course, you have to decorate it. However,
there are times when the financially
strapped player falls behind on a housing payment. Here's
when you get an ingame email from your
house reminding you to update your maintenance fee, and while you're at
wont you consider re-financing your own home?
CheapAssMortgages.com has the lowest rates and financing for
anyone. Bad Credit? No Credit?
No Problem, just talk to Glenfindel in Bree and they'll take
personal information and a representative will contact you shortly.
Offline Advertising from Mountain Stream Soda
Do the stream! Buy Mountain Stream Soda and look under the cap, underneath it will be a promotional code that you enter into a website. Once you sign up, giving them your name, address, blood type, hair color, marital status and income, they'll allow you to redeem points from the promotional code to get cool ingame prizes. For 1000 points, you can get the cape of Xtreme weapon skill, for 10,000 points, you will get the Helm of Awesome Mountain and for 100,000 points, you can redeem your points for the Ring of Xtreme Awesomeness. You might need it along with some insulin for all the sugar you just consumed.
After a hard night of fighting off the minions of Sauron, you notice that it's 3:30 AM and you have to start an essay on interpersonal social dynamics in 17th century Europe. So, ready to finally hit the books, you click "exit game". The game fades into an interactive ad for Starbucks coffee, you click "no thanks". The next ad comes in for a sleep aid that may or may not be habit forming, it hasn't quite been approved by the FDA yet, but they assure you, it's herbal, you click "no thanks". The third ad is for the University of Phoenix, since you like this game so much, wouldn't you like a degree in criminal justice? Again, you click "no thanks". The last ad is for Starbucks again… "urge to kill rising…"
As I wander through the old forests, I stumble upon a quest giver… She's scantily clad and alone in her make-shift camp. Naturally, I go up to her and see what quest she's handing out. She asks me to bring back 4 flowers, 7 tree barks and a bear spleen and return to her. Dutifully, I do so and give her the components. She then asks me to find some purified water from the well spring. Slightly irritated that the quest isn't over, I fight through some wild animals and collect some purified water. She thanks me and rather than giving me experience points, the game sends an e-coupon to my account with a 10% discount coupon on some of the cheapest herbal enhancements!
Procto & Gimble's Hydrogen Peroxide
The fight with the troll shaman was a particularly nasty fight. In fact, one of its attacks put a permanent DOT on me. That bastard. Fortunately, as part of a random event, I get a pop-up message saying that I can find Procto & Gimble's Hydrogen Peroxide at the marketplace in Rivendell. Happily, I wander back up to Rivendell and buy some Procto & Gimble's Hydrogen Peroxide and apply it to my wounds. Yay!! No more DOT! I'm so happy with its success, that I think I'm going to the nearest pharmacy and buying some of the real stuff to help the scrapes incurred from punching my monitor.
Uber Computer RAM and Hardware Supplies
I love the Shire, I try to visit it as often as I can. Unfortunately, tonight there's a player event and I start lagging heavily. The lag is so bad with all the people there that the game starts looking like a PowerPoint presentation. *bing* Oh sweet, a friend just sent me some of the armor I ordered. I slowly make it to a mailbox and open it up for my mail. Apparently, Uber Computer Ram and Hardware Supplies detected my lag and sent me a message letting me know that if I buy the latest video card and memory at low low prices, I wont suffer from as much lag in the future. Thanks Uber Computer Ram and Hardware Supplies, you saved my game!
Google AdWords for In Game Chat
>Hey Methost, how have you been?
>Not bad Agon… you?
>What have you been up to?
>Just about to go to the Barrow Downs
--> To find the best LOTRO merchandise, visit LotroSwag.com.
>Nice! Methost… you already have a group going with you, or are you looking for help?
--> Need help with taxes? Visit H&R Block.com.
>Actually, we could use a hunter in the group.
--> Hunter Engineering, the best automotive equipment around.
>Sweet Methost, I just need to collect my new armor, I just leveled and I'll be there in 5 shakes.
--> McDonald's shakes, take our survey and get one free.
>Hey, do you know that guy, l33tdude? He's really pissing me off… he's causing problems here in the Barrows.
--> Speak L33T, with our online courses, impress your friends and meet girls.
>Not really, but I do think I have him on my ignore list… he's definitely an ass though.
--> Text ASS to us on your mobile phone, meet singles in your area.
>Sorry Agon, I gotta go, I ate at the olive garden and I think I'm getting sick,
--> When you're here, you're family, get a free olive garden meal.
>Take care Methost, see you soon
Nike Swoosh Capes:
Players! If you've been wanting that extra boost of speed and endurance, look no further than the Nike Swoosh Cape. They add +15 to your base speed to you and your mount. Just wear your cape and you'll get the benefit. As an added benefit, a Nike representative will be on each server to pick one person a day to award a prize to who wears the cape in public.
So, now you know that the companies, the advertisers, the marketers, the distributors and the game companies all have your best interests at heart, don't worry. Even though ingame ads are inevitable, it doesn't mean that you wont benefit from them. As you can see through these examples, there will be no possibility of targeted ingame ads to bring you out of immersion. They'll all be contextual, relevant and adding to your ingame experience. The benefit will be it will cost us less to produce the game… but you'll still have to buy the game and you'll still have to subscribe… don't worry, you'll benefit in the long run.