Is the future sponsored?

So the answers are in on last week’s question at Gamasutra about in-game advertising. I have to say, this ‘question of the week’ initiative is great! It’s wonderful reading what those working in the industry think on such matters!
Nothing really suprised me, though! Most agree that in-game advertising is going to grow but are weary of the consequences and warn that gamers might repel.
Lately I’ve had an amusing time in my head thinking up wacky ideas for advertising and gameplay in sci-fi and D&D worlds. Yes…seriously….once again I’ve found a past time that just makes me break down in cramps of laughter in the middle of the street!

Of all the responses, I have to say I enjoyed Jonathan Hicks’ (Novalogic) the most:

  • “Current business models used by film and radio will, I expect, be the initial push for in game advertising. However, most gamers, including myself, would find these blatant advertising attempts in a game offensive and pretty cheesy. The best models that I imagine will arise will be a good mixture of product to game ambience and environment. Examples are advertisements like car company related ads on the walls of the tracks and on the cars in racing games, hip hop clothing and funky sunglasses for titles like Grand Theft Auto…games that are sci-fi-based might use advertising from companies that want to make a statement that they will be successful in the future that these sci-fi titles represent. “

I couldn’t agree more! There’s a way to do this and there’s a way not to do this! I think advertising companies should employ game designers or at least gamers who know what this is all about. And I honestly think that the way to go is to integrate into the game play! And this doesn’t have to be the same awfullness that we encounter on our tv’s…this can be done with class and imagination! Don’t invade the game space, just join it! I’m not making myself clear here, am I? I’m saying that advertisers should work with game designers on creating an in-game product! We can’t sell-out like television did, but let’s face it…that advertising money would be great for the industry…specially MMOs that have consistant maintenance and customer support to take care of…not to mention upgrades. It all becomes too expensive for developers and publishers.

Another thought I’ve had, which is probably incredibly ludicrous, but why are there no entertainment centers in game? I mean…wouldn’t it be great to go with your WoW friends and watch WoW Machinima together? An entrance fee and regular shows. Save you the tedious task of downloading and, I don’t know…wouldn’t it enhance the community spirit if you can watch a movie in character with your in-game friends? And well…if that’s popular…you might wanna think about other stuff to show and maybe a little advertisements can be posted within these entertainment centers?

I’m just letting my thoughts drift here…..which I think exemplifies that the possibilities are endless. I’m not necessarily for in-game advertising but I refuse to be against it as well. Gamers should be able to purchase games without being terrified of what advertisements they’re paying for. The enjoyment of the game should be preserved at all costs! But there’s really a lot of fun that can be had with advertising as well! So when you see me all by myself in hysterics…you’ll know that I just came up with another idea!!! ;)

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