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Google Looking to Join In-Game Ad Arena 52

Posted by Zonk
from the soon-to-be-seen-outside-the-thunderbrew-distillery dept.
njkid1 writes "As part of a plan to expand its advertising efforts to all forms of media, it would appear that Google is actively seeking to get involved in the in-game ad business. A Wall Street Journal report states that the company is in talks to acquire Adscape Media. From the article: 'If Google does purchase Adscape, it would give the web company an opportunity to leverage a whole other medium, one that Google has apparently been interested in for some time now ... Interestingly, Google had apparently considered an acquisition of in-game ad firm Massive Inc. last year before Microsoft came along and bought Massive for around $200 million. The Journal report suggests that an acquisition of Adscape would only fuel the long-standing competition between Microsoft and Google, as Google could potentially form an alliance with Microsoft's video game rival Sony.'"
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Google Looking to Join In-Game Ad Arena

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  • No problem here (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ThinkWeak (958195) on Monday January 22, 2007 @01:00PM (#17711900)
    As long as it results in my games costing $20.00 less or so, I'm all for it. Put up a Subway poster on the wall in my next Gears of War game. Have flashing billboards with the new Tag bodyspray. Whatever you want. Just pass the savings along to the consumer. That's all I ask.
    • Re:No problem here (Score:5, Insightful)

      by d3ac0n (715594) on Monday January 22, 2007 @01:11PM (#17712064)
      You'll never get it. This is the "Big Lie (tm)" that all the in-game ad pushers have been selling. The ads do not, and will not EVER make your games cheaper. SOE has been pushing in-game ads for over a year now on many of it's games. Guess what? The Subscription prices have NOT COME DOWN! The in-game ads are NOT to make the game cheaper for gamers. They are there to provide on-going profit margins for game manufacturers. The profits aren't coming back to the consumers, they are going into the game company coffers!

      Now, once those extra profits are there, we may see an improvement in development as they re-invest in staff, but there isn't any way to predict when or where that will happen. More likely what we will see is a drop in ad-inappropriate games.

      Let's face it. Ads are only tolerated by the gaming community in games where they "fit" (Coke and Pepsi machines in CS, Billboards in racing games, Etc.) Where the heck would ad billboards "fit" into say, Eve-Online or WOW? They won't. And over time, as those particular titles age and become less popular, you will see a reluctance on the part of game companies to take a risk on an ad-inappropriate game, as they won't have that reliable income stream potential.

      Say hello to ads, say goodbye to creative gaming.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Snosty (210966)
        Your cynicism is partially justified, but not fully. In economics there exists a concept called "normal profit" the gist of which I'm not going to explain but you need to look up. In short if profits from in-game ads start driving total profit of the game company up to an attractive level new competitors will be drawn into this industry and competition will drive prices down. This is a pretty fundamental concept of supply and demand and would work wonderfully in this situation...

        BUT

        The gamer's problem, h
        • if profits from in-game ads start driving total profit of the game company up to an attractive level new competitors will be drawn into this industry and competition will drive prices down. This is a pretty fundamental concept of supply and demand and would work wonderfully in this situation

          Entry barriers may prevent new competitors from starting production if it requires products or services from a monopolist or oligopolist, such as the holder of patents on in-game advertising business methods or (unless HTPC gaming picks up momentum) the holder of trade secrets on the authentication keys used to get software to load on set-top gaming machines.

          The gamer's problem, however, is going to be that they really don't care about the subscription price enough that they'd be willing to play something other than their favourite game because the subscription price is higher than a competing game they don't enjoy as much. In this case they're pretty much stuck. They have the ability to vote with their dollars but they won't. No sympathy from me.

          For those playing at home: This market situation, where some buyers prefer a given service over its inexact substitute that may have a lower pr

      • by Evro (18923)

        SOE has been pushing in-game ads for over a year now on many of it's games. Guess what? The Subscription prices have NOT COME DOWN! The in-game ads are NOT to make the game cheaper for gamers. They are there to provide on-going profit margins for game manufacturers. The profits aren't coming back to the consumers, they are going into the game company coffers!

        I'd say this holds true for all industries, and not even limited to advertising. Companies want to make more money any way they can, and this is NEVER passed on to the consumer. If Gap sells a shirt for $15 that it costs them $4 to produce, and they find a new supplier that can sell them the same shirt for $1, are they going to lower the price of the shirt to $14, or pocket the extra dollar? They'd laugh at the idea.

  • Most likely... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by lanceleader (1050398) on Monday January 22, 2007 @01:04PM (#17711960)
    Gamers will not care if there are in games ads as long as they are not forced to watch the ads.
    • by d3ac0n (715594)
      Except that you are "forced" to watch the ads, in that they become a part of the game textures. In other words, unless you are closing your eyes every 10 seconds, you can't help BUT see an ad.

      Now, you aren't "forced" to watch the ads in the sense that you have to sit through a commercial while waiting for a level to load, or during game startup. But who is to say that won't happen in the future? The game companies understand the old adage about boiling a frog. They know that if they go full bore with s
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  • I bet we'll start seeing 'BUY YOUR INGAME CASH HERE!' adverts like we see on many how-to sites for some of the more popular MMOs (namely WoW [worldofwarcraft.com] and my favourite, Anarchy Online [anarchy-online.com]).
  • by 1sockchuck (826398) on Monday January 22, 2007 @01:09PM (#17712042) Homepage
    You can advertise whatever you want in Google's online games, so long as its all-text ad with a 35-character headline, two 35-character lines, and a link.
  • I equate this to the gazillion commercials before movies start. The theaters saw it as a way to increase revenue and the consumer is still paying a premium for tickets. It all boils down to the amount of saturation the market will bear and has nothing to do with lower game costs.

    I applaud Anarchy Online for their Ad based business model. In exchange, they actually give you some value. So far, all other games want premium dollars for the game, then still want to show you ads. Ala Battlefield 2142. No thanks!
  • Games that are full of ad's go down in price.

    We all know that is not going to happen, the Gaming industry will claim it's offsetting other rising costs, just like how the movie industry is claiming the same for in movie placement..

    If I have to go to a Vault energy drink vending machine in Ut2007 to power up during battle, that will really affect gameplay.

    • In 200's "Parasite Eve II," a survival horror game from Square for PS1, an essential recovery item (restores a ton of HP and MP) is a can of Coke from a Coke machine. It's a jarring mood-killer in what was otherwise a very atmospheric and immersive game.

      Don't get me wrong, one could conceivably handle Coke machines as part of the urban landscape. However, when an overhyped soft drink is made out to be something that can majorly regenerate your character's life and magic, and when vanquished monsters star
      • Hmm... you know, Coca-Cola was an essential recovery item in Infocom's The Lurking Horror, but it wasn't a mood killer. Mainly because you were a college student pulling an all-nighter and the Coke was to keep you awake. (If you didn't stay awake, you suffered a grisly demise.)

        Of course, in this case I'm pretty sure it wasn't product placement... though now I wonder...

        • by tepples (727027)

          the Coke was to keep you awake. (If you didn't stay awake, you suffered a grisly demise.)

          Of course, in this case I'm pretty sure it wasn't product placement

          Then why not put in Mountain Dew, which has more caffeine per can?

  • by shirizaki (994008) on Monday January 22, 2007 @01:20PM (#17712184)
    *hiding behind a piece of wall, reloading*
    Need ammo? Go to ammosuppliers.com! Save 20%

    *breaking intoa bank*
    "Need better security? Call 1-800-xxx-xxxx!

  • The targeting will be awesome.

    Just imagine sitting behind a box with a sniper rifle in CS and seeing "HI I see you are camping, maybe you would like to own a real AWP, go to DeadCheapSniperRifles.com"

    Or maybe as you are running around on DE Dust "Get your explosives at Joe's explosive shack, get into the real game"

    Or "Take a breath, smell something? Buy Bobs Game Grit Cleaner for all those awkward smells"

  • Okay, I know this is Slashdot, the bastion of "everything should be free now, gimme", and I for one highly dislike the idea of in-game advertising (unless it's funny), but seriously, what is the reasoning that goes behind the idea that if you pay for something, even just a little bit, that somehow it's immoral for a company to take product placement/ad money.

    To me, in a "free market" (yeah right, but that's another post) as long as the company does not hide that it has this advertising in it, then you kno
    • The key is the "unless it's funny" exception. Most gamers have a sense of humor (probably why there's so many game-related web conmics), and advertisers that understand the culture and audience should be able to come up with ads that don't waste the advertisers' money or the gamers' time.
    • There's no "right" to quality entertainment products. If you don't like what big labels are doing, support small labels, shareware people, or open source.

      Which set-top gaming machine is marketed in the United States to run the works of "small labels, shareware people, or open source"?

      • Hmm... a Set-top equivalent to the GP2X...

        Nah. You can already play all your emus on Dreamcast and Xboxen... it'll never take off.
        • by tepples (727027)

          You can already play all your emus on Dreamcast and Xboxen... it'll never take off.

          Dreamcast is discontinued. Xbox isn't modded out of the box, and selling a modchip (even one loaded with Cromwell) or a modchip installation service is a crime in some countries.

          • And you think the big software houses wouldn't decend on the emus and manufacturer of the box (and anyone else their landsharks can smell) like a pack of starving coyotes?

            If you build it, they won't necessarily come. The GP2X is proof of that (though, design-wise, it really is a mediocre device, even for a handheld).
            • And you think the big software houses wouldn't decend on the emus and manufacturer of the box (and anyone else their landsharks can smell) like a pack of starving coyotes?

              Why? If for reasons of violation of the copyright in the ROMs, then emulators aren't the only product of "small labels, shareware people, or open source". If for other reasons, than what exactly do you mean by this?

              If you build it, they won't necessarily come. The GP2X is proof of that

              The GP2X is also not sold in EBGames/GameStop or, to my knowledge, any similar chain in the United States.

              • And you think the big software houses wouldn't decend on the emus and manufacturer of the box (and anyone else their landsharks can smell) like a pack of starving coyotes?

                Why? If for reasons of violation of the copyright in the ROMs, then emulators aren't the only product of "small labels, shareware people, or open source". If for other reasons, than what exactly do you mean by this?

                Because said "small labels, shareware people, and open source" don't seem to pay a lot of attention to these sort of devices. That's why I used the GP2X as an example. 99% of the talk on the "official unofficial forums" (gp32x.com) is about emulators. There's a GTA knockoff and a Bosconian knockoff being sold, but really, the emus are the only things that tend to survive past the "extremely beta" stage.

                If you build it, they won't necessarily come. The GP2X is proof of that

                The GP2X is also not sold in EBGames/GameStop or, to my knowledge, any similar chain in the United States.

                Why would a set-top box be any different?

  • Using EVE Online as an example, almost every site related to the game is covered by Google with ads for sites that sell you in-game currency for cash.

    Some of these sites have said no matter what they do, that's consistently what Google thinks is the best ads for them.

    So now will we have ads in-game for things that are against the Terms of Service for half these games? Presumably this is one big kink Google will have to work out before they start advertising.

    Also there's the problem of being in an alternate

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