I'm averse to in-game advertising -- something about buying a product and then having to sit through commercials rubs me the wrong way. Seriously, people who make entertainment products, pick a side: Either it's free and there are commercials or I pay money and there are no commercials. It's not fair to offer only the worst of both worlds to customers. It's not just the annoyance factor either: If you regard games as legitimate works of art, it's usually jarring and awful when ads encroach on that enjoyment. For instance, if Grand Theft Auto IV had featured real-life products instead of parodies, some of the power of the game would have been drained.
I realize I'm tilting at windmills here, and in the future, there will not be one second of the day in which you are not being marketed to. The future, sadly, is getting closer: Double Fusion today announced that the company will launch dynamic, near hi-def ads in PlayStation 3 title WipEout HD. The ads were "developed to contextually match the game's sleek futuristic design, video advertisements complement the WipEout HD world seamlessly." The ads will be shown during the game's loading screens "in a number of different visual alignments," whatever that means.
Are you ready for some marketing-speak? Check it out: "By introducing high-resolution dynamic video ads into WipEout HD, Double Fusion is responding to advertiser demand and offering an engaging ad format while pushing in-game ad innovation to a new level," said Jonathan Epstein, CEO of Double Fusion in a statement. "The title is one of the most popular and visually stunning available on the PlayStation Network and a perfect vehicle to connect advertisers to a captivated audience."
That's great for the advertisers and game publishers, but you guys reading this are the "captive audience" mentioned above...and being a captive anything isn't too awesome. I guess it's cool that the ads only appear in loading screens, and not the game itself, but reports are coming in that the advertisements actually extend the time it takes to load the game, in some cases doubling it! Talk about the worst of both worlds.
On the other side of the coin, some people think in-game ads will lead to cheaper games, but I'll believe that when I see it. Are you as bugged by in-game ads as I am, or am I totally overreacting here?