Right, so I took time to tune in to Activision’s earnings call yesterday afternoon, and I’ll get around to that tomorrow. I was cooking dinner, my wife was talking to me, and my academic advisor called, so I missed pretty much the entire last half of the presentation.
They did mention one thing, though, that struck me as absolutely horrifying – In-game advertising. Now, I realize that King, and it’s well-known Candy Crush, are part of their business. Likewise, the entire industry is making moves in that market right now and I can’t blame them. In-game advertising is pretty much par for the course. Like radio, TV, YouTube, and even webpage banner ads we’ve grown accustomed to it. It’s just “how it is.”
When I think of Activision though, I don’t think of Candy Crush or mobile games. I think of WoW and Diablo, and eventually might remember that CoD exists too. The idea of these games with in-game advertising conjures horrifying images like something straight out of Ready Player One. Of course, that’s a movie and only reflects reality in the same way a contoured mirror would, by minimizing some aspects and making others larger than life.
Of course, evidence indicates that we would, for the most part, acclimate to it eventually. The only real major problem I see is that it would break immersion. In this case, we’re not even talking about MMO immersion, but any immersion. Imagine you’re running around saving the world, but up in the corner, you see that Jimmy Johns would really like it if you could come buy a sandwich.
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It’s creepy, and while I don’t presume I speak for everyone, I don’t want it. Obviously, the next logical step would be to remove mod and/or custom UI support because the first thing that would happen is people making ad-blockers for games.
Still, that money goes to the companies that develop and publish our games. Like it or not, they have a certain duty to their shareholders. At least the publicly traded ones do. It ultimately boils down to what each individual is going to be willing to tolerate. For many many years, I really disliked MMO subscriptions and didn’t play games that had one. When I finally decided to give FFXIV a try and saw what a subscription game can be, I relaxed that idea a little bit. Then I relaxed my stance on the slightly more “p2w” concepts currently used for free to play or buy to play games. After all, if I’m willing to tolerate a sub to enjoy a game, maybe I would enjoy some of these other games if I spent a roughly equivalent amount of money per month.
I’m off track though, and I’ve got other stuff to get done. Y’all take care, and remember, advertisers are always watching, recording, and projecting. You can search for a product in the morning and get served related ads a couple of hours later.