Cranial Inversion

A blog about personal views on Internet Search, SEO, Gaming and the Gaming Industry

Monday, July 24, 2006

MMO Advertising: The Good, The Bad, But Mainly Ugly

Let's start off first by saying that there is a difference between "advergaming" and MMO advertising. "Advergaming" relates to the advertising on sites that have games like "Bejewel" and such. Free, simple little pop-up games that mainly just waste time because one is bored. These are games displayed through a web browser just like any other web page. So, advertising on sites like these is just like someone putting Adsense on their site. The main demographic for these advertisements are the stay at home moms, who happen to get a few minutes of "me" time in from managing a house full of demon spawns on a sugar rush. In this aspect it is a great way to advertise. You throw some banner ads on the page and the audience looks at them before trying to match up same colored cubes for the joy of having "bonus points".

MMO advertising is a whole different beast. This is something that should not be for the meek of heart (or skinny wallet). This is the beast that could make marketers and game developers alot of money at the expense of having the most finicky, out spoken, judgemental, secular group out there with pitch forks and torches screaming for their blood. I speak of the gaming community. As I have previously posted on my humble blog, this is not the group of people you want to piss off. Word gets around fast. As my good friend JP Sherman has said, if you're a developer or a business and you don't have good cred with the gamers, you pretty much screwed yourself out of a demographic. But, I have already covered my reasons why earlier, so let's move on.

In-game Ads mean little or no subscription?

Let's stop and think about this one. Okay, one side says that if you allow in-game ads, then that should cut down on subscription costs or eliminate it all together right? Possibly. However, at what cost? Would you be willing to play a game that you just couldn't get into because you are constantly being bombarded by ads? Would you really be willing to wait for your screen to load after you have to watch a Tampax commercial? In something like WoW? All of this so you didn't have to pay a subscription fee? I'll wager a large portion of you will say "Hell no!". Honestly, I would never pay for a game if I am going to be subjected to that kind of intrusive advertising. If I wanted to be subjected to that kind of advertising after I have paid for something, I'll go to the movie theater.

Now the other side says that there is no way in hell that you would be insulted by this blatant cop-out by the game developers. Okay. What if the developers and marketers were smart and only did ads relevent for the type of game being played. For example, in something like WoW, they could put the advertisments on the log-in screen. And perhaps some more when you log out (for those of you who do log out) to keep the actual gameplay ad free. For something like "The Matrix Online", they could actually place advertisements on virtual billboards (like they do now, I believe. But you are still paying for a subscription, right?). Depending on how it was done and how intrusive it is, it could be a better way to get players and still get the ads across. But overall, in my opinon, it is still blasphemy. And let's be real, do you think a big company (game or otherwise) is going to just let us play for free? Yeah right. And I'm not talking about "Guild Wars" or another "smaller guy". I'm talking about the big boys like SOE, EA and LucasArts. Seriously, do you really think they would do that?

Either way we are going to see it. If we don't like it, we won't play. If we don't play, the companies don't get money. If they don't get money, then the companies will pay attention to the most important thing to them in regards to this topic; listening to what the players want(hello SWG). But I doubt it.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Senate Denies Net Neutrality

The Senate just recently passed a Telecommunication Bill that is a great deal for the Telco’s (Telecommunication companies). Basically, it will allow the telco’s to pick and choose whom they will allow greater bandwidth to. For instance, AT&T would offer more speed to Internet services and marketers for the right price. If someone like Google for example, wanted to have their services delivered faster than Yahoo!, they would have to pay more than Yahoo! to AT&T.

To the Republican’s and the big telco’s, this seems to be a great idea because it would allow “healthy competition” and allow the end user the choice of whom they would use. It would deny a company from getting closer to the whole “monopoly” state that everyone would hate to see. It would be another system of classic free market economy that would benefit everyone. However, the only parties that would benefit this are the Telco’s and the politicians in their pockets.

To the rest of the free world, it means the end of the Internet as we know it. No longer will information be readily available, free, and able to be searched without any cost to the end user (aside from the ISP fees). Pretty soon, the big Internet companies (non-ISP) are going to have to make a choice. Either they will eat the added cost or they will pass it on to the end-users. I seriously doubt that any company would want to just eat the cost of added expense in the name of competition. Somehow they are going to pass it along to the people they depend on…you. “You lie!” you say? I hope so. But I doubt it. It’s just simple business.

Now, the fact that I believe that they will pass this cost on to you makes up the core of my hypothetical premise. Imagine, online advertisers want to set up banner ads with certain keywords targeted. Their site is ranked well on Google and “ok” on Yahoo!. They want to increase their spending on Yahoo! to increase their traffic on that search engine. Because Yahoo! has to pay more for bandwidth, the advertisers have to pay more to Yahoo! for the space they want. But if the advertisers don’t want to pay the extra money to ensure that their ad is displayed better on Yahoo!, they can go with Google. Google is cheaper, but their ads aren’t going to display as well on Yahoo!.

The fact that the advertisers have to pay more is also an indication that everyone else is going to have to pay more. I think that pretty soon, everyone will have to pay for higher bandwidth. The Telco’s will be able to tier their services (like some do today) to offer a “get what you pay for” model. Meaning, their lowest priced plan will offer the slowest bandwidth, while the highest priced will offer their highest bandwidth. “Well…no kidding!” you say. Yes, I say. Because the highest bandwidth you bought with your hard earned money, is the same bandwidth you were using for half the price before this Bill. Make sense? I hope so. Although this scenario is what I can see as being the “worst case”, I hope it doesn’t come to that. I hope that we, being the end-users and marketers, don’t see a difference because the big Internet guys will “do no evil”.

But, after reading my humble blog of my thoughts and opinions on this issue, answer me this: In all things Internet related, where do the real “h4xz0rs” lie?