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.


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