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In Game, Out Of Control

Posted on Friday, May 5 @ 20:03:31 Eastern by Joe_Dodson
With Microsoft's recent acquisition of in-game advertising firm Massive, Inc., it's clear that the wonderfully sturdy barrier between video games and the hordes of advertisements that perpetually plunder our favorite television programs is down to its last few pebbles. Where before it was we who screamed at loading screens, soon they will scream back things like "Hurray, hurray, hurray and P-W-N a Master Chef's Chicken DeClux at Pizza Hut, your sponsor for the fifth level. Get your game on, and a bib!"

Ugh.

The guys over at Joystiq.com don't seem too depressed about it - they've put together a collection of four reasons why in-game advertisements will be good for gamers. Two of these boil down to the naive notion that more money means more good games, one claims the infusion of cash will clear up funds to hire new developers, some of whom will not suck, and the other says the extra income will make publishers more willing to fund unusual projects. The first has the ring of trickle-down truthiness to it, but the second is total poor-person thinking.

As is their third reason: ad revenues might make Xbox Live! subscription free. Look, if people are already paying for something a company isn't going to tell them to stop. And in spite of the fact that the stars in my favorite TV shows drink strategically placed Pepsis between three-minute advertising segments, I still pay a nasty cable bill that costs waaaay more than Xbox Live!

Joystiq saved the best for last, though: "Realism can be enhanced through advertising." When you're talking about escapist fantasy, keeping it real can't help but go wrong. While we appreciate Joystiq's bold attempt to make lemonade out of urine, we sure as hell aren't going to drink any of it.



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