Sitrep: In-Game Advertising, Battlefield 4, and You

Need for Speed Ad in Battlefield 4

By on March 19, 2014 at 4:48 pm

I’ve been playing Battlefield 4 a lot, see, and even months after it came out it’s still pretty messy. The number of times I have somehow dominated everyone completely and utterly with my best m8 Crappy Hand Gun and then suffered a sudden crash is still a lot. The history books will never know my bumbling triumphs.

A few days ago I was haunting the internet looking for gullible people to take my anger out on, as you do. It backfired, ‘cos I found this instead, and I got even angrier. According to a boy and his screenshot, EA are now putting ads in your Battlefield 4 when they should be, I dunno, fixing this thing.

Of course, you would be a percolating damage case if you just believed every pissing thing that popped up on Reddit, seeming visual proof or no. Internet people are wily. They can do things. Nothing is real. So I emailed EA and asked them about it. A somewhat confused local PR rep, stress veins-deep in Titanfall everything, had no idea what I was talking about. She had to confer with “the team” and ask them what was up.

I waited patiently, flying a MAV into someone’s prone crotch while whispering “Yesssss” into my mic. Haha, he called me a dickbrain and blocked me, can you believe that.

Anyway, EA’s person came back on the wire: “I have been told that there will be no ads.” At least, that seems to be the case for Australian players. Hurray! Still, also boo: The same doesn’t look like it can be said for fellow BF4 peeps in the States, where EA do appear to be trialing the concept of spruiking bad movies (Need For Speed is reportedly balls and the lead character is called Tobey, I hate everything) while you play.

If it works there, it will go everywhere. Money is the same in NTSC or PAL. Not that this is anything particularly new for EA. They’ve always filled up their sporting titles with bonafide billboards and the like. The thing is, in that context, it makes perfect integrated sense: You do see those things when you go to the footy or whatever. But to be assaulted by them at your innocent little FPS’ start-up screen? It feels markedly more galling, especially in the context of a game that desperately requires its masters put their efforts into making it work instead of meta-monetising it.

There are valid arguments on both sides, though some of the pro-ads crew do tend to veer off into apologist territory. By the same token, the no-ads patrol can just devolve into self-importance and predictably anti-EA cynicism. Attending to reality is more helpful: EA, like any corporation, want to make money. Duh. They are now experimenting with new ways to do that within their existing infrastructure. Standard.

In a perfect world, they’d make these ads as unobtrusive as possible and use whatever extra revenue comes their way to better what they produce. It can be done. Vice just put Murdoch’s 5% stake to good use with Vice News, for example, which almost immediately produced some of the best reporting on the Ukraine so far.

It pays to the look at the company. So let’s look at EA’s track record, honestly and fairly, leave your personal gaming grievances at the door: If this takes off and you’ve got ads flying at your face before you get dropped into EA kill zones, is that gonna be for the greater good?

23 comments (Leave your own)

its EA, as usual the laughing stock of the entire industry, how can you ever be surprised at anything those single digit IQ retards do.

 

They had billboards in bf2142 that advertised stuff, if they were done suitably in-game in bf4 (like on the billboards on siege of Shanghai) then it could be ok.

In the lobby or loading screens I couldn’t give a hoot, had that for ages from server providers in games like tf2

 

Battlefield 2 also had a similar popup ad except when logging into BF2 it would say ‘Buy Battlefield 3 now’ And still did last time I played.

 

I don’t mind as long as it’s not overdone, and doesn’t effect the gaming experience.

 

This was a thing in 2142. As far as I’m aware, we have local laws that prevented them from advertising ingame.

 

42alpha:
I don’t mind as long as it’s not overdone, and doesn’t effect the gaming experience.

I remember playing skate on xbox and it was weeks before I notice that the Billboards were actually advertising real world items. I actually liked it, made the world feel a little more real.

 

I feel like every time I start my xbox I am bombarded with adds. Every single tile, screen after screen is an add. How long until they do that with OS’s like windows 8?

 

In-game advertising?
No thanks.

You get to make money off me once, when i buy your game and not a cent more.

 

I’ll tell you what it all means – I’m not buying BF4, or any other game that has in-game advertising.

 

caitsith01:
I’ll tell you what it all means – I’m not buying BF4, or any other game that has in-game advertising.

How surprising from you!

Like it’s been said above, I quite liked it in .skate, it made the world feel a bit more real. The BF2142 adds were a bit crap though because they were designed to standout with colour and blargh. If I’m playing in a ruined warzone, have the balls to make your billboard fit the scene, make it organic, that I can handle.

 

prob should have a menu option (assuming this becomes common) to opt out if IF you paid for the game, but if F2P well.. that’s paying for it.

 

As previously mentioned 2142 had in-game advertisements, not only that but it used your browser history and a cookie-like system (unsure if it was actually cookies) to monitor your browsing habits and tailored the ads to you.

I refused to buy it, there’s only so many ‘personal enlargement’ ads I can take in one day ;)

 

I did hear they had no end of trouble getting it to work in different countries.

 

I would not have a problem with adds in-game TBO. If they made the game free to play, lowered the price or just got rid of the cost for season pass’s all together.

But if they didnt I would have to boycott them TBO. After paying a bucket load for BF4 then the season pass on top of that. Boo you fucking clowns… fucking booo!@

 

I always thought that ingame advertising would possibly work well for indie titles and the like. Not to call a game like DayZ indie, but perhaps they could have gotten mountain dew on board considering the reverence the player base has for it ingame? Things like that, where it furthers the game and revenue can be passed on to consumers (like lower prices, free dlc payed by advertisers, providing a more realistic world ala skate) would be welcome i think.

However, the cynical side of me feels that too many companies will use it simply as a money grabbing exercise, with no real thought to the consumer or the game’s integrity. I suppose time will tell.

 

Product placement. It’s a thing. It doesn’t affect you unless they replace your gun with a can of coke. Loading screen? Oh no it might take up space to see a loading bar or a pretty picture?

I mean really? Bitching over this? Do you bitch about the ads on GON?

 

robbo89:
Product placement. It’s a thing. It doesn’t affect you unless they replace your gun with a can of coke. Loading screen? Oh no it might take up space to see a loading bar or a pretty picture?

I mean really? Bitching over this? Do you bitch about the ads on GON?

Well most of us have addons that remove the ad’s but yeah during those rare times they are showing.. they are very annoying. (Also i’m a internode sub, so frankly i’ve paid for this already)

 

robbo89,

I don’t pay $60-$90 for a game to then see ads whenever the devs feel it’s appropriate. Ads hosted by servers to keep them running are somewhat different (as in TF2 for example), however I wasn’t hugely impressed by that either and uninstalled it after a particularly obnoxious unskippable ad. Thanks Target. I block ads at every opportunity and have Adblock on all my browsers. For iOS I buy apps to avoid ads. I neither want or require advertising to. Seeing a Pepsi logo in a game will make me more inclined to purchase Coke.

Perhaps if games advertised themselves like they used to by actually being enjoyable and benefitting the player more than the publisher, EA could spend less on advertising and not require ads in game to make a profit? There’s an idea.

 

This post has been brought to you by Nuke Nibbles. Taste the armageddon in your mouth!

 

robbo89:
Product placement. It’s a thing. It doesn’t affect you unless they replace your gun with a can of coke. Loading screen? Oh no it might take up space to see a loading bar or a pretty picture?

I mean really? Bitching over this? Do you bitch about the ads on GON?

“It doesn’t affect you” – so the billions spent annually on ads is for nothing?

 
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