Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Paying to play your game - over and over again

I recently got myself an Xbox 360 and have gotten to play it a total of 2 times so far. But I've thoroughly enjoyed it, starting with Ghost Recon 2, and a few Live Arcade demos. After playing the demo of Forza 2, it's on my list right after Gears of War.

But I just read this article that describes how Microsoft is joining with Massive to deploy ads in their games to generate extra revenue.

Massive, acquired by software maker Microsoft Corp. last year, said Wednesday it would begin serving dynamic ads to five new EA games — "Madden," plus "Nascar 08," "NHL 08" and "Skate" for Microsoft's Xbox 360, and "Tiger Woods PGA Tour 08" for Xbox and PCs running Microsoft's Windows operating system.

I had heard that this idea was being kicked around but I didn't know it was actually going to grow into something so sinister. This is total crap. Why should I pay $30-$65 for a game only to be bombarded by advertising while I'm playing it? It seems to take advantage of your consumers and I'm guessing this will generate more ill will towards Massive and Microsoft than generate sales dollars. I've been on the fence about buying Madden '08 but now I'm worried that I'll have to spend time watch ads between plays.

But it also makes me wonder, what if they offered a discount for a version of a game that contained ads, or you could opt to pay the full price for an ad-free version? How much of a discount would you require for having an ad-laden game? Half price? Free? Imagine if you could download full versions of games over Live with the gotcha that you have to watch ads every so often. Would people do it?

I just saw another article about how advertisers have been dumping millions into Second Life but people are abandoning the game in droves. Maybe they don't like being force fed advertising, even if the game is "free"? I think there might be a lesson to be learned here...

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