Ads Taken, Ads Dropped
BTF #1 : Ads Taken, Ads Dropped
Beyond the Frontline is a regular feature where the staff here get up on the soapbox and put forward an idea or idea relating to Halo. Each BTF is a talking point designed to start a dialogue and unlike our regular word blasts and articles, the entries are short and sweet.
If you agree or disagree with any of the points raised we strongly encourage you to reply in the comments and be part of the conversation!
The recent Deus Ex ads “controversy” got me thinking about the situation. If you don’t know what’s up with what happened there’s a large thread on NeoGAF with details here. The short version, adverts were introduced into the game a few weeks after the game shipped. The ads can only be found in the loading screens but not every loading screen will show them. They aren’t interactive – just a static image at the corner of the screen.
I don’t think anyone really has a problem with adverts within video games but I think Eidos made two critical mistakes here.
Firstly the advertisement introduced after the game had launched. I have finished the game multiple times and did so before these ads started appearing. I’ll definitely go back to Deus Ex at some point in the future but right now I’m done with the game. These adverts missed by eyeball time and I haven’t had to see them at all.
Introducing them after the game was out for a while made some folks think they were being duped. Like a bait and switch. Nobody but Eidos even knew about them until they started appearing. If Eidos had been upfront about them, maybe even before the game came out, then the reaction from folks wouldn’t have been as harsh as it is.
As you can see these ad in question is for Star Wars on Blu-Ray, a brand new release arriving in shops now. It has nothing to do with Deus Ex at all. There’s a massive disconnect between it and the game itself. It seems as if the advertisers here are hoping that Deus Ex players are Star Wars fans and need a gentle reminder about the release. Not all players are going to be Star Wars fans to some players they may as well be advertising kitchen appliances or soft drinks for all they care.
If the adverts were more relevant, then maybe the audience wouldn’t be annoyed about them. Then again maybe Deus Ex isn’t best suited, as there isn’t much else in terms of the franchise itself that they could advertise.
This brings me back to Halo. I think adverts would fit well into the game if they learned carefully from the Deus Ex example.
Just like in Deus Ex, the adverts should be discreet and not-intrusive. Right now some players are complaining about ongoing “reminders” to purchase Halo Reach DLC every time they fire up the game for some online multiplayer. This “reminder” is a full screen dialogue box that must be closed by the player. It’s not quite discreet and it’s very intrusive.
I think the best place for adverts would be during the waiting time between matches. This is essentially dead time for every Halo player. There’s nothing to do but stare at screen. Some players check the previous game’s stats, others look at challenges, commendation and other information or browse the Armour but I suspect the vast majority of players simply just stare at the screen whilst talking to the buddies. A perfect captive audience.
Halo is vast and there’s always something new going on and something coming out for folks to buy. Whether it’s new Avatar items or DLC, there’s always something to advertise and sell. All of this is very relevant to Halo players.
Non-intrusive and relevant, specifically targeted to the active Halo player base and grabbing the attention of a captive audience. No more complaint about forceful reminders. In the example I’ve used what I think is the best available screen real estate. The current fancy “loading” image was nice to look at for the first few games but after that it’s ignored. Sticking an advert in there is the best choice for my example. I do think the ad should be a little smaller than my example but just a bit so that it doesn’t clash too much with the playlist image.
When you’re searching for a match or in a party, you don’t want to separated from your buddies. That’s the one obvious drawback in my idea here. The advert would have to be static and non-interactive otherwise the player risks being taken away from an active gameplay session without realising it. Maybe there’s ways around that, maybe not.
So what do you guys think? Adverts will continue to appear in games in future, so I think it’s best to have a framework in place that minimises disruption to the players and maybe even helps the advertises sell their product better. If you Halo was to have (more) adverts in future, how would you like to see it handled?
Do you agree or disagree with us? Tell us what you think below in the comments. Feel free to check out older BTF entries here.