Wednesday, October 18, 2006

EA, the A stands for Advertising

I've found a couple links about EA's new game Battlefield 2142 having adware built into it and my initial response was "Shrug, its EA". The company's reputation for turning out lackluster sequels to make money off their franchises is almost legendary. Not to say that EA doesn't make good games just that most of them are crap. They have a lot in common with college textbook publishers who ask their authors to make minor changes every year so that they can force students to buy only new editions. Combined with major allegations of not paying overtime and forcing 70hr work weeks and you get a picture of not the most honest of companies.

Thus when one of their new games comes out with adware built into it you have to begin to wonder why anyone buys games from them. As if paying 50$ for a game wasn't bad enough but somehow the company thought they could make an extra buck by having adware. In game advertising isn't so bad if done right and incorporated into a game, think product placement. But with adware you basically have a 3rd party company snooping around your browser history and selling targeted advertising. This stuff cause more problems then most viruses and is harder to get rid of then a free edition of AOL. And somehow the company came to the decision that this was an acceptable way to recoup money on the game development.

We need to be very careful as video game consumers that we don't support games that try to make revenue this way. Some people theorize that this will become a common way to offset the rising cost of game development but they need to realize that its a consumer choice. We need to nip this in the bud before it becomes common practice. Could you picture having 3 or 4 games with adware installed on your computer? How good would performance be with all that background processing? Plus how trustworthy are the 3rd party companies that advertise this way?

These are troubling questions and I believe we will be entering into troubling times for the video game market. Advertisers know that the magic age group of 18-34 is disappearing from television and playing more games. It can only be suspected that they are trying to follow us not realizing that their aggressive advertising is probably one of the reasons television is losing popularity. The ratio of advertising to actual entertainment is around 11 minutes to 19 minutes for every half hour show. Perhaps that’s why so many young adults have turned to video games where the ratio of entertainment is 30 minutes to 0 minutes for every half hour of game time.


Anonymous said...

11 to 19? It use to be 12 to 18 a few years ago for a 30 min sindicated program. Did it go down?

I picked up my first mmorpg about 5 years ago and haven't had cable or satellite tv since (and don't miss it either).

Relmstein said...

I might be 12 to 18 now I was using old stats from a FCC report I had to read back in college.

I know a few years ago that the kids station Nickolodeon (mispelled I know) was fined for broadcasting a SpongeBob Squarepants episode that had a ratio of 18 mins advertising to a single 11 min episode.

Can television start any earlier at pissing off its consumers and moving them towards video and computer games?