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Are title "updates" adding or updating in-game advertising?

by: Dan -
More On: Blog
Something struck me as odd today when I was posting news on the EA and Massive Inc agreement to expand their in-game advertising agreement. There was a single line in the PR that just sent off alarms in my head.

"Massive is also working with marketers to incorporate dynamic advertising into another popular EA racing title, Burnout(TM) Paradise"

Hmmm, Burnout Paradise had been released almost two-months ago, yet a Press Release that went out at 8:00 a.m. today is talking about incorporating dynamic advertising into that game? We all know that CompUSA ads proliferate the game despite closing all its brick-and-mortar stores late last year. However, using a title update to change out the advertising, or worse yet, inject NEW advertising seems to be getting a bit low on the sliminess scale, especially considering that consumers who bought the title wont be getting any money back as EA profits off our in-game experience. 

Over the years I have changed my opinion on in-game advertising and have come to generally accept it as part of the gaming experience. However, I still believe that a title that has a heavy in-game presence with ads should NOT cost the same as one that does not, especially if the development process obviously wasn't any more difficult than the other game. Burnout Paradise is a prime example, as their are billboards, signage, vehicles, etc....splattered throughout the environment. For EA to go back, two months later, and update or add more ads to the game, via a title update or DLC would be cause for a massive debate in my opinion.  There was one other telling snippet from the release I mentioned above:

"EA strongly believes that dynamic in-game advertising is an important growth area for our business, and is one of many opportunities we are pursuing in growing the advertising market," said Kathy Vrabeck, president of the Casual Entertainment Label at EA.

Hey EA, I have a piece of unsolicited advice for you. If you continue to double dip with in-game ads, we as consumers expect you to develop and deliver a better quality product, or drop the price to reflect your continual subsidization of development expenses through advertising.

The views expressed in this post do not necessarily reflect those of GamingNexus or its editorial staff.