Friday, October 20, 2006

Double Dipping

Ok, there’s a subject that I want to throw my two cents in on.

There’s been a lot of hoo-ha recently about software bundled with the game “Battlefield 2142”.

Now, there’s been a lot of misunderstanding and misinformation about this.

The problem was the belief that this game came with spyware. It would keep track of your internet browsing habits, and then download targeted advertising that would be put up on billboards and posters in the game.

In other words, if you spent all day looking at sports based websites, while playing the game, you would see billboards and posters for various sporting products.

The gaming community went up in arms. We don’t like to be spied on.

The truth is a little less extreme. All the ‘spyware’ does is send information about how long you looked at the in game advertisements. In other words, it’s to show the people who have paid for advertising just how many people are seeing them.

No personal information, nothing sinister…just the company who paid top dollar for in-game advertising wants to know if it was worth the investment.

However, I have a problem with this, and it’s nothing to do with my right to privacy.

My problem is the whole advertising thing.

Now, you may wonder what the big deal is. Is it really such a problem that while I’m running and gunning down a street I pass a poster advertising the latest graphics card from nVidia? Does it bother me that at the end of a street I see a billboard advertising Adidas sneakers?

No, my problem is this:

Games companies are making a lot of extra money through in-game advertisements, and we, the gamers, aren’t seeing a penny of it.

In game advertising means more revenue for the games studio…but while in-game advertising is steadily on the rise, so is the cost of the games we’re playing.

This should be the other way around. The games companies are slowly filling their games with advertisements. Wouldn’t it be fair for them to use some of that money they’re making from advertising to lower the price of the games a little?

Look at the TV business model. They don’t make money from the actual shows. The shows are just there to make sure we’re sitting in front of a TV when the advertisements start to play.

We’re not asked to pay for network TV, because the advertising pays for it.

If we continue this analogy with the direction videogames are slowly taking, it’s like paying a subscription to a movie channel, and having the movies interrupted with ads every 15 minutes.

Would you pay for that? I know I wouldn’t. Either I pay you, or the advertisers do…not both.

Fight Night: Round 3 costs $60, and that game is like one big Burger King commercial.

I mean, I’m all for games studios making money. The more money they have, the more games we’ll see. I’m not suggesting that if a game company chooses to have advertising in their game that they should deduct all the money they make from advertising from the game price…but why not a percentage?

In short, it’s unfair. Games are costing more and more, while games companies are making larger and larger profits.

In my opinion, It’s one of the downsides of games going mainstream. It’s no longer “By gamers, for gamers”, it’s so some guy in a suit, who has never held a controller in his life, can make more money.

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