back to article Video games used to be an escape. Now not even they are safe from ads

Poor disclosure and intrusive advertising are becoming a bête noire for gamers who increasingly find themselves getting fragged by promos. Adverts in gaming or advergaming systems are becoming more complex as marketeers resort to techniques that embed advertising deep enough so that earlier ad-blocking attempts no longer work …

  1. big_D Silver badge

    1980s called

    and they want their game ads back.

    This was big news in the late 80s, when the graphics in games got good enough that they started carrying adverts (Commodore Amiga, Atari ST and PC). ISTR that racing games were the first, with the roadside billboards having adverts for real products that had been placed for financial compensation.

    A couple of MMORPGs that I played back in the mid-2000s also had in-game advertising for real products, as well as in-game products.

    1. JDX Gold badge

      Re: 1980s called

      To me, those kind of ads were actually a plus - they made it more realistic. Likewise if you're in a game set in London/NY/Tokyo, huge advertising bill-boards advertising real stuff is kind of cool. Is it Blade Runner or Total Recall or something else where they beam holo-ads right in your face as you walk around - that could also be a designed game feature to set the atmosphere.

      1. Cuddles Silver badge

        Re: 1980s called

        "Is it Blade Runner or Total Recall or something else where they beam holo-ads right in your face as you walk around"

        Sounds like Minority Report, where having them recognise you by your eyeballs is an important plot point. Blade Runner is the one which is famous for having every company that advertised in it (lots of neon billboards) subsequently go bust.

        "be a designed game feature to set the atmosphere"

        Exactly. There's nothing inherently wrong with advertising in games, any more than it's inherently wrong anywhere else. People generally dislike adverts because they insist on getting in the way of whatever you're trying to do. Interrupting a film every ten minutes to show five minutes of adverts is extremely annoying; having a person in a film walk past some billboards while drinking a coke much less so. Similarly, crouching behind a piece of cover in a game that happens to have some posters advertising real products is much better than having something pop up and tell me I have to watch an advert in order to continue playing. Product placement can be done badly, but it can also be done well; pop-ups and interruptions can never be done well.

  2. Timmy B Silver badge

    Links?

    Got any links to with the article? And Boyd became Bod.

  3. James 51 Silver badge

    A survey for game engine developer Unity Industries found that 62 per cent of gamers would regularly interact with ads for an in-game reward

    I had a zombie game on my phone. Some times you were forced to watch ads but it was quicker to quit the game and reload than waiting for the ads to end. Other times, you could choose to watch an ad and get in game rewards. What I'd do is hit the watch ad button, turn the phone face down and then a minute later I'd rinse and repeat. Got a lot of rewards and watched not a single ad.

    1. WonkoTheSane
      Thumb Up

      " Other times, you could choose to watch an ad and get in game rewards. What I'd do is hit the watch ad button, turn the phone face down and then a minute later I'd rinse and repeat. Got a lot of rewards and watched not a single ad."

      The current Futurama game does this, I use the same method as you

    2. Blank Reg

      Same here, I'd guess I've "watched" hundreds of video ads in the past year. But as I'm never looking at my phone while they played I couldn't recall even one if my life depended on it.

      1. Rafael #872397

        Re: "watched" hundreds of video ads

        You're lucky. For some reason I've "watched" hundred times the same two ads.

        I wonder if the criminals that does this kind of "watch this video to get to the next level" ad had ever watched them. Even if the ad worked on the first time and I rushed to buy the "product", seeing the same damn video afterwards for forty times in a row is sort of annoying.

      2. Cranky_Yank
        Holmes

        Mildly curious

        In what situation would your life depend on recalling a video ad?

        1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge

          Re: Mildly curious

          In what situation would your life depend on recalling a video ad?

          Your <enemy> interrogator is having a bad day, his wife is upset with him. He looks at you and says 'tell me a funny advert or I will cut off your balls".

          I, personally, would probably go with the John West 'oh look, an eagle!' advert myself, but there are others :) (you asked)

    3. Brewster's Angle Grinder Silver badge

      How long before they start using the camera to make sure you're watching?

      1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

        "Adwatch POLIIICE Arrest This Man!"

      2. mistersaxon

        How long indeed...

        Used to be you could get away with putting a photo of your face in front of the camera but now Apple have eliminated that option.

    4. Suburban Inmate
      Thumb Up

      Same with 4oD

      1. Turn off ad blocker.

      2. Mute the tab for the ads at the start.

      3. Un-mute and re-enable ad blocker when the program proper has started.

      Not that they have anything to advertise at me anyway. I'm skint, and I most certainly have no need for, err, 'lady products'.

      1. JDX Gold badge

        Re: Same with 4oD

        Sounds like you're paying more effort to avoid the ads than just ignoring them like the rest of us ;)

    5. The Indomitable Gall

      When I'm playing games on my iPad, I normally just switch on flight mode before I open the app. Does the trick. But then I feel guilty about the developers....

  4. TechnicalBen Silver badge

    This is nothing...

    Compared to not only turning every game into a "skinning/milking" exercises of the target user base, but <b?turning every game into a real money casino</b>.

    "Crates" and other prize boxes drop in the game, given to players. But these need "keys" to unlock. To get the keys you spend real money, for one use. Boxes are "random" and thus you are entirely at the mercy of random results, presuming you trust the company to even be "fair" in that regard.

    Add to that, you may need multiple prize pieces to even get a full prize released to you.

    The mechanism is less a concern, it could be done a million different ways, but it is gambling either way. So much so, some countries have restricted or banned the practice. The main way they get around the laws here in the UK, is the "no monetary value", which is kind of mute, considering the things in games now sell for around £250 per digital item (for access to it as a service, because it's not physical ;) ).

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: which is kind of mute

      s/mute/moot/

      (especially relevant, given the immediately preceding use of speech marks :-)

      Interesting take on the "gambling" angle, though.

    2. regadpellagru

      Re: This is nothing...

      ""Crates" and other prize boxes drop in the game, given to players. But these need "keys" to unlock. To get the keys you spend real money, for one use. Boxes are "random" and thus you are entirely at the mercy of random results, presuming you trust the company to even be "fair" in that regard."

      This is what I found the most annoying in Team Fortress 2 (which is free BTW). I once went into unlocking a couple of the (many) chests I had discovered, only to find out, after 10 bucks spent, I hadn't found anything worth it !

      It's actually better to purchase objects directly ...

      1. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

        Re: This is nothing...

        "It's actually better to purchase objects directly ..."

        They do "crates" in free-to-play FPS "Warface" , which they give you the odds for getting anything good, and they are horrific*. I've never bought one . You cant cant purchase directly anymore though.

        *Horriffic dosent stop idiots getting 2000% payday loans , or playing the eurolottery , or fixed odds betting machines on the high street, or , presumably , gambling $100 to get a new rifle in a computer game.

        1. Dan 55 Silver badge

          Re: This is nothing...

          The PEGI rating for Warface doesn't include gambling, so these things may be slipping under the radar.

          1. Haku

            Re: This is nothing...

            I used to play a MMORPG on my first tablet, so much so that if you look at the light reflecting off the screen at the right angle you can see the smooth patches where I've worn away the screen protector.

            I did once spend real money to open crates and lucked out with a top level weapon, then farmed more & sold items in the in-game market place to spend millions of 'gold' to get the same top level armour.

            Then one day I fired it up only to be presented with a screen telling me I'd been permanently banned on all devices I'd used to play the game. The reason? They mistakenly thought I had tried to sell my account for real money, something I'd never do given the amount of time I'd spent playing it and still wanted to. So after getting nowhere with their 'support' email service I tried asking what the hell is going on on their forums but received an instant ban there too.

            Never going to pay real money for in-game purchases ever again, thanks to those arseholes at Spacetime Studios.

        2. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge

          Re: This is nothing...

          or playing the eurolottery

          The odds might be outlandishly against you winning, but the payoff is certainly nothing to sniff at.

      2. macjules Silver badge

        Re: This is nothing...

        There already is a very large amount of advertising in the gaming industry. Can't play CoDMW without getting adverts for Messrs Heckler & Koch, Avtomat Kalashnikov, Colt etc.

        "Takes cover behind car .. car explodes .. 'Warning vehicles may explode'.. YOU JUST GOT KILLED BY THE NEW VOLVO XC90 Click for more!"

  5. ElReg!comments!Pierre Silver badge

    Of course there are going to be health consequences

    And you can rest assured that it's how the adslingers will weasel their way out of trouble.

    See, excessive gaming and stressful in-game situations can lead to serious disorders, so we NEED to track gamers and suggest they have a break from time to time. Now it can't be our fault if the break involves buying something from us, surely, can it?

  6. Oliver Mayes

    Didn't Theme Park open with a video advertising a bank? (It's been a long time, my memory is hazy)

    1. defiler Silver badge

      I believe it was Barclays. But you're quite right.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Theme Park's sponsor was the now-defunct Midland Bank.

      While we're on the subject, James Pond 2: Robocod (1991) on the Amiga had sponsorship from Penguin biscuits.

      1. Dan 55 Silver badge

        And who can forget Zool (Chupachups).

        1. AceRimmer

          Cool Spot

          One long advert for 7-up

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Cool Spot

            It was only fair to 7-Up though, most games already had sprites all over the place.

      2. Trumpet Winsock

        Though the Midland Bank live on in the form of interbank transfers.

        I was due a refund from D Bahn as my train was delayed at Frankfurt on a Journey from Berlin to Bruxelles. I took the form to my Nationwide Branch as I needed the IBAN or BIC and they said they still use the Midland Bank code.

      3. defiler Silver badge

        Re: Midland Bank

        I stand corrected!

  7. Anonymous South African Coward Silver badge

    I may be wrong. but the first game to had an advertisement was Arctic Computing's Inca Curse.

    I AM IN THE TEMPLE

    EXITS ARE NORTH

    I CAN ALSO SEE :

    A ROCK

    A DOOR WITH A LARGE LOCK

    A WINDOW

    TELL ME WHAT TO DO

    LOOK WINDOW

    I SEE AN ADVERT SAYING:

    FOR HIGH QUALITY SOFTWARE FOR

    THE ZX80 AND ZX81

    INCLUDING ADVENTURES, CHESS AND

    MANY MORE YOU SHOULD GO TO

    ACTIC COMPUTING

    396 JAMES RECKITT AVENUE

    HULL HU8 0JA

    TELL ME WHAT TO DO

  8. Avatar of They
    FAIL

    Battlefield 2142 once had a full street side billboard advertising a bank, with the tag student loans and being equipped or something. I was in a massive gun fight in a robot at the time and got a screenshot of the billboard. That was a blatant advert but kind of made sense being a billboard if you ignored the fact it was 2142 and earth had run our of resources so no one wanted a bank. I think if it makes sense and doesn't stop game play, like hiding behind a vending machine which advertises drinks..

    HOWEVER if they interfere, pop up or require me to watch I actively ignore the game and never go near them as a brand, so they are counter productive in my case.

    1. Peter2 Silver badge

      I agree with you on this. However, this applies to games I have actually bought.

      If it's a "free to play" game then the person who bought it wants (and usually deserves) to earn a living. Personally while I don't like advertising i'd prefer it to Google style invasion of privacy for free games.

      1. Dan 55 Silver badge

        You get both. A lot of games use AdMob.

    2. Pascal Monett Silver badge

      Re: Battlefield 2142

      I remember when that game came out all the BF2 fans were up in arms about it (aka torches and pitchforks). The amount of discussion was really impressive in the forums.

      I didn't like the idea at all, but BF2142 was just too interesting to pass on. Then the interesting thing happened : I cannot for the life of me remember any of the billboards. When you're in that game, you don't have time to check them out, you're looking for targets or trying to avoid being one.

      So, all in all, if they do adgaming like in BF2142, I say bring it on, I can easily ignore them.

      However, the day they make an ad mandatory viewing for whatever reason is the day I stop playing that game. In-game awards ala TF2* ? Please. I'm past 50, I know what grinding is. If you have skewed your game so that awards are the only way to progress, I'm out anyway.

      * that said, the awards in TF2 are cosmetic only, so I quickly ignored all that because the game is fun.

  9. Kevin Johnston

    Wonder ads

    Trying to remember the game but it had adverts for dnL which were white writing on a green background...It was almost subtly ob vious if that isn't too much of an oxymoron.

  10. Neil Barnes Silver badge

    You are in a maze of little twisty passages...

    all alike.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: You are in a maze of little twisty passages...

      are you on about the modern shopping experience?

    2. Tigra 07 Silver badge
      Thumb Down

      Re: You are in a maze of little twisty passages...

      The hero turns left and into a dead end.

      The hero heads back.

      The hero turns right.

      The twists of the passage remind the hero of the delicious twisting Turkey Twizzlers from Bernard Matthews - available at your local supermarket for just £2 a pack. Prices include VAT and are subject to change. The Bernard Matthews company reserves the right to change the pricing or terms of the sale at any time and may preclude a new contract between you, the customer, and the Bernard Matthews company.

  11. js6898

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Colossal_Cave_Adventure

    1. Warm Braw Silver badge

      Was that a plug, asked a hollow voice?

      1. Neil Barnes Silver badge

        More of a plugh, really.

  12. js6898

    You can still play it on the web - just search 'colossal cave adventure'

  13. Teiwaz Silver badge

    Between advert over-exposure and too free with anti-biotics.

    We're doomed.

    I quit watching TV several years ago, but find video advertising catching my attention more now that I'm not exposed to it every 15 minutes.

    Too much of anything dulls the senses.

    Advertising is a drug media has become addicted to - an easy fix. It's overuse pushed beyond the realms of medication to aid sales into meaningless background noise that's mostly ignored requiring larger and larger doses for similar effect.

  14. Lee D Silver badge

    Don't mind ads.

    Just don't interfere with the game.

    E.g. in GTA V - feel free to sell the billboard space, and even radio ad space. Same in movies - Bladerunner can advertise whatever it likes, as an advertisement itself within the movie world.

    But don't make it so that I have to listen to / watch it. That's game over.

    And don't make it like "I, Robot" with the Nike/whatever shoes - where I just cringe at the blatant and unapologetic product placement for no reason whatsoever.

    Racing and football games have often had ads on the billboards around the arenas. Fine.

    As people say, things like Robocod had sponsorship from Penguin. Fine. There were levels of penguins (not unlike any other level in the game) where the penguin bars were part of the scenery. No problem. If you don't know what a penguin bar is, you wouldn't even notice.

    But make me sit through an interstitial, break through the fourth wall with it, or make it so horrendously blatant - IN A PRODUCT I'VE ALREADY PAID FOR - and I'll not touch it.

    Hey, Amazon. How about NOT giving me a trailer for something I couldn't care less about every time I open the Amazon Prime Instant Video app on my phone - a service that I already pay you for? A Skip button is not the same as just NOT showing me that junk by default. In fact, a Skip button is like an "opt-out" button on a piece of spam, as far as I'm concerned. I shouldn't have to opt-out, as I never opted in to the damn email in the first place.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      >Same in movies - Bladerunner can advertise whatever it likes, as an advertisement itself within the movie world.

      Blade Runner has a giant Pan Am ad at the start. It worked on me; I only ever fly Pan Am.

    2. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

      "every time I open the Amazon Prime Instant Video app on my phone"

      Why do you do that? You're not going to watch video on that tijny phone screen are you?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        You're not going to watch video on that tijny phone screen are you?

        but, but ... it's got a higher resolution screen than my laptop.

      2. Charles 9 Silver badge

        Buy once, watch wherever. I normally use an app or web interface to do the occasional rental, as it's easier to do this than to do it on say a Roku. Once that's done, a quick refresh and it's first in line on the Roku.

      3. FIA

        "every time I open the Amazon Prime Instant Video app on my phone"

        Why do you do that? You're not going to watch video on that tijny phone screen are you?

        Erm... you do get how perspective works?

        1. Charles 9 Silver badge

          Erm...you do get that to have the same kind of perspective you would watching a 50" TV from a few feet away, you'd practically have to be wearing one of those Cardboard VR visors, only with the optics tuned for non-stereoscopic vision (like an Avegant Glyph, which I just found out about, but also found out its way too expensive).

          1. Lee D Silver badge

            Echoing all the comments above:

            I've never purchased HD content deliberately in my life (sometimes you don't get a choice now).

            I've never cared about anything but a reasonable screen size given the purpose. This means, yes, a smartphone is MORE THAN GOOD ENOUGH to watch HD movies on. Which is it? Is SD too blocky that I would notice on a phone, or is the phone good enough to watch HD on from the short distance you would. Also, my 32" TV is perfect. Doesn't consume a wall, while being great for gaming, movies and TV.

            Strangely, the money I've saved on not having stupendous display devices is spent on ACTUAL CONTENT to watch instead. Weird that. It's almost like I prefer actually watching things to measuring contests.

            Additionally, hello, this is the 21st Century... Chromecast / Firestick? You just flick the app and send it to the TV. Done. Like hell am I booting up a full machine just to do that when the phone is next to me.

            And then, when you really get to it, all the modern HD-only junk is really not my thing anyway. I much prefer to put on an old sitcom, anyway. Who cares whether it's SD, HD, or not in that instance? You literally NEVER NOTICED until someone brought out DVD's, then you NEVER NOTICED until someone brought out flat-screens, then you NEVER NOTICED until someone brought out HD, then you NEVER NOTICED until someone brought out 4K or whatever. Yes, VHS sucked and was blurry and we all knew it, even back then. But ever since, I can't remember complaining once.

            Revisionist history of resolution/quality is what you suffer from. When you got your HD TV were you just thinking "God, if only this was 4 times more high res, I can't stand watching it?" No. And the reason is because you couldn't see it then and can't now. Same for SD/HD.

            The best TV picture I've ever seen in my life, that literally made me go "wow" and use it for everything, was with a Hauppauge WinTV card on a SVGA monitor. It was so fabulous a leap in quality from an old interlaced TV that it was amazing, despite still only showing an SD signal (but it was pixel-perfect because of a huge loft aerial and a monitor that could show the full TV res in a tiny little window while you worked). Since then, it all looks the same at any reasonable distance (which could be inches for a smartphone resting on your chest lying in bed, for instance).

            To me, I believe in the XKCD cartoon - HD is only slightly better than the monitor I had in the 90's, which I used every day a lot more than I ever did the TV. Only in recent years have TVs and monitors been the same tech in different shaped boxes. But I'm used to that kind of resolution. It's essential when doing pixel-perfect placement. But watching a movie? I really couldn't care.

            Yes, a smartphone on my chest shows me a movie in all the quality I need. And I saved £2 by not buying the HD version. And I enjoyed the core point of the whole exercise - the movie.

            1. Updraft102 Silver badge

              "When you got your HD TV were you just thinking "God, if only this was 4 times more high res, I can't stand watching it?"

              I will let you know when I get a HDTV! My SDTV 4:3 CRT is still chugging along just fine, in all its 20 inch glory. I couldn't see a difference if it were HD anyway, with it being on the other side of the room.

              As for a smartphone... watch it sitting on my chest? Nothing but a blur. It would have to be almost at my knees to see it without my annoying and much hated reading glasses. How did I get this old?

              1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge

                I have a cable that plugs into my ipad and streams the screen to my tv via hdmi. Wasn't cheap, but it's a great way to stream content to different tv's when you are on the go.

              2. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge
                Coat

                How did I get this old?

                Didn't you see the ads for the 'ever-young' pills? Oh man did you miss out!

      4. Haku

        "You're not going to watch video on that tijny phone screen are you?"

        Have you heard of Miracast?

  15. James 51 Silver badge
    Childcatcher

    This goes all the way back to superfrog and zool.

  16. RyokuMas Silver badge
    Facepalm

    Welcome to the race to the bottom!

    "Of the top 30 games on Google Play, 27 apps contained ads and the same number contained in-app purchases. All were free to download and targeted casual gamers."

    When faced with this sort of attitude, coupled with an ever-increasing demand for content, is it really such a surprise that game devs are turning to ads to get a return for their hard graft?

    Ultimately, it's up to the consumers to reverse this situation - but when even the biggest names in game development get shot down for trying to use the free-trial-paid-full-game model, it does not bode well for the future.

    1. A K Stiles
      Big Brother

      Re: Welcome to the race to the bottom!

      So perhaps some concept along the lines of free (ad-supported?) trial, followed by option to buy the game and have no advertising at all? At a price equivalent to the per-user advertising returns?

      1. Charles 9 Silver badge

        Re: Welcome to the race to the bottom!

        The 90's called. They want their Shareware back.

  17. Tigra 07 Silver badge
    Coat

    As i recall Saints Row became associated with giant purple dildos you could beat people to death with. Well, that certainly seemed like targeting advertising. I haven't used it for bludgeoning anyone else yet...

    Mine's the one with the solid purple truncheon in the pocket...

  18. MJI Silver badge

    In game advertising works

    Enjoying a nice drink of Nuka Cola now.

    1. Tigra 07 Silver badge
      Pint

      Re: MJI

      It does give you that nice pregnant-like glow and warm fuzzy feeling inside...

    2. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken Silver badge

      Re: In game advertising works

      Cuke. Heaven in a can!

  19. adam payne Silver badge

    'Adverts in gaming or advergaming systems are becoming more complex as marketeers resort to techniques that embed advertising deep enough so that earlier ad-blocking attempts no longer work.'

    Yes I agree, they have moved on from the Penguin bar advert in James Pond 2.

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Oh yeah. An HBO documentary about ads, "Buy Me That!" noted that in-game ads even in the late 80's/early 90's got "in your face" or forced your attention because they were interactive elements (meaning you ignored them at your peril--like they could fall on you).

  20. Lost In Clouds of Data
    Holmes

    The linked privacy policies for Tetris run to 407,000 words...

    Be interested in seeing the citation for that for, as absurd as many T&C's etc. are, I find that just a little too hard to swallow without further evidence.

    And are we talking about policies for just one version of the game, or all the privacy policies to date for every single last copy of Tetris ever released?

  21. Cynic_999 Silver badge

    Where else?

    Reading El Reg on my crystal clear Dell monitor whilst sipping a cup of full-flavour Nescafe Gold Blend, I was wondering where else companies would sneak in product placements?

    1. Aitor 1

      Re: Where else?

      Spot on.

    2. Shart Tank

      Re: Where else?

      Surely there's an opportunity to brand that spoon.

  22. oldtaku
    Devil

    What do you expect from mobile F2P?

    F2P is a sh#$hole, mobile F2P is an open cesspit, and they hate you.

    It's more disturbing when it turns up in premium games, because you paid for the game. As others have noted, though, this used to be much, much worse in the 90s.

    And of course AR is going to be living hell. People have predicted that since it was conceived. There's nothing other people can't ruin.

  23. Aitor 1

    Ironic

    I dont run addblockers on thereg, and what I get from that is a little website between the ads.. maybe 30% of the space is adds..

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Is the problem 'game developers' or scammers?

    Low-hanging-fruit game-developers are just a notch away from scammers trying to make a quick buck. The secret is 'Asset-Flipping'. Flipper Bots launch a 1000 games a week. That's what's needed for decent returns!

    Often game devs are quite ignorant of the Ad-SDK they're using too and the hidden toxic payloads. Shoppers need to wise up! But when even Google doesn't filter its store right, what can you do? The sad reality is most honest game developers make little or nothing. Stats back this up! (SteamSpy etc)

    https://www.theregister.co.uk/2017/08/23/adware_api_phones_home_to_chinese_company/

    1. Jamie Jones Silver badge
      Flame

      Re: Is the problem 'game developers' or scammers?

      You nailed it.

      If I'm watching TV, there may be ads shown at some point.

      Nowhere does the person responsible for that ad retrieve my precise location, my address, a unique id assigned to my tv, a list of all tv programmes I have stored on my PVR, or the last few programmes I watched,

      Nowhere does the company that made the advert assume it can download code to my TV that runs permanently, phoning home with this uptodate data, whilst slowing down the TV, and using my electrcity to do so, and no where does it try to hide the fact that it is doing so.

      By watching the TV advert, the company don't get to know the brand/model/age/version of my TV, or how many other TVs are connected in the house. They also don't get to track a unique "reception id" of all the TVs my various neighbours use.

      If any of these companies did do these things, you can bet your life I'd also block/redirect/spoof everything from them too.

      Shit, the above is true of just about *ALL* mobile ad companies, and whilst they try to hide it from the end users, just go to their websites and they brag about how much information from users they can get potential customers.

      This is why the "app developers don't know how intrusive the ad companies they use are" sounds like bollocks to me. Even if it isn't, ignorance is no excuse.

      According to the stats for my google account, I've spent £418 in the last few years on the play store. Produce something useful or fun, and I'll pay for it. If you prefer, you can attempt to fling adverts my way whilst hoping they don't get annoying. DO NOT attempt to grab my data, or you'll be met by my filters.

      Incidentally, you know why so many of the ad-sdks grab your network mac address? It serves as a unique id for those times a user attempts to block their unique id being sent.

      Honestly, just about all (if not all) of the android ad-providers are scum sucking shisters. I'd be surprised if what they attempt to do is even legal...

      1. Charles 9 Silver badge

        Re: Is the problem 'game developers' or scammers?

        You've never seen On-Demand ads, have you?

        1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge

          Re: Is the problem 'game developers' or scammers?

          I'm guessing you don't have a Samsung Smart TV do you?

          1. Charles 9 Silver badge

            Re: Is the problem 'game developers' or scammers?

            I do, but it's not the main TV being used right now, plus it's rather dated.

  25. veti Silver badge

    I've already decided never to buy from RobCo.

    Or Vault-Tec.

    And as for Nuka-Cola - haven't touched the stuff in years.

  26. Wade Burchette

    Meanwhile in a random board room

    Advertising executive: "People are using ad-blockers and commercial skippers. They are tuning out our ads. They don't like being tracked all the time. So what should we do?"

    Mild-mannered employee: "We could make adverts less annoying and stop being so in-your-face. This way they would be less inclined to tune them out."

    Advertising exec: "You, mild-mannered employee! Pack your things! I want you out of the building in 10 minutes!" (gives the mild-mannered employee the bum-rush out the door) "Now, what do we do about this problem?"

    Sleazy employee: "We make them view our ads to view our website. And what is more, we blame the victim by calling them moochers. But under no circumstances do we show them any respect."

    Advertising exec: "BRILLIANT! Do that! What else can we do?"

    Hard-working employee: "We make the adverts part of the show. We will call it 'product placement'. So, for example, if have the police officer drive a luxury full-loaded SUV that costs more money than he would make in 5 years."

    Advertising exec: "What am I paying you for, hard-working employee? We already do that! I need ideas people!"

    Another sleazy employee: "We could find new ways to cram ads into their life. In video games, at the McDonald's drive-through window, anywhere people are and in anything that has their focus. We also research how to put ads in their dreams, in their self-driving cars, and so on."

    Advertising exec: "I'm giving you a raise!"

  27. Sorry that handle is already taken. Silver badge

    The Claptastic Voyage campaign for Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel contains pop-up ads. They literally pop out of the floor as you approach, to get in your way.

    Presumably the next iteration won't be just for giggles...

  28. Winkypop Silver badge
    Devil

    Dr Breens Private Reserve

    Brought to you by Hl3....

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    intrusive advertising

    Or dirt cheap casual users?

    If a F2P game has ads, it means that YOU didn't PAY for the product (the game), so the game has to encourage YOU to PAY other products outside.

    If you don't want ads, PAY THE DEVELOPERS! See those pay to play games and the in-app purchase with the get rid of ads? GET THOSE.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: intrusive advertising

      NO! Because too many of us got burned. Once burned, twice shy.

  30. DeeCee

    mobile is NOT gaming it is trash

    -the glorious PC masterrace

    1. JLV Silver badge

      beg to differ

      +1 for PC ubermenschen

      ...but not all mobile games are Candy Crush or Angry Birds.

      XCOM is fairly hard on an iPad and Slitherine Studios (they're Brits), make some pretty good WW2 turn-based wargames. Bit like Panzer General in complexity, i.e. more beer and pretzel wargames than Squad Leader, but still fun.

      Ditto Carcassone.

      Touch screens are a closer fit to boardgames than mice, IMHO.

      p.s. no ads seen on any of these ;-)

  31. jeffdyer

    This really isn't anything like as serious an issue as the insistence on in game purchases in games like FIFA, it gets kids hooked on spending to boost their teams.

  32. bittenhand

    I have a casual mobile game in the play store. The first few levels were free to play with the rest requiring one in-app payment to unlock. Less than 1% of players paid and all the comments complained about it. I made almost no money.

    I changed it to have all levels free but an advert (mobile gaming related) appeared beween each level. One in-app payment removed all adverts. Less than 1% of people pay to remove them, and very few people complain about them - I made several times more money than before.

    The implication is that most people won't pay for anything (even 79p from their £500 phone) and they are happy to accept adverts in free games.

    I'm sure most people don't actually sit and watch them - I certainly wouldn't as I'd pay to hide them. But if advertising companies are willing to pay me to show an advert that no-one sees, who am I to complain?

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      But now you have to trust the ad network you hired, and there's a risk of a booby-trapped ad being associated with your game.

  33. Aodhhan Bronze badge

    It's not about the obvious...

    It's not about imbedding advertising in signs, stores, etc. which you walk by, drive by, etc.

    It's about having to interact with the advertising in order to achieve something or keep yourself alive. For instance... if you don't take cover or interact with the advertising in some manner, you don't get credit to level or achieve something. "Your character is hungry so you must purchase a sandwich at subway" sort of thing; or perhaps you take cover behind a plain wall instead of an advertising sign so you die.

    It's also talking about having to sit thru a 30 second ad between levels or when loading a new screen, level, etc.

    In other words... it's about nuisance and control of the player.

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Re: It's not about the obvious...

      How about the opposite? If you DON'T pay attention to an ad, IT HITS YOU? Confirmed to have been going on in video games since at least the late 80's, as noted in the documentary series, "Buy Me That!"

  34. JLV Silver badge

    407000 words? A transparent farce

    How about passing a law that voids any EULA over 1000 words, about 3 pages, on the theory that it's vanishingly unlikely that any normal person would provide "informed consent" on the use of software with terms that complex. And that pretending otherwise is dishonest.

    OK, maybe not outright voiding, but at least a legal presumption/ doctrine of preponderance of evidence that the EULA was not consented to in any meaningful sense under those conditions.

    I'd even support installation procedures that enforced actual reading (somehow) more aggressively, if that limit was adhered to, so that our rights and obligations would be more transparent.

    Alternatively, I wonder if a lawyer could not cross-examine defense witnesses about their knowledge of their own devices' EULAs?

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Re: 407000 words? A transparent farce

      But won't that result in complaints, hoop-jumping, and click fatigue. They just want to get things done, not have obstacles put in their way. And remember that a lot of legalese is meant to avoid loopholing by way of misinterpretation.

    2. veti Silver badge

      Re: 407000 words? A transparent farce

      It's easier than that, really.

      What we need is a court ruling that the process of installing software on a computer, or running software once so installed, is not in itself an act of "copying", and therefore not subject to copyright law.

      Then all EULAs will be rendered dead letters at a stroke.

      1. Charles 9 Silver badge

        Re: 407000 words? A transparent farce

        Which will never happen because such a ruling would likely then be twisted to say snapping a page with a camera is not copying, either, getting the print industry up in arms. Pandora's Box.

  35. dnicholas Bronze badge

    Quake Live had billboards at one point iirc. Must be something about high speed murder that advertisers shy away from...

    And of course there was Cool Spot and of course Mick and Mack: Global Gladiators in the 16bit era. I'm not against advertising in games if it keeps game prices down/budgets up, just not full screen, non-skippable snooze feats for products I don't want that just line the publisher's pockets. Product placement is far better, especially in these high resolution days.

    Example: I work for a large tech firm. I'm constantly on our "intranet" (should be "extranet" tbh) so Google/Amazon/eBay etc bombard me with ads for our products... Which is useless to me and them

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2019