Adverts in games - do they make you sick?

It's a miserable truth, but adverts really do make the world go round. They make the world go round like water in a toilet bowl. But in reverse. So instead of getting rid of poo, they actually suck more poo in. Then the poo spreads everywhere and before you know it the world is covered in poo.

So it comes as a bit of a blow to hear that APB: All Points Bulletin, the urbanistic cops 'n' robbers MMO shooter from developer Realtime Worlds, heralds another victory for the advertisers in their ongoing encroachment into video games.

The game, which is out for PC this very week, will feature audio ads that play over voice chat. APB's voice-chat is provided free of charge (hence the adverts) by a company called Vivox. If players don't want to hear the ads, they will have to pay a not-yet-announced fee for the privilege of keeping their ears free of advertisement pollution.

Understandably, many gamers have reacted with vociferous opposition to this revelation. To appease the outraged, the following post was made in the official APB forums:

You will receive a short audio ad once every 3 hours. HOWEVER ads will only be heard when first entering a district.

So for example:

1) You start up the game and enter the social district.
2) You will hear a short audio ad.
3 You stay in social for 2 hours and then switch to an action district.
4) Upon entering the action district you will NOT hear an ad.
5) You play in the action district for 5 hours and do not hear any ads.
6) You exit the game.
7) You start up the game at a later time and enter a district.
8) You will hear a short audio ad.

There. That doesn't sound so bad, does it? One tiny advert, every now and again. Surely that's no great hardship? Well, no, of course it's not. But that's not the point.

I'm sure it makes brilliant business sense and having adverts helps keep prices down elsewhere. But as a simple-minded punter I feel I already have more than enough adverts infringing upon my daily sensory input. For that reason alone I'm inherently opposed to having to endure more adverts *anywhere* - especially having them rammed down my ear pipes while I'm playing a game that I've bought with money.

Adverts. Do you think they are poo? Or would you like to expose yourself to even more of them when playing a game? Unfill your mind in the comments.

June 29, 2010


  • Craza - July 2, 2010 12:22 p.m.

    I see enough ads on television and the internet, I don't need to sit through anymore in my video games. :/ If they're subtle, that's fine. But if I'm forced to listen or look at something before I can play, then no, I say go to hell.
  • Elemental - June 30, 2010 2:50 p.m.

    The ads in WipEout HD are annoying because the volume is not normalized to match the volume of the game audio. Plus I don't want to see the same movie trailer more than once per game session!
  • pin316 - June 30, 2010 11:59 a.m.

    depends whether you think they could afford to run the audio chat technology for free without advertising really.... I would much rather have that feature for free and occasionally hear an ad for something every few hours, than have to pay a fee on top of the game's price automatically just to be able to talk to people. If the ad pays for the servers then all is good. If the game pays for the servers and the ads are just bonus money then not so much.
  • lovinmyps3 - June 29, 2010 11:54 p.m.

    NO!!! NO!!! NO!!! Fuck that! The fact that they force it down your throat like that is insane, even if it is just every once in a while! You should not have to "pay" for an ad free fucking voice chat!! Product placement is one thing, but making it stand out like that is too much! Next thing you know there will be commercial breaks during movies in the fucking theater unless you want to pay twice as much. No, that is wrong, that is too fucking much!! GAAAAGGGHHHAPSHDPLKENLEI!!!!!! *HEAD EXPLODE*
  • grumpyDinosaur - June 29, 2010 7:12 p.m.

    Not really a big deal, you're just sitting there staring at a loading screen anyway, or you've walked away and got something to drink, either way doesn't really seem like something to cause a big fuss about. If it played while you were playing though, that would be a different story.
  • Xplosive59 - June 29, 2010 6:26 p.m.

    im not sick of ads in games, but i am sick of adverts in the gdar comments section
  • bhamjustin - June 29, 2010 4:11 p.m.

    I think this isn't such a bad thing at all. I mean, we all tolerate the ads which allow us to enjoy HULU.
  • Adman - June 29, 2010 4:07 p.m.

    As an Adman myself, perhaps audio ads over game chat is a bit too far. A good ad should catch you when your recptive to it. Loading screens would be a good shout perhaps something that makes the same old screen different. Also, every ad on Radar is clearly awesome and ads to the user experience.
  • Zanthis - June 29, 2010 4:02 p.m.

    This seems a remearkably genius way of doing ads. The way it is conveyed does not break you from the world and it isn't something that demands to be noticed. Ads happen, at least they are finding better ways to display them.
  • nadrewod999 - June 29, 2010 3:41 p.m.

    As long as adverts don't: Slow down your computer/console, Become required for an achievement (looking at you, A. Wake), or Infiltrate important scenes, I think that the occasional advert in a game is acceptable. However, online, there is an additional regulation for adverts: NO ADVERT-COMMENTS. For example, the 14th comment on this article completely consisted of an advertisement for an online shoe store. When I look at the comments on a good article (or even a bad one), I expect people to express how they feel about that issue (excitement over a new game coming out, sadness over the closing of a good development studio, etc.), not a coupon for half off virtual footwear.
  • ScruffMoney - June 29, 2010 3:29 p.m.

    This is bullshit, I hate bloody ads, especially the one's that pop up when you load a web page. I can't wait to hear how intrusive these are. My question is: how long until Sony or Microsoft decides to jump on the audio advertising bandwagon and make it so an ad plays when you're in party chat.
  • db1331 - June 29, 2010 3:24 p.m.

    I find it funny that intrusive "In your face" advertising has the exact opposite affect on me than what the companies had intended. If there is some insanely annoying pop-up ad (like the one on GR for Lost Planet 2) I will be sure not to buy that game, ever. I still haven't seen Avatar and wouldn't even pay $1 to rent it at a Red Box due to being forced to watch the trailer on literally every commercial break. I think ads in games suck, but making your customers pay extra money just to not be assaulted with them is an absolute dick move. Personally if I were behind APB, the LAST thing I would do is implement ANYTHING that might turn off potential customers. Don't they know how hard it is to release an MMO that doesn't die out a couple months later?
  • CAPST3R - June 29, 2010 2:46 p.m.

    I've no problem with adverts, but surely it would be much better having them as billboards, posters and radio ads between songs? I would actually like that, it'd give the surroundings more character.
  • AnonymouZ - June 29, 2010 2:33 p.m.

    Control Alt Delete dude got pretty much EVERTYHING a sensible person might think/say about it... in a "wtf, you bitching at a service that's provided for free?" kind of talk.
  • EnragedTortoise1 - June 29, 2010 2:06 p.m.

    Remember the indestructible Pepsi machines in Bionic Commando? or in Quantum of Solace, one map would have Orbit billboards effing EVERYWHERE.
  • Matt Cundy - June 29, 2010 1:54 p.m.

    @Tomsta666 @vinicusg Yup. I hate internet ads - especially intrusive ones that are really bastard hard to close or that generally make the user experience crappy. And that's really my point. Ads are everywhere and they make things - like the internet - less good. I don't want them taking over in games as well. That would be sad face.
  • vinicusg.t.guedes - June 29, 2010 1:40 p.m.

    I'm with Tomsta666, kinda ironic this comming from gamesradar...I get about one popup per click in the website, and sometimes there are some terrible banners, like that new xbox one, that lagged the whole homepage till the banner had "played" the whole damn thing that I'm not interested in buying. Well, at least the articles are fun to read and that's what keeps me comming back.
  • HereComesTheHypeTrainCHOOCHOO - June 29, 2010 1:40 p.m.

    Advertising in games will never, ever translate into cheaper prices for gamers. All these faceless companies do is pocket the extra revenue, bitch about used games sales, and blame a substandard product on "piracy". Having to pay to avoid being bombarded with advertising is a new low and APB is the standard bearer for how things should NOT be done.
  • Tomsta666 - June 29, 2010 1:20 p.m.

    Kind of ironic, that as i clicked the link to get to the article a massive pop under advert appeared <_<
  • shockandawweYEAHHH - June 29, 2010 12:54 p.m.

    oh yeah and as @nighthawk205 said adverts during loading screens might not be so bad (as long as it isnt the reason loading is taking so long)

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