Neo: Why do my eyes hurt?Morpheus: You've never used them before.Trinity: Visit Lenscraft for prescription lenses in about an hour!---Morpheus: The Matrix is everywhere. You can feel it when you go to work... when you go to church... when you pay your taxes. It is the world that has been pulled over your eyes to blind you from the truth. Neo: What truth?Morpheus: That the new Chipotle Grilled Burrito from Taco Bell is freaking delicious!Neo: Whoa.---Morpheus: The Oracle. What did she tell you?Neo: She said...Morpheus: Yes?Neo: She said I could save a bunch of money on my car insurance by switching to Geico!
Morpheus: ...---Tank: So what do you need? Besides a miracle.Neo: Pepsi. Lots of Pepsi.---If you haven't guessed already, in-game advertising has come to the Matrix Online. Here's a link to the thread on the offical forums. The first line of the press release sounds like something out of one of my parodies:
"An exciting new addition is coming to the world of The Matrix Online."
Advertising is an exciting new addition? Well, I can't blame the writer, what was he or she going to say?
To be fair, this isn't the first time in-game advertising was in the Matrix Online. They had it in the early Monolith days. And the setting is about as good as you're going to get for in-game advertising. In fact, there were "fake" ads already. The ads will only be billboards that should not affect gameplay. And, thankfully, they will not be animated.That said, it just depresses me. I play games to lose myself in a fantasy world. I happen to strongly dislike advertising before movies, intrusive internet ads and even overly obvious product placement in movies and TV shows. And no, I'm not against companies making money. But don't you run the risk of losing money in the long run by damaging your reputation as a company that cares about gaming? And might there not be a backlash someday as gamers refuse to pay for games with advertising? Honestly, probably not. That's likely wishful thinking on my part. Advertising creeps into everything and becomes second nature. So I can't even really blame SOE, and that just depresses me more. It's the sound of inevitability, as Agent Smith would say. I still don't like it.
But who I am to argue with Matrix Online players? Most of the players in that thread seem to be actually for it, or at least okay with it. SOE raises the possiblity of having contests for player-generated ads, so maybe that helps.
The advertising will be handled by Massive. I'm wondering why Massive even wanted to advertise in a game with so few players. I'm guessing that they want to be established as the premier in-game advertising company. They do have competitors, notably IGA. And the market is expected to be huge. This, and the Planetside deal, let them say they work with such famous gaming companies as SOE. It also helps them build their brand, establish relationships, and gain experience in this new advertising frontier. And for the individual advertisers, they have a chance to hit a very targeted demographic.
I was a bit surprised that a bunch of other sites actually covered this news:
Slashdot (My interview with Scott was also mentioned on Slashdot last week)
In unrelated Matrix news, the ending of the "Matrix: Path of Neo" game is really weird.
And, in advertising news that is actually cool, as seen on Kill Ten Rats: The makers of Eve Online are allowing in-game player Corporations to advertise in a real life magazine with virtual currency (ISK). Writers for the magazine will be paid in ISK.