The advertising will be unobtrusive and add a dose of realism to the MMOG's contemporary setting, but NCsoft said it will also take advantage of the technology to display user-created content within the game. The company added that all advertising dollars it earns will go toward further development of the game, and that players will be allowed to opt out of the advertising if they choose.
"Our partnership with NCsoft is a clear showcase for two of our guiding philosophies: Bringing value to the player through appropriate use of advertising spaces and bringing new business models to the marketplace by creating new revenue streams that can help fund game development and community support," said Double Fusion President and CEO Jonathan Epstein.
"City of Heroes is a key property for NCsoft and we take great care to grow and nurture our player community," added Brian Clayton, general manager of NCsoft's northern California studio. "We are pleased to work with Double Fusion on City of Heroes, as they have demonstrated sensitivity to the needs of our community and fundamentally understand how advertising can bring value to the players when executed gracefully, and in the appropriate context. In addition to allowing our players to opt-out if they so choose, their flexible technology will not only allow us to bring brand images into the game but also provide a fun, new platform for displaying player-created materials."
Originally developed by Cryptic Studios and launched in April 2004, City of Heroes and its sequel, City of Villains, lets players take on the personas of superheroes and supervillains fighting it out in Paragon City. NCsoft purchased the IP in November 2007, moving Cryptic's City of Heroes team into its new northern California studio to continue development of the game.