Sam Fisher is the videogame industry’s latest victim in its never-ending search for more revenue.
At Microsoft Advertising’s recent Gaming Upfront presentation, Ubisoft pitched some “interesting” ways that Sam Fisher could be used to earn a few extra bucks in Splinter Cell: Conviction. In-game advertising is not a new concept, but isn’t completely annoying yet, so obviously it hasn’t reached the point that many publishers might like.
As reported by Joystiq, Ubisoft representative Jeffrey Dickstein’s pitch at the presentation was something along the lines of: “As you’re slamming a terrorist’s face into a urinal, you might ask yourself, ‘is this the new Degree deodorant I should buy?'” Ubisoft clearly plans to implement some hardcore in-game advertisements in Conviction, with picture and video ads appearing not only throughout the game’s environments, but also during torture sequences like the one Dickstein described.
To better sell in-game space to advertisters, Ubisoft showed off “heat maps” of areas that players will most likely visit while playing. These will obviously be the best places to put posters for Ford or The Escapist. I’m not totally against in-game ads, as long as they’re done in a tasteful way. If Coke cans are littered across the ground near some hedges that I’m sneaking behind, I don’t mind it. If logos are plastered all over areas where it doesn’t make sense, advertisements run the risk of ruining the immersion of a videogame experience. Dickstein’s pitch even proves this; if you’re thinking about Degree deodorant while smashing a terrorist’s face into a urinal, a game has failed you. The day that context sensitive button presses are sponsored by McDonalds is the day I stop gaming.