LE : Un-Optional Adverts

Un-Optional Adverts : Where have all the adverts gone?
Originally posted on Limited Edition (Jan 19th, 2009)

wt_cox_advertsWhen I wrote a post regarding in-game adverts appearing in City of Heroes/Villains, I expected to see a steady stream of adverts appearing around Paragon City and the Rogue Isles. The adverts are optional so if graphics were a problem you could toggle them off (the default state), plus the integration appeared to be nicely handled so they didn’t look too out of place in the MMO.

I thought the advert campaigns were linked between the US and EU servers, but since the patch including the adverts I’ve only ever seen one advert on the EU English Server Union, this observation has been mirrored by fellow gamers in the EU game forums.

wt_cox_protestAfter some digging by Shuttler (Cheers), Dusty Monk informs us that on the US servers CoX has lots of in-game adverts running, so I guess that lack of advertiser interest isn’t the reason, so why the difference?

I believe the different advertising laws for different countries are a massive hurdle to overcome for game companies looking to add in-game adverts, this one singe issue may drive them to only advertise in certain regions.
A similar reason was given by SOE for the lack of adverts on Planetside when playing from outside the US, cunningly blocking players from seeing the advert via geo-location. Although I don’t believe this to be the case for the City Of Heroes EU servers after a US friend confirmed that they don’t see the adverts on the EU servers either.

Admittedly the EU servers have nowhere near the same populations as the US servers but still the opt-in advert system was promoted as a method for players to generate more revenue for City of Heroes future game development, shame that for reasons out of my control other European players and I can’t contribute.

In the possible dawn of the RMT era of MMO games I expect in-game adverts to become used more frequently used, but with the previously mentioned licensing laws to overcome, how effective they will be at generating revenue from a worldwide player-base remains to be seen.