CoX In-game Ads: Content control

Jonathan Northwood
J. Northwood|04.08.08

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CoX In-game Ads: Content control
DJ Templar: One of the concerns that some people have whenever advertisers have a financial stake into a particular company or a particular venture is how much control they can exercise with their wallet, basically. And some people on the forums have expressed concerns that, in a way, we would be giving some of these advertisers power over the game. That if there was some particular content that they didn't like, or if they objected to something, that they would be able to basically wield their stick and affect change in the game world. And I was just wondering how you guys would address that if advertisers did object to a particular piece of game content.

Brian: No. They have no say in any of these ads. And, frankly, if they're not happy with the way something is performing, we're happy to work with them -- they are a partner in this opportunity -- but at the end of the game, the most important thing is immersion. And I think you'll just hear that over and over again, and you guys will see it once we get all this plugged into the game and you can see it for real. But in no way can they have any impact on our players' game experience, or really the overall immersion and feel of the game.

Lighthouse: And I think, just to pile on with that, there is also the creative control, and what's going in to the game, because I've seen that question tied in here, as well. And I think to reiterate what Brian is saying, they're not going to be ... no advertiser is going to be saying "oh, well, you can't put Psi Blasters in, why would you ever do that?" So no worries on that side.

DJ Templar: Speaking of advertisers, you did mention that -- because City of Heroes/City of Villains carries a Teen Rating by the ESRB -- certain more mature advertisers such as tobacco companies and alcohol and that sort of thing wouldn't be included. Do you have -- I know this is early days, yet -- but do you have any ideas about what sort of companies you would be especially interested in having in the game, or is that not something that you guys have really touched on yet?

Positron: It's not really something that we've touched on yet. We want to see what advertisers are brought to us by Double Fusion, so that we can basically choose what's going into the game.

Brian: As far as preference, I'm less worried about the preference about the actual advertisers than I am about the content that they provide us to show in the game. Again, our focus is making sure we don't break immersion, and that we really support the look and feel that we currently have going on in the game.

DJ Templar: So -- and this is certainly speculation at this point -- is it conceivable to see advertisements for movies, or even for other games, for other computer games?

Brian: So again, we control that content. I don't have interest, really, in promoting any games outside of the NCsoft family, but certainly we would consider movies and some of those opportunities. I can go down the list: cars, automobiles, beverages, you know, those sorts of things. We'll see what we're presented with, and I think -- when we get a good sense of the types of advertisers that are interested -- we'll be more than open in sharing with the community the options that we're looking at. And, of course, they'll see them in-game, and we'll learn sort of through who's opting in and who's opting out what's working and what's not. But like I said, I think is pretty much a situation of either you're not bothered by in-game ads, or you are. And ... I have enough confidence in Matt, and Ken, and the team here to really ensure that we're keeping to the integrity of what City of Heroes has been up to this point. And we're not going to do anything to push people from the creative perspective into opting out. This is just really a personal preference, and we're happy to allow our customers to make this decision.

DJ Shecky: We know that it's going to opt-out, that we have to go in and turn off the option. Is this going to be ... I'm assuming, initially, it's going to be on a per-character basis. And if it is, is there going to be any way down the line to make it on a per-account basis.

Positron: So one of the Quality of Life features that we're trying to get in for Issue 12 is to give you the ability to save all of your preferences locally, onto your hard drive, and then reload them per-character. And, of course, your opt-in/opt-out would be one of those preferences. We're trying very hard to make sure that this makes it into Issue 12, but I can't guarantee anything. So there, I gave you my little Issue 12 tidbit.

Lighthouse: So I'm writing that down as "future promises we must keep."

Brian: Whoops!

Lighthouse: But of course Matt already has that.

Lighthouse: There was a question earlier that we were talking about, during the break, about animated ads. Whether or not they were static or ... yeah.

DJ Templar: Yeah, is there going to be a possiblity of having animated ads: either in the form of rotating billboards that you see nowadays, or even, say, something along the lines of a movie marquee, or something like that?

Positron: So initially we're just going to do the static image ads, and the animated texture stuff is actually very difficult for us to do. Not going to say impossible, and I'm not going to say that it's worth it or not for us to do. It's something we're going to look at in the future if we need to go there.

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