CoX In-game Ads: Opting in for reinvestment

Jonathan Northwood
J. Northwood|04.08.08

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CoX In-game Ads: Opting in for reinvestment
DJ Templar: Gotcha. One of the pastimes with some of the people on the forums has been taking the monthly fee that each person pays, the current total subscriber count that's been reported, multiply that, and say "okay, NCsoft has got (x) amount of money. Why on Earth do they need more?"

Brian: So more money equals more reinvestment, right? For anybody that's taken any Business 101, you take a set percentage of what your revenue is and you reinvest it into the product. The great thing about in-game advertising is we're not just taking that percentage and putting it back into the product, we're taking the entirety of what in-game advertising generates and putting it directly back into the dev team. And that's why it's such a huge win. So of all the math that you work out, I would say that most companies probably only put 15 or so percent, but NCsoft invests well above that into all their products, and to have 100% of the in-game advertising come back into the development team is really a huge win.

DJ Shecky: We'll go along that same line. First off, if we opt out, do you guys lose that ad revenue entirely?

Brian: We absolutely do. But at the end of the day, it's more important for us to have our players have an experience that they enjoy and they're comfortable with. And if that means that they don't like the way that we've implemented in-game advertising, more power to them. They should feel comfortable to turn that off. And for those that are comfortable with it, like I said, it'll be a win for all of us, and we'll be able to grow the game more quickly and reinvest in the game more quickly. And I'm really not trying to make anyone feel guilty. This is their decision: we're 100% comfortable. We're not going to encourage customers to do this in-game advertising. This is just a decision that they need to make on their own. And like I said, if we do this right, I feel that we're going to bring a little more life to the city, and make the world feel a little more dynamic than it currently does.

Positron: And I think that reiterates our statement on why we want to do it. Obviously, if we do this really well, and the ads are immersive and add to the gameplay experience, then people don't have that reason to turn it off, so that onus is back on us to make it work out really well for everybody involved.

DJ Shecky: Excellent. And also, somewhat along the same lines, when you see the ads -- and if you put your mouse over them -- are they going to be clickable, or is it just an ad that's just going to be there and static, or is it going to pop up a web address for you to go and visit that company's product?

Positron: No, the ads are not clickable. We're only measuring impressions, which is the view time, and how much of the ad you're seeing.

Lighthouse: So that ads should work just like they do now, it's a texture: you'll see it as you go flying on by, and it won't have any ... if you're teleporting, or something, and you click on an ad, it's going to act just like it would now, and not change any of your mouse functionality or anything like that.

DJ Shecky: Alright. One more followup on that same sort of thought. Knowing that it's going to be a viewable item. I know myself that I've got a number of friends that have to lower the actual graphics settings, and a lot of the ads turn out rather blurry, and we can't tell what they are, etcetera. Until I got a new card, I didn't know what half the billboards said in there. Nowadays I get a good chuckle out of them. How is that going to affect everything if somebody opts in?

Positron: I'm not exactly sure. Again, I can grab a programmer on that one. But I believe we do the same sort of draw distance thing, so if it's beyond a certain distance, and it's an illegible ad, then it basically doesn't count.

DJ Shecky: Okay. That makes sense to me. Templar?

DJ Templar: Speaking of the opting in and opting out, right now it's basically up to the player to decide whether they want to see them or not. And this actually did come up in the forum discussions today. Is there going to come a point where -- if the program is so successful -- that you're going to say, "you know what, the vast majority of players are opted in, there's really no need to have this toggle anymore, so we're just going to make this the default, and there won't be any more option."

Positron: I've always been a proponent of the opt-out feature. I really strongly feel the opt-out feature needs to be there for our players to have the experience that they want. And this feature is not just for us, it's for our players, as well. They want an immersive game, we can give them ads. If they don't want advertising -- and there's a lot of players out there who just refuse to cater to advertisers -- that is what this feature is for. We don't want to lose them as a player.

DJ Templar: Okay, so the opt-in feature is going to remain, regardless of how successful the program is?

Brian: Yeah, that's correct. And I think Matt and I on that question were both looking at each other because we both 100% agree that this always should be an opt-in opportunity. And we're very comfortable with that from a business perspective.

Lighthouse: I was going to jump on there to reiterate what Brian and Positron are saying there, that in the original statements -- if you go back and read through what we were talking about in the text stuff -- that's part of the reason why this took the time that it did, was to find the partner that would allow us to do the opt-in/opt-out solution, so that's a pretty central piece in the whole thing in making it optional. And when you hear it from them that it's not going away, you can feel good that it's not going away.

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