CoX In-game Ads: The bandwidth/revenue equation

Jonathan Northwood
J. Northwood|04.08.08

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CoX In-game Ads: The bandwidth/revenue equation
DJ Shecky: Do you guys have an idea yet of what sort of bandwidth consumption this is all going to wind up taking?

Brian: So we're still running tests, but everything we've seen so far is that it's negligible. You really cannot see the difference. We've run tests on dial-up connections, we've run them on DSL connections, cable modems, and so right now, everything looks really positive, but again, that's where the opt-out comes in handy, that if -- in some rare circumstance -- there is some sort of bandwidth hit, they can opt-out, but I really do not forsee that being a problem whatsoever.

DJ Shecky: Templar, I'm sure you have another question for them.

DJ Templar: Yeah. If we could get back to the community-generated content for a sec, Tony V. from Infinity posted on our forums to ask about if it would be possible for you to go into some more detail about how it will be used compared to the revenue-generating content, if there is going to be like a set amount of space set aside for community content, or if it's going to vary depending upon demand from actual paid content, and whether you guys have worked on any ratios, or how that's going to work.

Positron: Well, as far as I know, we haven't actually set any sort of ratios for that ... all of the community-generated stuff. We definitely want to put it in the rotation of the ads that are presented to the players, but I don't know what the ratio of what it's going to be is.

Brian: And I expect actually that ratio will be changing. Depending on where our official ad pipeline is at, at times you'll see a lot more community stuff being run, and other times you'll probably see more paid for being run, but you'll always see community ads being run in some capacity.

DJ Templar: Okay. Are the existing in-game ads -- the Chris Jenkins, the City of Gyros, and that sort of thing -- are those going to be going away if you're opted into the new initiative?

Positron: No, they'll be put in the rotation with everything else.

DJ Templar: Oh, okay. One of the questions that I've been asked a lot -- especially with regard to the community content -- is "oh my God, how much is this going to cost?" Is there going to be a different price structure for player content as opposed to corporate content, or is that a yet-to-be-determined sort of thing?

Brian: So we're still working all these things out. My intention is not to charge from a community perspective for those sorts of things. But I can certainly see where people want to post anniversaries or things like that, and certainly you need a barrier to entry to do some things like that. We'll look at it, but certainly the intention here with in-game advertising is we'll make some revenue here from the advertisers, we'll put it directly into the development team to further improve the product, and all the community fun things that we have planned will just sort of be additive fun things at the end of the day.

Lighthouse: And I think one other thing to mention with anything that's coming in through the community is going to go through the same review process that the regular ads are going to be going through the team here and making sure that everybody has buyoff that this is an immersive thing that looks good in the game, it's appropriate for what we want to have out there on these billboards, so it'll always fit.

DJ Shecky: How often will the ads be rotating? If you zone out, and then zone back in two minutes later, are they going to be different? Or if you turn around, are you going to see a different ad? Or are two people going to look at the same billboard and see two different ads?

Positron: I'm actually not exactly sure on how that works. I can grab a programmer here in a minute -- probably in the next break -- and get you a better answer on that one. But I believe it's served per-client, so different clients will possibly see different ads, and we also ... Double Fusion makes sure that you don't see the same ad over and over and over and over again, so there will be a variety so you won't just see the same single ad on every billboard in the zone.

DJ Templar: Speaking about revenue, the initial announcement states that all the all the revenue generated by ad sales in this program go towards City of Heroes development, City of Villains development, and there's been some people that say "well sure it is, it's being used for all sorts of that we have no way of knowing." So if you could, just reiterate for us where this money is going and how it's being used.

Brian: I'd be happy to. So, we certainly don't want ads in our game for the sake of just having ads, right? And so it was very important that we were able to sort of work with the executive management within NCsoft to ensure that every dollar that is coming from in-game advertising be contributed directly back to the development team. And what I like about this is that this is really one of the few -- maybe the only -- opportunity for players to directly contribute to the development team's budget without actually having to open their wallet. And so, if we do everything right, and we implement things in a way that is seamless and immersive and additive to the overall feel of our current zones, then I think this is going to be a big win for the community and for the dev team, and we're going to have a lot more resources to work with, hopefully, and bring you guys cooler and more content.

Positron: Yeah, I would love to do like I did with the wedding pack and be able to point out features that the advertising revenue has bought you guys. And we'll see exactly how that is going to work out in the future.

DJ Templar: I think there was something on the forums about how revenue from the wedding pack helped make the VEATs a reality. Is that accurate?

Positron: Accurately, what happened was we had originally scheduled them for Issue 13, but because of the wedding pack sales, we were able to fast-track them, and put some more resources into them, and get them into Issue 12.

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