We've all been there: you're softly striding through a craggy cavern, imperceptibly thin rays of light squeezing their way through cracks in the ceiling. Your eyes pierce through the black just in time for you to notice a vaguely cylindrical enemy galloping your way. Steel clangs against claws and fangs, and your foe slumps to the ground. A thick liquid oozes from the beast's mangled form, but the scent of blood is curiously absent. You decide to take a closer look, and dab your fingers in the liquid. One tentative lick later, you realize what the cave-dweller was dispensing -- the smooth taste of Coca-Cola! Visibly excited, you bottle up a sample. And with that, it's quest complete. Time to head back to Doct R. Peppyre's place for your brand new, Sunkist-orange tabard. Awesome!
But then, while emerging from the cave, you spot a poster on a nearby tree. Turns out, it's a blatant ad for McDonald's. "What the hell?" You wonder aloud. Then, sense of immersion annihilated, you rage-quit the game.
Obviously, the above situation is completely ludicrous. In-game advertising is never so out-of-place or in-your-face. And, in a fairly roundabout way, that's the point I'm trying to make: in-game advertising isn't as bad as gamers seem to think. Given a decent context, true-to-life ads can even make a game more immersive, while also putting extra cash into publishers' pockets.
But what's your take? Are in-game ads a detriment to your experience, or is Human Billboard your favorite race/class combination?
Well, today's Roundup is loyal only to you, fair reader, but could use some extra money and aims its commentary straight at the pleasure center of your brain. Inside, you'll find the latest news on a public E3, the oft-delayed Firefly MMO, EA's secret plans, and more.
“On that board are deals that we’ve contemplated, deals that we would like to make in the future, deals that we have in progress," said EA's David DeMartini. "It’s one big, kind of covered-in-cloth status board. We just keep track of what’s going on in various places in the world. Who’s signed with who. When such-and-such company might be available or free from an encumbrance that they might have with another publisher.”
While DeMartini wouldn't allow a soul to strip search his beautiful board, he wasn't afraid to throw out a few hints -- mostly concerning Japanese developers.
"If EA was to work with some of the best designers in Japan in a limited way, with a limited number of these partners, we would be creating a unique situation where some of the best developers in Japan are actually partnering with one of the largest publishers that are not Japanese. That would represent something that is slightly uncomfortable for both parties, but also represents something that is very unique and very special.”
Since Japan's taste in gaming is currently stuck in the mid-to-late 90's -- with nary a DeLorean in sight -- EA's Partners program is probably starting to look mighty appetizing to many floundering publishers. But do they have the scratch to hang with EA? And, more importantly, will their stubborn pride allow them to slip into bed with a non-Japanese company?
Remember them now? Well, they're back -- without actually having gone anywhere -- with another MMO yanked from Joss Whedon's archives.
"The ground-breaking MMOG will offer a new experience for gamers, allowing them to play it either as a fully immersive 3D environment or as a Flash-based 2D game, where both types of players can interact. The game will be launched within 'Multiverse Places,' a new social virtual world from Multiverse. Currently under development, Buffy will go into beta testing later this year."
Are you sure it's going to be a beta? Are you sure it won't be a "nothing"?