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Old 10-08-2008, 06:55 AM   #1
DoctorFinger
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Sims 3: Pretty Much an Advertising Simulator


Gamers tend to look at Electronic Arts as the evil empire, assimilating everything in it's path. This story is exhibit A explaining why that perception lingers. EA has announced that The Sims 3 will be fully and completely integrate with dynamic in-game advertising. The advertising will begin in 'public' places - posters at movie theaters, billboards over restaurants, etc - but they seemingly won't end once your Sim returns home.
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Advertising is very organic to the ‘Sims 3’ experience. Suppose your Sim had a tough day, or the Sim kids are out of control. That could be the moment for a particular [brand of] pain relief. Then they take that pain relief and feel restored, better rested... less on edge
So in essence EA is trying to get people to pay $50 (at least) to subject themselves to a wall of advertising. And EA knows that the Sims is the perfect game in which to implement this universal approach to in-game advertising. Core gamers may be turned off enough to shun a product that did this, but the Sims - the ultimate casual game - doesn't rely on core gamers for it's success. They know that the casual gamer either won't know about the prolific ads or just won't care.

I'm not completely against in-game advertising - in games like Mercenaries 2 and Need For Speed the billboards are actually pretty cool at times - but this situation with the Sims just seems to be going one grotesque step too far.

Source - Edge-Online.
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Old 10-08-2008, 07:10 AM   #2
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I don't really see the big deal. The Sims is pretty much a simulation of real life. Nothing wrong with actual products instead of placeholders.

Now, if they stick huge billboards every 15 feet along the road or something I could see the problem. However, aside from free games supported by ads, I have yet to see an example of a mainstream title where the ads were ridiculous to the point of affecting my ability to enjoy the game.
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Old 10-08-2008, 07:26 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by Goronmon View Post
I don't really see the big deal. The Sims is pretty much a simulation of real life. Nothing wrong with actual products instead of placeholders.

Now, if they stick huge billboards every 15 feet along the road or something I could see the problem. However, aside from free games supported by ads, I have yet to see an example of a mainstream title where the ads were ridiculous to the point of affecting my ability to enjoy the game.
Yeah, but they speak simlish and use simoleons.

Its an intentionally generalized and somewhat abstract world, and thus specific products have no place in the game at all. Does Pac Man eat branded pills? I dont think a Sim should either.

But, then again, I'm not the marketing director of a multiple national franchise rape machine, I mean copyright holder, I mean game maker.

This just means that EA gets more cash to produce more crap, and because good games like Dead Space wont sell as well and dont have the same advertising potential, they will make less money and consequently be made less, since we all know EA is all about the bottom line.
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Old 10-08-2008, 07:34 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by Ancalagon View Post
This just means that EA gets more cash to produce more crap, and because good games like Dead Space wont sell as well and dont have the same advertising potential, they will make less money and consequently be made less, since we all know EA is all about the bottom line.
Or you could see it in another way. Maybe raking in enough cash on games like The Sims lets EA spend money on games that won't do quite so well commercially, but better critically. Ok, so maybe that's a bit far fetched, but still possible!
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Old 10-08-2008, 07:58 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ancalagon View Post
This just means that EA gets more cash to produce more crap, and because good games like Dead Space wont sell as well and dont have the same advertising potential, they will make less money and consequently be made less, since we all know EA is all about the bottom line.
I think it's incorrect to assume that only the one type of game that generates the most revenue will ever get produced. So what if EA can generate more cash through in-game ads with a game like The Sims? If a game like Deadspace can't generate a decent profit without in-game ads, then I seriously doubt the game would be made anyways.
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Old 10-08-2008, 08:59 AM   #6
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I agree with Goronmon on this one. In-game advertising doesn't bug me unless it is intrusive. We won't know if these ads are fun and interesting (thus adding value) or intrusive and annoying (lowering value) until the game is out.

What will bug me, and will absolutely prevent me from purchasing the game, is if the DRM limits my number of installs. I didn't buy Spore because of this. . . which really dodged a bullet for me actually. I ended up playing at a friend's house (on his PC rather than borrowing the disc so that we didn't use up his charges) and I beat the game. . . but I have no desire to ever play it again.

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Old 10-08-2008, 01:51 PM   #7
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Part of the attraction of The Sims is its humor as a parody of everyday life. I'd much rather see fake products (a la Grand Theft Auto's Cavalcade for Escalade and BabiesOvernight.com) to give my Sims than real ones.
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Old 10-08-2008, 03:39 PM   #8
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I don't get people who are not against in game ads. They always say "if it is done tastefully blah blah blah". Every bit of advertising I can think of starts out as being tasteful, then slowly begins to take shit over. Remember when cable TV was ad free? Remember the internet when it was an infant? Remember when you could watch an episode of Zero Punctuation ad free? Now TV and the internet are nearly unbearable with the amount of ads. It will no doubt be the same issue with games. They start out with a few, then take mainstream games like the Sims and ads will be everywhere. Soon it will become status quo. Every single game will be filled full of ads. Every time you load up a game, you'll sit through several minutes of ads. Load screens will become ad screens. Therefore games will be forced to add loading as much as possible. Basically a commercial break in the middle of your $60 game. Enjoy.
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Old 10-08-2008, 04:05 PM   #9
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The easy point for most people is in games like Madden or any racing game. "Hey, real life sports have a ton of ads, right? Why not have those same ads in the game?"

I think the difference here is exactly as VerseD said it. Thos games are attempting to be as realistic as possible, while The Sims franchise has always been about cartoonish parody. I don't want real products and ads in The Sims. That's missing the point of the game entirely.

(And no, I never downloaded any of the sponsored freebies for The Sims 2 like the Fords, Alienware PC, or Coke machines.)
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Old 10-08-2008, 04:12 PM   #10
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As long as the adverts remain in context then I have no problem with it.
Adverts for a movie outside a cinema, fine. Adverts for toothpaste outside a cinema, not so much.
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Old 10-08-2008, 04:14 PM   #11
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As long as the adverts remain in context then I have no problem with it.
Adverts for a movie outside a cinema, fine. Adverts for toothpaste outside a cinema, not so much.
My thoughts exactly
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Old 10-08-2008, 04:16 PM   #12
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If they wanted to be real evil, they could scale the effectiveness of in-game products based on how much money the brand's owner is paying them.

One day, your sims use Aleve to relieve their headache. The next day, they're given a choice between Tylenol and Aleve, finding that one works better than the other. You might find that pizza ordered from Dominos satisfies sim-hunger better than pizza from Pizza Hut.
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Old 10-08-2008, 04:24 PM   #13
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Cool, I love simulators! Oh but wait, I fucking hate The Sims. :/
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Old 10-08-2008, 07:04 PM   #14
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I will not pay full price (or anywhere near it) for a game that will subject me to advertising.

Period.
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Old 10-08-2008, 07:14 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by MagGnome View Post
I will not pay full price (or anywhere near it) for a game that will subject me to advertising.

Period.
So you never played the Cool Spot game?

Sad.
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Old 10-08-2008, 07:20 PM   #16
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Poking around mod/content sites, I've seen that there are mods to replace generic stuff with name-brand items. Apparently the idea of advertisement doesn't bother some people, and, in fact, they welcome it in their Sims games. Me, not so much, but I imagine there will be mods that do the reverse - replace the advertisements with generic Simlish stuff? Unless they try to crack down on that, but the strength of The Sims has always been user-created content, and I can't imagine EA hindering that would go down too well.
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Old 10-08-2008, 07:33 PM   #17
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So you never played the Cool Spot game?

Sad.




I can't recall if I played Cool Spot back in the day or not, but I do have a special place in my heart for Chex's Quest.
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Old 10-08-2008, 07:36 PM   #18
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I will not pay full price (or anywhere near it) for a game that will subject me to advertising.
One of the arguments for in-game advertising is that it helps pay for the cost of development, but the Sims is as close to a sure thing as you can get (provided they don't piss half their legitimate customer base off with DRM that is aimed at screwing legitimate customers as well as pirates).
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