Play some of the latest racing titles on the market, and while you’re speeding down city streets, you’re likely to pass signs and other ads for companies like Best Buy, Cingular Wireless, McDonalds, and more. These ads are starting to creep into other genres, too, like action games and sports titles, and may even end up in simulation games. Finally, for PC titles, some online games have ads that will update themselves accordingly! One day, you could drive past a billboard for Burger King, and a few days later, it could be for Nextel instead.
Now, I have no problems with advertising in games. Hell, they’ve been doing it for years in TV and film, and it’s generally pretty innocuous. Seeing a billboard in a game isn’t a big deal, as you see those in real life, after all. However, my theory is this: if various companies are shilling out the cash to support these games and themselves, then why the hell are we still paying $49.99 a whack? If Pepsi and Kinko’s and all of them are throwing down the loot, then the consumers shouldn’t have to. We’re going to see their ads, and likely use their products. That still generates revenue for them. And with more and more “under the radar” games retailing for $15-20 brand new (Katamari Damacy and Gungrave: Overdose are perfect examples), there’s no reason why companies with a load of scratch in their coffers can’t pass some savings onto us. If the little guys can do it, why can’t EA? (Yes, we all know EA’s mission in life is to screw us out of our money, but that’s not really the point here…)
I’ve always thought games should be cheaper. Disc-based titles in particular are incredibly cheap to produce. Luckily, the rate of inflation over the years has been minimal; I recently was digging through some old comic books, and found NES titles advertised in there for the “low, low price” of $44.99. I know publishers and even hardware makers obviously make their profits off of software, but come on; if you’re loading games with ads, drop the f*cking price. If smaller publishers aren’t using ads and can crank out cheaper titles, then so can the big boys.