Is Ad-Sponsoring the Future of PC Gaming?

To prevent piracy, are ad-sponsored PC games the way of the future?

They might be, and FileFront is one of many file hosting sites that are testing the waters by offering popular PC titles to download and play for free. While ad-sponsored gaming is nothing new, the latest fiasco surrounding Electronic Art’s recent release of Spore and its usage of SecuRom may force PC gamers to find alternate methods to calm the addiction.

Then again, offering older games with ad-support could be just another way to keep those popular titles out on the street and earning revenue. Last year Ubisoft was one of the first publishers to offer its games for free including Far Cry, Prince of Persia: Sands of Time, Rayman Raving Rabbids and Ghost Recon. But does this advertising scheme actually work?

According to Massive Inc., a dynamic advertising network embedded in many games bought today, the company believes that the system actually does work (story). In a test conducted by Nielson entertainment, the average purchase considerations - based on ad campaigns that ran on the Massive network - increased by 41 percent. Additionally, the average ad recall increased by 41 percent whereas average brand familiarity increased by 64 percent. The study included over 600 gamers playing Need for Speed: Carbon on the Xbox 360 and PC.

A few new ad-sponsored games have appeared online since last week including Full Spectrum Warrior, Area 51, The Suffering and Beyond Good & Evil. While there’s no complaint filed here in terms of downloading free games, one has to wonder how these will effect the overall gameplay. For some, this won’t matter as long as the hard-earned cash remains tucked away in the wallet. For others, the cost of actually purchasing the game online or through offline retail outlets may justify the game’s pricetag.

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  • chaohsiangchen
    If ads can sustain a healthy gaming industry the way it sustains Fox, NBC, ABC and CBS, then I'd say that we should learn to live with it. Sure ads are annoying at times, but people need incentive to make games, otherwise we will only have a handful of graduate students in CS/EE trying to write half-assed programs in order to get their Ph.D. degree. There are a few great people who are dedicating to free software out there, and they indeed contributed a lot to open source community. However, most people have economic consideration and need to work hard to put food on their tables.
  • bf2gameplaya
    I still can't decide if intrusive marketing should be defined as consumer rape or creative parasitism.

    Either way, the market will show you just how much your game advertisements are worth to them: absolutely zero.
  • aziraphale
    I sure hope there will be some adblock feature for this...