NCsoft Double Fuses ads into COH

Optional dynamic advertisements for superhero-themed MMOG will take the place of pre-existing fictitious billboards sometime this summer.

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Double Fusion has been busy lately. Last week, the in-game ad providers became a tool in Gearbox's belt, saying it would provide dynamic and static adverts for unspecified games. Today, Double Fusion said it would be extending its partnership with NCsoft to include the Korea-based publisher's popular superpowered massively multiplayer online game City of Heroes. NCsoft has previously signed Double Fusion to serve ads for free-to-play MMOGs Exteel and Dungeon Runners.

Before.

Gamers are understandably touchy about having their favorite real-world escape intruded upon by advertisers. Similar to how Gearbox president Sandy Pitchford handled the dilemma, NCsoft NorCal general manager Brian Clayton addressed what the deal means for gamers on the developer's Web site. First and foremost, Clayton stressed that the in-game ads are optional, and can be switched on or off at the discretion of the end user.

"I want to make it very clear that we are not 'forcing' in-game ads upon our players," said Clayton. "Thus, the word 'optional' is of key importance. None of our players have to change their game experience in any way if that's what they prefer. All that you need to do is opt-out via the Options menu in the game."

After.

As for the ads themselves, Clayton said that they will be contextually relevant and initially only occupy billboards that are already taken up by fictitious advertisements. The first run of adverts are expected to turn up this summer after content update Issue 12, and Clayton said the team will be monitoring how they impact the game. If all goes well, Clayton said NCsoft may explore other ad-serving venues, as well as potentially convert the billboard space to exhibit user-created artwork.

So why should users not opt out? Clayton explains: "All ad revenue dollars go directly to the further development of the game, which means more great content than ever before! As we have made it pretty clear lately, with the acquisition of City of Heroes from Cryptic Studios last November, we are entering a major phase of reinvestment for the game (and brand). Our development costs are ramping up in a major way as we look to literally double the team this year to accommodate big plans for the short, medium and long term."

Discussion

30 comments
LURKEN999
LURKEN999

This sounds like a good thing, more money for NCsoft, players get real ads instead of the fake ones...

KhanhAgE
KhanhAgE

What is so strange about seeing advertisements on billboards? It's acceptable in a real world city, why not in a virtual world city? This is as long as they don't go overboard with it. You don't want to be running into adverts at every turn.

tylea002
tylea002

I would be against it, cause I loved cryptics billboards. But in the state of the game, I'd do anything for more activity.

NandoSupes
NandoSupes

I don't see a problem with this period. the theme of the game validates it .is a city . I can understand in a mediaval setting sure.I don't want to see an Orc running thru the woods and find a sign that says( obey your thirst Sprite!!!),I dont think so. .but CoH is a city,theres bilboards signs in cities, they are part of it. if anything the ads will make it look more realistic.I play CoH and they dont' charge for any new content,unlike other MMO's,you have to pay for the expansions,plus a monthly fee,and yes Coh has a monthly fee, but guess what, CoH expansions are FREE they are called Issues you don't have to buy an expansion every year or whatever,so no I don't mind. thats how we get new content,but if ads brings more money to develop more features for the game, this is good for me as a CoH player, and for all players the long run.

Anofalye
Anofalye

As long as the ads are in "harmony" with where they are put. Glowing pink-neon would be annoying.

Dualmask
Dualmask

I don't see why this should bother the players. They pay to play anyway and it is a supposedly modern-age city. Fake ads, real ads, what's the big deal? I could see if they were poorly placed; no one wants to see an ad for Sprite in a military-themed shooter taking place in some desert battlefield, I suppose, but in a sort of realistic city with billboards and posters and everything already there? And it doesn't cost the players anything extra? I just don't see what the problem would be.

joeyfine
joeyfine

i am ok with billboards in big city games like COH. it makes sense. big city!

uberjannie
uberjannie

I dont buy games with ads anymore. Just like rainbow six vegas. AXE commercial all over the place, sure it makes things look genuine, but I dont want to pay to see ads. At least, if there is ads the game should be cheaper. If they do not discontinue this new tradition with ads in fully priced games, im going to become a pirate. Yarr harr diddelidy

chikahiro94
chikahiro94

@bonesmofo Those won't earn money. I do like that they're going to have community stuff up in the billboards too, though. It'd be nice if they can determine which server things go on - a costume contest on Virtue, PVP tournament on Pinnacle, etc.

bonesmofo
bonesmofo

Instead of putting in company ad's- how about more spoof ad's? Or slogan ad's by the main toons?

chikahiro94
chikahiro94

@shade1978x Fair enough. I've been playing for over 2 years myself. Its a personal taste thing, so no biggie (can't stand WOW myself, for example). I'm looking forward to Champions and hope that they've got Jack Emmert (aka Statesman) on a short leash - he got a bit too nerf-happy before leaving the COH team.

Wedge55
Wedge55

I bet you this is NCSoft's first step torwards turning CoH into a free-to-play game with microtransactions. Personally I am looking forward to Cryptic's new game, Champions Online. Best feature: no NCSoft.

DiscGuru101
DiscGuru101

@shade1978x: A few of the servers are reaching record numbers of people online at once. CoH is far from dead, but still, it should cost less per month.

DiscGuru101
DiscGuru101

-Drop the monthly fee down to $9.95 if you are going to do this.

shade1978x
shade1978x

@Chikahiro I played a few years ago for 2 months before being bored out of my mind. Then I played for about a week a year later and it was still boring. I went back and played for a few days after another year. Then, a few months ago I played for a few hours. I only paid for two months of subscriptions after I initially bought the game, then I sold it and my account on eBay. On subsequent play periods, it was from free trials. After playing games like Crysis, Bioshock, The Orange Box, Call of Duty 4, .etc, I literally cringed after I loaded up City of Heroes. I played for a few hours before I couldn't take it anymore and un-installed it again. Horrible game, in my opinion, which is why is only gets the discarded crumbs in relation to the four-star menu that World of Warcraft gets, and I don't even play WOW. I do, however, have great hopes for Champions, the upcoming superhero game from Cryptic. I just can't stand the treadmill-effect of old-school MMOs.

Adam_the_Nerd
Adam_the_Nerd

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

ctg867
ctg867

Like I said a million times, in game advertisting is bad unless: -The game is cheaper because of it, or the is substantially and noticeably more content in the game or -It fits the atmosphere and the environment well, it doesn't stick out any more then anything else, it doesn't bother me, and it doesn't take me out of the experience at all. Unless one of these two conditions are met, I will not purchase the game, end of story. And I recommend you do the same.

chikahiro94
chikahiro94

@shade When did you play last and for how long? Things have changed a lot just in the past year. And COH is one of the more successful non-WOW MMO's out there.

shade1978x
shade1978x

I guess they need all the funding they can get. The game is dull and unplayable as it is, so why not make a little change by letting Pepsi shovel their wares out onto the handful of people who play COH.

chikahiro94
chikahiro94

"I also expect most current subscribers would opt-out as well. Can't see this as a good thing for NCsoft in the long run." I and most of the people I play with are not going to opt-out given the stated method of advertising and benefits. We want that additional money coming into NCSoft's development of City of Heroes! NCSoft is really being experimental with revenue streams, and that's a good thing - right now COH is already using a hybrid subscription plus microtransactions (transfers, renames, GVE pack, Wedding pack, soon character slots), and COH is one of the few games that can get away with these kinds of ads without breaking immersion (unlike WOW). The Villain Epic AT's are an issue early (i12 instead of i13) because of the money the Wedding pack sales brought in, and I've never heard any developer say they have too much money or other resources. If the advertising can bring in a decent amount per month? Great! More money for development and making COH even better than it already is without raising subscription costs or players paying out of pocket. Its a good idea with great potential.

S2333
S2333

I liked the game and I saw the billboards and everything and I don't think I would really look at the ads a heap. I wouldn't really care myself, they aren't obtrusive and it all goes towards the games development. I still found the game too repetitive for me.

ctifer1
ctifer1

It's not going to get me to stop playing, but I love the last sentence. If Issue 11 and the upcoming Issue 12 are any signs, CoH/CoV players are in for a treat in the coming months.

Gruug
Gruug

I have mixed feeling on this. I have played COH/COV via free-trial. I have considered signing up and subscribing. I don't know that this particular venue is the one to put ads into though. The idea of a non-real world setting being peppered with real-world ads doesn't go very far to immerse me into this particular game. The opt-out would be the way I would go in this case. I also expect most current subscribers would opt-out as well. Can't see this as a good thing for NCsoft in the long run.

The_SandRock
The_SandRock

"Death_Masta187 This is a way of doing in game ads.. another way is to have players that don't opt-out pay less..." I agree with you it's a good idea to... ALL GLORY TO THE HYPNOTOAD

60fps
60fps

I wish it was full of ads and the game was free.

dn3datomiced
dn3datomiced

Being able to opt out? Cool. Having ads in the city, though, doesn't seem like a bad idea this time. Odd. Maybe I'm just bored of seeing the Crey ads.

RoyTheViking
RoyTheViking

I wouldn't mind seeing ads in game. It would make the city more real.

Diablo2343
Diablo2343

i would be in total favor if it cost less.

Death_Masta187
Death_Masta187

This is a way of doing in game ads.. another way is to have players that don't opt-out pay less...