Test Drive Unlimited gets in-game ads

PC version of Atari's online racing game to feature billboards sponsored by Ben Sherman and Marc Ecko clothing, courtesy of IGA Worldwide.

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Atari has announced that the upcoming Test Drive Unlimited will feature in-game ads in the PC version. The game will connect online via IGA Worldwide's proprietary Radial in-game ad-serving network and pull dynamic billboard advertisements to use in the game.

Real-world advertisers already signed up to the service include Ben Sherman and Marc Ecko, who will receive dynamic updates of new billboard content across the game’s life span. This will "enrich gamers' experiences" according to Atari, while providing advertisers with online-style feedback on the consumption of their ads.

The game itself is set on the Hawaiian island of Oahu, with more than 100 licensed cars and more than 1,000 miles of terrain. Test Drive Unlimited also features online play, allowing people to challenge each other to races and start racing clans. The game will be out in September, and you can read our full preview here.

Discussion

68 comments
darkpresence
darkpresence

im not too crazy about the whole advertising deal that has slowly been gaining speed among developers to make extra cash and not passing it off to the consumer. though ill admit $40 for the PC version aint a bad price so perhaps Id tolerate a few ads in the game for paying $40 instead of $50. I still have some resentment to paying for a game that has ads in it and not seeing a dramatic drop in price to make me happy. worse case scenerio u pass the game on and go to a game you feel deserves your money and respect.

Bionicleman05
Bionicleman05

In-games adds huh? Well okay, but please let it come in a variety. It's pretty tiring seeing the same things over and over. Also "Icedbasite", they won't allow playboy adds in this game because it's a general rated game, and doing this will destroy our kids society and cause a large number of angry parents and conservatives. I know what your thinking, so don't say it.

Dylanskates
Dylanskates

This game sounds very crazy and outrageous. Im just worried about it being over rated.

icedbasite
icedbasite

i don't care about ads on billboards, as long as they aren't nvidia logos, cuz i'm tired of seeing them. p.s.: they should have playboy ads!! imagine that, a whole bunch of online people going to a billboard to see the lady strippin

crxlancer144
crxlancer144

Ads on billboards is a great idea, that will lead to better servers and more bandwith.

xnexus3372x
xnexus3372x

i like the half porno boards in True Crime lol...they are ones that boost the gaming experience as well as a good way to get slapped by the wife @ home. :)

sean4566
sean4566

If it lowers the cost of the game go for it...

panthols29
panthols29

If the adds will change the cost of the game (ie: $40 instead of $60) and remain unobtrusive then that is fine by me. I wouldn't care too much about seeing an still billboard for an online store or something similar, just as I wouldn't mind seeing a Pepsi or Coke vending machine in FEAR or another current day FPS. As long as it isn't something that doesn't fit in and screams out "this is an add, look here" then I don't see what the issue is. In Tomb Raider: Legend you rely on a PDA that is a brand name. This is in-game advertisement, but I don't think it affects the gameplay other than in a positive way (more realism). Another direction I can see is in MMORPG's. If you could opt to see adds during the loading screens instead of gameplay pictures/art for a reduction in the monthly fee then I'd be all for it. Either way, this will work itself out. Games with obtrusive adds will be ignored by most gamers, or we will find a workaround to the adds. The companies that are paying X amount of money to have their adds displayed will hopefully realise that people are bypassing this and stop advertising in this way. For now I would consider updating billboards about as big of an issue as the fact that I am driving a car made by the company Lamborghini and that may make me want to buy one. But for the people who have issues with this, I'm sure you will be able to find a workaround or patch to stop the billboards and have a nice big rectangular grey space instead of a realistic looking billboard in your game.

Nvalle1022
Nvalle1022

I dont mind the ads at all. Plus its only on the PC version because they will use the revenue to pay for the online mulitplayer bandwith. Xbox 360 wont have it because you already pay for acess with Xbox Live. Id rather see a few real life ads in my game then have to pay to play online

Diablo6o
Diablo6o

this game better be super cheap

superbrett2000
superbrett2000

I can't imagine that anybody's gaming experience of racing down an open road at 200 kph fender to fender with other racers is going to be destroyed by a billboard that whooshes off the screen in about two seconds. ---------- For me, most of it is just the idea of having advertising crammed down our throats with no restitution. I expect that if I am going to have advertising, I get something back in the form of a super cheap game. Unfortunately, I have visions of advertising invading the games while still paying $50 to $60. Am I the only one who sees something wrong with that? The advertising invasions will probably only make it easier to choose which games are good and which to avoid. IMO, the Test Drive series has always been terrible. So the fact that it has advertising doesnt surprise me that much. I would expect quality games with high production values such as MGS, FF, or Halo to remain ad free. My thought is that if a game needs to use advertising to generate cash, then it probably wasnt that good to begin with.

cesarotromundo
cesarotromundo

well. i hated the demo anyways, so I dont really care.

theKSMM
theKSMM

I can't imagine that anybody's gaming experience of racing down an open road at 200 kph fender to fender with other racers is going to be destroyed by a billboard that whooshes off the screen in about two seconds.

rattyocaster
rattyocaster

Well all the Need for Speed Underground and later games so far have had advertising, whether it be the decals that most of the in game cars have plastered all over them. I would find it highly amusing if in test drive they put stickers in the back windows of none racing cars that say a radio station name! As for posters and billboards...games have had them for years, the only difference is that in Test drive someone comes round and takes the old ones down and puts new ones up, like in the really real world...I wonder if they'll add the detail that over time the bilboards and posters fade due to the sun beating down on them? As everyone else is saying, I don't want them in other games unless it's to make a point, like Tactical Ops: Crossfire, there's a city map in there, in which a couple of realistic posters wouldn't go a miss. Hell a whole new style could be set up, such as while you're driving down a street in a computer game, the street is lined with stores which are realistically named. Then while you're cruising round the outskirts of a city you see massive superstores like Wal-mart. Since it's something you see day in and day out in real life...you won't even think "Grr, this advertising is annoying", you just think "just another supermarket". If it's done like that, then you're brain will just think "Oh, sign with Wonderbra ad on it. Bus shelter with Coke ad in it " *Smash* "Windscreen covered in broken bus shelter and coke ad..."

gibb1
gibb1

i don't care about the ads...

Morias-Skult
Morias-Skult

Yeah why not i can understand advertising being in the game and there are always ads for something in most games even if its real or fake just hope they dont start messing up the experience, i dont want master chief start singing "put the lime in the coke you nut" everytime i look at him

ewjim
ewjim

I never try'd out Test Drive and i can't play online now...

alberto2045
alberto2045

thats what am talking about test drive unlimited is cool

SnuffDaddyNZ
SnuffDaddyNZ

Speaks of the quality of the game really. Although they did say that you'd be able to buy Ecko branded clothing in the game, so in a perverted sense those advert's would add some realism to the gameworld. I've played a fair bit of the 360 demo released during E3 and I think from that they have a bit of work to do, like removing or fixing the motion blur and in general the game needs a bit of beautifying as it's detailed yet bland looking. Also due to the freeform nature of the game, while driving offroad I ended up inside a property that I could not exit from, and pressing the button to return to the road didn't work.

Maquis_UK
Maquis_UK

Nintendo = no in-game ads. sweeeeet. Atari can kiss my money bye-bye.

marc_man3001
marc_man3001

10 years later...pop up blockers for games release o.O

Manatassi
Manatassi

Azplaya: Yup I'm agreed on that one as long as people dont cross the line I have no problem with ads where you would expect them in real situations anyway.

AzPlaya
AzPlaya

What's the big deal with this? They're using real-life cars...why not use real-life ads? It makes the game cheaper, gives the developers more money to mess with, and isn't obtrusive at all. Although Raimei has an awesome point. I'm just speaking in general. I actually enjoyed finding the McDonald's in Las Vegas in PGR3. In Rainbow Six Vegas, I expect a crapload of ads, just because hey, it's Vegas! In first-party games, though, like Halo 3, Too Human, Fable 2, I expect to see 0 ads. Same thing for any of the first parties, except for realistic, right-now-this-day type games like racers. I think ads are kinda enjoyable find.....only if they are correctly implimented, like in PGR3 and Splinter Cell.

XY12Burnz
XY12Burnz

Next it'll be perform a babality in Mortal Kombat, and a Huggies ad will pop up.

johnusabeis
johnusabeis

as long as it stays on the billboards then i dont see a major problem.

Raimei
Raimei

Do the developers for this game realize that the real life Hawaii has an anti-billboard law? There are virtually no billboards in Hawaii. After all, Hawaii is suppose to be paradise. Billboards are eyesores...

Agent_023
Agent_023

These are the times when I don't mind ads in games. In a game like Test Drive the ads will just serve to add realism to the game. If you were driving through the real life Hawaii you'd see billboards with ads wouldn't you? So in a type of game such as this, I personally welcome ads. More realism for me (as long as it's not overdone), and the developer/publisher make more money to help make more great games. Everyone wins. Now if you were to stick ads for say Gatorade in a game like Oblivion, now we've got a problem.

superbrett2000
superbrett2000

Well, unless this game is retailing for $10 to $15, I can safely cross this off my potential game purchase list. EDIT ==== I found this quote rather funny from the article: "This will "enrich gamers' experiences" according to Atari" I've never found anything enriching about having advertising shoved down my throat.

NeoJedi
NeoJedi

In game advertising is expanding... alot.

skemaal
skemaal

So...uh....does that mean, since advertisers are paying to put ads in games, the game will be cheaper. Haha, that was funny of me...

NeuralizR
NeuralizR

Ya know, the ads don't bother me. What bothers me is that this game sucks. :x The driving control is aweful, the graphics don't look anything like any of the next gen racers.. it's just... bleh.

Talldude80
Talldude80

this doesnt surprise me. They've had in game ads for years. My first memory would be in Jet Moto for Ps1. They had team butterfinger and mountain dew. The game was fun, so i didnt really care about the adds on the tracks and the sponsored teams. I kinda like the FAKE ads in GTA though. They are way better than real ads, but dont make Rockstar any $.

dark_xaero
dark_xaero

People are forgetting that this game's MP will play like a MMO game with a lot of people on one server.So I guess to make it free, they are doing this.

mrjasler23
mrjasler23

for a racing game it makes sense to have ads, in the real world there is ads all over the place and if a game like test drive is trying to emulate the real world environment in hawaii then having ads makes sense. As long as they don't go overboard with them. If you were say building a racetrack in timesquare new york, there should be adverts everywhere.. games like total war and virtua fighter shouldn't have adverts in them. Believe it or not adverts like coca cola add colour and realism to a racing game, having a glowing animated coca cola sign would look awesome in a test drive game at night time. I know the hardcore gamers are against ads because you don't want adverts taking over games becoming annoying like they are on the internet. If they are going to be done, it has to be done realistically.

stryker1234
stryker1234

WAHHH 'i hate ads blah blah' cry more about it, if i had the company and the money, i'd put my ad in one of the biggest things going on right now. games. who cares. you'll be flying past those billboards at 150mph + quit crying about it and just accept it.

vaejas
vaejas

Woohoo! Now I have EVERY reason to buy a tired franchise. How's that for online-style feedback?

chrisdojo
chrisdojo

they will be a blur if it's a true racing game (and not like GT)

titomag
titomag

simple, i will just a firewall or those online security software that has norton to block this stuff lol

EndersAres
EndersAres

Lame. This is one of the most shameful things a developer can do to a game.

smur1701
smur1701

"enrich gamers' experiences"??? Haven't even seen it yet and the whole idea is a turnoff. "while providing advertisers with online-style feedback on the consumption of their ads. " - And that pisses me off. I am not here to provide anything to anyone other than a good time gaming. If there is going to be paid advertisements it better affect the price to play.

Ohidjwae
Ohidjwae

I say bring on the ads but bring DOWN the price of the games along with them. Of course, if the games don't fit the genre/setting of the game, then it's just stupid. Really though, there's not going to be much the end-user can do about it, apart from workarounds that disable the ads entirely.

blackIceJoe
blackIceJoe

I really could care less if there are ads or no ads all that ads do is give the makers of the game more money to use on this game or games to come.

dwmorrow
dwmorrow

On one hand, ads in games like Test Drive don't bother me much because they add realism to the experience. On the other hand, unless I'm getting a discount on the cost of the game (or getting to play it for free), I don't expect to see ads. And ads would definitely ruin the experience of a fantasy RPG or something like that. If you dislike the idea of in-game ads, vote with your wallet and do not buy these games.

danielsmith2020
danielsmith2020

I only agree with adds in games if it doesn't detract from the experience, so no adds in loading screens. However if there done so it's like the real world then I dont mind, so billboards at junctions and besides highways I don't mind, As long as they don't constantly appear in places where they shouldn't then I'm for it.

cqdemal
cqdemal

Simple roadside adboards are okay. More than that, and someone's going to burn for it.

Zoidster
Zoidster

I can see some security issues arising from this in the future - a game requesting and sending data to an Advertising server is never a good thing. Hope we can block it.