Gearbox defends in-game ads

Studio president Randy Pitchford insists the company won't turn Brothers-in-Arms into a commercial battlefield.

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Earlier this week, developer Gearbox and in-game ad firm Double Fusion announced a partnership to explore advertising opportunities for the studio's upcoming games. While reader reaction wasn't entirely negative, there was no shortage of such sentiments as, "Ads have no place in games, period," or, "In-game advertising's victories are gamers' losses in the long run."

Concerned by the response to the announcement, Gearbox president Randy Pitchford today posted a blog entry addressing the company's approach to in-game advertising and assuring players that it would not be allowed to detract from upcoming projects.

"The smart and successful advertisers' goal is for you to trust and respect them," Pitchford wrote. "If their ads invade or injure our entertainment, we get angry and reject them. If, however, something feels natural and unintrusive, they get the value they were looking for...So, please don't judge us by the fact that some folks out there do it wrong and with exploitation as their key driving factor. This is not our motivation or intent. Don't judge us based on fears that may not turn out to be true."

Pitchford said that Gearbox hasn't committed to in-game advertising for any of its upcoming titles and that the deal will only allow Double Fusion to contact the studio with proposals. Furthermore, he said any possible deal would need to benefit the game, whether through increased authenticity (like vintage corporate logos on historically accurate factories in Brothers-in-Arms), increased budgets to make better games, or out-of-game promotion, such as the Halo-themed Mountain Dew flavor.

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