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Spectre of in-game advertising looms

February 17th, 2006 :: General :: 9 Responses
IGA Adverts in Counter-Strike: Source
A sample of the in-game adverts run by IGA earlier in the year.

When they said “drive revenue”, I didn’t quite realise they had this in mind. IGA Worldwide made headlines around the web earlier this year when they began offering an service that added in-game adverts to the servers of their clients. This was all done without Valve’s blessing, a violation of the SSA, and it seemed that IGA had got themselves into a tricky position when Valve got on the case. But now it seems that things have gone the other way:

“Valve…and IGA…today announced an amicable resolution of differences regarding in-game advertising…This amicable resolution also absolves IGA’s advertisers and IGA’s advertising agencies from any liability. Valve and IGA have announced that they are pleased to have reached a swift and professional resolution of any issues that may have existed between them, IGA’s advertisers and IGA’s advertising agencies. Valve and IGA look forward to discussing mutually beneficial opportunities in the future.”

Cutting through the PR speak, it seems that Valve are going to be running experiments with in-game advertising, with Steam being the obvious platform for serving them. I trust anything Valve to implement to be tasteful, but if control is granted to server operators we can expect cash-farm servers to flood our browsers very quickly indeed.

It’s too early to make any concrete assertions of course – there might not even be any deal reached. We can only wait and hope that things don’t take a turn for the worse. And they needn’t: when properly applied, in-game adverts can add authenticity to a game world and pass price savings on to consumers.

9 Responses to this post:


  1. Ne0nguy Says:

    Hopefully Valve will give a list of ads to choose from and the server operators will select the ones they want on that server.

    I’m still a little confused on this topic if they are to be placed in the maps themselves won’t they have to re-make very map ever made?

    This is a neat idea but a lot of gamers are going to be very upset at this.

  2. Tom Edwards Says:

    Won’t they have to re-make very map ever made?

    No, that’s not necessary. IGA’s ads from January were done using sprays by the looks of things, and sprites can be inserted too.

  3. Garry Says:

    I don’t think it’s so bad, it’s not like they’re crazy distracting popups (yet).

  4. Wizpig64 Says:

    I wouldn’t mind some in-game ads in my games, as long as they don’t look like banner ads that look like they are straight from a banner ad. The Subway one for example is obviously cut and pasted in (using sprays, whatever). If game publishers are seriously considering this as an alternative to more expensive titles, they better look like they were made to be on that map. (An example would the Civilian Warthog from Halo 2, or the sponsors from SSX Snowboarding which are a part of the sport.)

  5. E. Nonee Moose Says:

    when properly applied, in-game adverts can add authenticity to a game world and pass price savings on to consumers

    But surely they can’t make such advertising mandatory, can they? I mean if I want to run a private server, I can’t be forced to include ads, can I? That would be crossing the line, I think.

  6. Tom Edwards Says:

    It depends on the implementation. If they are embedded in the map, you aren’t going to be able to remove them without covering them up with sprays or something. If they are added at runtime they will probably be optional for server operators.

    It’s entirely within Valve’s power to make them mandatory though, legally if not tastefully.

  7. Wizpig64 Says:

    Valve Settles Counter-Strike In-Game Ads Dispute

  8. FoundryWorker Says:

    Who the hell wants to look at ads when they’re playing? i can’t believe you people think that this is ok! I do my shopping in shops, buy what i need and thats that, i don’t want to walk around with my rocket launcher through the aisles of some friggin virtual store advertising useless crap that i’m trying to get away from by playing games in the first place.
    If it happens though im gonna be poppin a cap in anyone that spends even a split second looking at ads on the wall. Watch your back.

    NO ADS IN GAMES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  9. wizpig64 Says:

    it makes it cheaper silly

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