Spectre of in-game advertising looms
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.