Gearbox President on “Game Ads Done Right”


Randy Pitchford, President of Gearbox software is clearly sick of being attacked over the company’s announcement of incorporating in-game advertisements into future products. He has good reason to be, if the company follows what he has outlined in his blog. He admits that players have right to be angry at the companies that exploit ads which negatively effect gameplay (ahem. EA). However he does something really cool, and actually proves to players that ads can be incorporated in games and keep with the gameplay and style. In this case, the image above is a screen shot of their upcoming game Brothers in Arms: Hell’s Highway. Yeah, the Philips logo is there and fits the scenery well, “What is so cool about that?”, one might ask. Well, it’s actually historicially accurate, and no I’m not lying (unless of course Pitchford is).

The man then goes on to note a few cases of great advertising,

  • Toy Story: The movie was better and more authentic because Mr. Potato Head was one of the toys, not in spite of it. The Pixar guys rule and do a great job, we respect them a lot! We respect their decision to use a few real toys in Toy Story – we don’t hate them for it!
  • Cast Away: Tom Hanks’ character worked for FedEx. That was much more authentic than if he worked for some fictional over-night air delivery service.
  • Super Monkey Ball: The bananas have the Dole sticker! I thought that was cool and funny, not cheap or sucky. It felt natural and was a nice detail that added character. It did not feel like an advertisement that was exploiting me.

And you know what? He’s right. I definitely think that having Mr. Potato Head in Toy Story really added something to the film. I was apprehensive at first about in-game advertisements taking hold, but if developers can utilize opportunities like this and learn when ads simply do not apply then I can actually see them becoming viable. What about you? Hate ads no matter how they are implemented or not even bothered by them? Let us know what you think!

[See also: Brothers in Arms Hell’s Highway gallery]