Blizzard Adding In-game Advertising to Next-Gen MMO

OK, so this won't cut it

OK, this is not Diablo related but it’s pretty interesting. Blizzard are looking to NeoGaf for their next-gen MMO for a Franchise Development Producer.

In other words, someone to work with big brands to get their products into the game. Some of the job’s tasks include…

  • Work with major consumer brands to facilitate product placement and licensing within the world of Blizzard Entertainment’s next-gen MMO that enhances the gameplay experience.
  • Direct strategic analysis of market trends and competition.

We have discussed the ideas of product placement quite a few times over the years here on the site (here) and even Bobby Kotick stating Blizzard/Activision would not be placing ads into their games in “inappropriate ways”:

“There may be future opportunities where you might offer a consumer an advertiser-supported experience so they wouldn’t have to pay for it,” he continued. “But as long as our audience is paying $60 for a game or a subscription fee I think we’re going to limit the amount of advertising or sponsorship incorporated into a game.”

The next game could in fact include an additional  free to play model where there will be no subscriptions, it could be completely supported by advertising as Bobby hints at in his comments. Players who pay a monthly  subscription could avoid any advertising as part of the fee.

While ads for Doritos or the latest Toyota won’t cut it in the Diablo franchise, the job position indicates that the next-gen MMO (AKA Project DiabloWikiTitan) could be set in a modern-day or futuristic setting where in-game ads would not look out of place. It makes you wonder though, is there any product placement that could work in Diablo 3? Perhaps we’ll have to scale ‘Mount Dew’ at some point 😉

Thanks NeoGaf

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56 thoughts on “Blizzard Adding In-game Advertising to Next-Gen MMO

    • [tinfoilhat]
      I think it’s a sign of a mmo with 60$ box, 8$ subscription, micro transactions, in-game adds, buyable DLC and expansion packs you have to pay for in order to progress. Oh, and you can pay for power. The only company that could pull something like that, and people would still buy it. It pleases Bobby…
      Seriously though, if in game add make it “sort of F2P”, i’m fine with that.

      • Fanboys, housewives and 8 years old kids will definitely love the game.

        If there is something that I hate (more than item selling) is adds. No matter what they do its impossible for an add to not break immersion, even with products suitable for the game’s environment. In my opinion is more than obvious that Titan will have a RMAH and Blizzard will also probably follow this idea of in game adds with an option to pay a fee to remove them. There’s no way I’m playing a game like that, I’m glad GW2 will be released this year to fulfill my MMO needs for the next few years. (I quit WoW, SWTOR is lame and Titan will be an add festival)

  1. Hardly think so.

    And this is not news per say, its “known” that Blizzard wanted to explore this in Project Titan for some time now and some other things about Project Titan.

    • Like we all follow “news” about an unannounced game. :p

      Like others have said, if this is for a free-to-play model, go nuts. I lol’d at Mt. Dew.
      However, I don’t want to pay for a game and see this crap in there.

  2. I’m sorta ok with this but ONLY if its in the free 2 play edition. I don’t mind paying for my games, but I don’t want to see danish bad commercials for washing powder.

    This is a delicate thing, if it isn’t handled correctly it could be the start of the ending of Blizzards awesomeness.

    Interesting yet scary.

  3. Advertising doesn’t “enhance the gameplay experience” unless we’re talking real car models in a racing game. In fact, if the game is set in “the real world” they should go GTA/Robocop and have over the top satire “real” ads.

  4. “But as long as our audience is paying $60 for a game or a subscription fee I think we’re going to limit the amount of advertising or sponsorship incorporated into a game.”
    Notice it says “limit”, not “there won’t be any”.  Maybe i’m cynical but i could totally see them putting some product placement in a monthly sub mmo.  Just like you pay to go see a movie, pay again by watching previews, and then pay a 3rd time by watching product placement in the movie itself.

  5. Even worse, this could mean that there might be even different kinds of subscription such as the highest one (ex. 20$ per month) which doesn’t show you advertisements in game.

    So it’s a Sci-Fi MMO for sure… unless they’re going for a medieval castle full of anachronistic banner adds…

      • Because modern day doesn’t exist. It’s well known that every fiction in the world is set either in the future or in medieval times. Nothing else.
        If it’s modern day, then it’s not fiction, it’s a documentary. [/derp]

        • It could be modern day, but in a different dimension/realm. Even the games with stories that supposedly take place during medieval times are fictional for the most part. “Medieval” and “modern-day” are just settings for which a story may take place and not much more.

      • Because it’s Blizzard… the closest to modern day they came had alien orks…
        If it’s modern day one they’d be going way against type…
        On a related note, a Blackthorne MMO doesn’t sound that bad…

  7. “Blizzard are looking ..”
    so is that a British thing or what ?
    I’ve never heard anybody say  “Google are building improvements to its search” or “Apple are coming out with a new iPhone” 
    why does this site always use “Blizzard are” instead of “Blizzard is”

    • Hm… I never really noticed it as a big deal either way. A corporation is a singular entity but it is made up of many individuals, so I think it works both ways.

      • Grammatically, it does not work both ways in American or British English. It should be “Blizzard is…”

        • I think I may use “Blizzards is be looking….” next time. Try that one out. You like, yes? 😈

  8. I actually think that commercials could work well in many games. I mean, it’s pretty hard to imagine in a modern city with no commercials what so ever. So commercials could actually add to the atmosphare and create a more immersiv experience.

    Some games allready have fake commersials for fake products like GTA and Fallout 3 only for this purpose.

    • Well, if they follow how television series do it, it’s the freaking most stupid thing ever. At least in all I’ve seen, it’s totally on your face blatant advertising like “oh this crappy toyota beeps when I fart” and then proceeds to explain how the baddies are attempting to destroy the world.

  9. Wouldn’t be a huge deal if the MMO took place in a modern city environment since advertisements actually fit there. It’d definitely stand out if we saw McDonald’s ads in a medieval setting though.

  10. Looks like a Future MMORPGFPS in post-apocalyptic setting (like Fallout/Borderlands) using ingame billboards to advertise their other games.
    Atleast it’s my hope it’s MMO RPG FPS or something really next-gen (not made before) game.
    Well lemme just say now if it’s a Blizzard MMO don’t expect too much of the sick graphics… casuals need to run the game to on their wooden pc’s with dial-up 256kb modems.

  11. The cynical side of me envisions Mt Dew ads in the game. But the hopeful side of me thinks it just *sounds* really bad and it is just something like how they added Bejeweled into WoW.

    • Bejeweled in WoW? What? Are you talking about the fan-made add-on because that doesn’t count…

  12. Avertising might actually enhance a futuristic/steampunk setting. After all, the future in most dystopian scifi is a place where massive corporations rule the roost. What better way to set the mood than to creep the player out with real-world megacorp advertising? Pure genius.

    • And hey, if I can ignore advertising in the present time, you can sure as hell bet I can ignore it in a fictional futuristic setting!

  13. IDK, this could actually enhance the experience, depending on the game. If it´s something like near future (next 50 – 100 years or so) it would work awesomely. Imagine a Blade Runner like megalopolis, with flying cars and glass-covered building and millions of people (most of which would obviously be NPCs) . I think it would be greatly immersive to see some giant add, possibly in holographic tech, on a side of a building, or in thin air, while the darkness of the night is broken by light of thousands of city lamps and neon signs. Kinda like present day Toyko at night, except even cooler and with flying cars. Oh, imagine flying a flying car across one such megalopolis. I am getting giddy just thinking about it.

    EDIT: I meant Blade Runner, not Road Runner.

  14. Even without this tidbit I would expect Project Titan to be free-to-play.

    What upcoming MMO WILL NOT be free to play? WoW and SWTOR are probably it. Most will go $60 box copy + micro transactions ala GW2. Hell, not that it is an MMO, but D3 is F2P and I didn’t even pay for the box copy (1 year WoW deal). They make the assumption that I may RMAH, but nothing is holding me to those micro transactions/fees.

    • On console! Yeah I read that, too!
      My favorite part of the article is where they explicitly stated that the game will not only have glitter, but a sliding bar to determine how much glitter is displayed at any point in time.

  15. Hey Rush, the comment system here works just fine, but the comment system on the WoW site is some DISQUS or something that doesn’t work very well at all.  I haven’t seen a comment on a WoW news article in a long time.  Just thought you should know.

  16. I think it would be ok if they would just play commercials during any loading screen. Only if its free to play though.

  17. The “Mount Dew” statement made me laugh out loud. Now that I think about it, quite a few soft drinks and energy drinks could easily have their names incorporated into the Diablo universe. Of course, I’d rather that they are not.

  18. I can see it in Diablo 3, they will just call the high level legendary boots the “Air Jordans”. You could be wearing a pair of those and wielding the “Sears Craftsman War Hammer” and you’d be pwning everything….

  19. People, Blizz is a publicly traded company.  While most gamers only care about how the final game will play, they have more to worry about than just game development.  Things like logistics, politics, marketing and finances are all part of a bigger operation that Blizz is trying to run.  If adding ads to games is the next phase, then be it.  We deal with it in television all the time, yet people still pay $60/mo watching it.  Blizz is no longer a bunch of comp sci folks trying to make a game.  Those days are long gone.  It is only a matter of time before another smaller, hungrier startup makes a debut like WC2 did and take over the gaming scene.  This is a cycle that every industry goes through. 

  20. Why does everyone assume these ads will be commercials/banners/etc? If Titan is, indeed, set in a current/future times, what’s to say there won’t be billboards in the game? Or posters on the wall? I’d be perfectly fine with in-game advertising if it were like that, especially if it makes the game F2P.

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