Ads. Expect more of them. Many more, from billboards to product placements. Stephen Totilo at the mtvblog has some frightening information about that.

Yeah, all the big publishers are looking for ways to suck up more bucks through advertising. Most of the focus is on “modern” type games, such as sports, war, and the like.

Fantasy games, not so much. After all, you wouldn’t drop into the local tavern for a cold Pepsi, as one ad rep noted. But that doesn’t let RPG players off the hook. Blizzard is bringing ads to Battlenet, although not (so far) in-game.

The only suggestion I actually liked was ‘More destructible ads as blown up in “Mercenaries 2“’. That’s the spirit! Get rid of the obnoxious things. First, though, write down the product, so you’ll know which one to not buy in real life.

So is this stuff effective? Hard to say offhand. The Massive rep (Massive, the ad agency owned by Microsoft) related how a Subway (the sandwich company) sign in “MLB 2K8” caused players to send a text message to Subway for a free game hint. Whether any of those players subsequently bought a sandwich from a Subway shop isn’t noted.

Nonetheless, effective or not, this is the way the industry is going. Once we stepped out of the 8-bit world, it was all downhill.

Publishers Who Want More Ads In Video Games