Games

Sony patent could see games interrupted by compulsory ads

Sony patent could see games in...
Sony Computer Entertainment America has filed a patent that could see video games interrupted by compulsory advertising
Sony Computer Entertainment America has filed a patent that could see video games interrupted by compulsory advertising
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Sony Computer Entertainment America has filed a patent that could see video games interrupted by compulsory advertising
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Sony Computer Entertainment America has filed a patent that could see video games interrupted by compulsory advertising

Sony Computer Entertainment America has filed a patent that could see video games interrupted by compulsory advertising. The patent's abstract describes the suspension of "interactive content" in order to display an advertisement, after which interaction resumes.

The patent suggests that a new mode of in-game advertising is under consideration, which to date has seen visual advertising and product placement appearing in games without overtly interfering with play. The development hints that, in future, in-game advertising may adopt a model much closer to commercial television.

The patent, filed July and granted November of last year, goes into more detail about how this would affect the user experience. The filing suggests that gamers could be warned of an impending advertisement by a warning message, or by slowing down gameplay. The filing also suggests that game content could effectively be rewound at or prior to the end of the ad, presumably in an attempt to ready up the player in case the gameplay broke off at a critical point.

Online multiplayer games are specifically mentioned, confirming that Sony is at least considering the approach to both online and offline games. During online games, the patent has clauses for the display of the same advertisement to all users simultaneously, and different adverts for one or more players.

In addition to the "video game consoles" mentioned in the patent, it is also applicable to computers, TVs, DVD and DVR players as well as home media servers.

Though the patent exists it is impossible to say how widely this mode of advertising is likely to be applied.

Source: US Patent & Trademark Office, via Digital Spy

56 comments
Michael Simpson
This is the worst idea I have heard of lately, as a gamer if this were to take off I would boycott the game! Is there no sanctuary left where we are free from blatant advertising. Advertise somewhere else, do not interrupt any games!! M
Catti
If this really goes though, I would stop buying and playing games. It's not worth playing a game if you will end up watching more advertisements, than actual play. People spend too much money on a game to sit and watch advertisements. I gotta say that is the stupidest idea ever. If this goes through I'm more than happy to switch over to another console just to get rid of the advertisements.
Mike Daniels
Totally agree with Simpson. If this were to actually happen I think I'd just stop playing games all together. Probably work in my favour as I'd get off my ass more often. lol
Quackula
If I have to watch a commercial during an online game that I am paying for you can forget it. I will stop buying.
Onihikage
If this starts becoming common in new games, expect the industry to die as old (non-advertising) games see a surge in popularity. Showing an ad during a loading screen MAY BE acceptable, but any interference with actual gameplay is sheer lunacy.
Shawn Sieben
Although I am not really for it, I'm sure this is more for Free-to-play games then for paid ones. This has already been implemented on some PC game services before (which makes this patent some strange), and the games were free as long as you watched the ads.
L1ma
There is no end to industry evils, invasive drm, online activation, content management, endless issues of beta software. Forgotten is the concept that a product must be fit for purpose and when it is sold - not rented - then rights are transferred to the new owner. When you buy your DVD/CD it is therefore a finished product which a should not require a third party app such as steam to function, you should not have to create an account with that 3rd party to get your software to function, and that third partys software should not stop your product from running; if there is bundled more than 1 ELUA's which even the best legal professionals have trouble with they should be invalidated because your contract was with the seller. For instance many packages require flash, however you do not have to create an account with adobe to use your packages, gamespy arcade is bundled with games to stop online fraud and cheating but can not be installed and the game will still function offline.
MisterH
Will the volume be louder during the adverts just like on TV? Will there eventually be more adverts than game? How about the little spinning black and white box in the top corner that lets you know you are about to be interrupted so you can wait before making a risky move or land safely etc? Presumably this will need a connection to the internet to keep the Adverts contemporary and enable billing/tracking so surely, pulling out the network cable would stick a fork in this idea... but then you won't be able to play online games, or games that require online verification/licensing. If this EVER gets introduced into games it will only be good for indie developers. No advertising there.
GvillaThrilla
The only way I can see this being accepted is if they use paid advertisements instead of a loading screen. When the game shows you a meaningless screenshot of an obscure scene on the map and a loading bar is at the bottom. I could do without that screen shot and would be okay with an advertisement there (or in the lobby of COD/BF3 while waiting for server changes and new people to enter the room). Both of those are wasted time where the developer isn't giving you any new information and the audience is semi captive. Win Win for both if they'll drop the price of subscriptions or games based on whether or not you "opt-in" for the advertisement.
VoiceofReason
Wow. That will kill the gaming industry. Not only do they charge $40-60 per game, but I have to watch commercials. NOT HAPPENING. First time that happens will be the last game I buy from that company.