I recently did a reskin for a new CGI movie which we're not actually allowed to take credit for due to the nature of the contract ( It's a project which filtered down a couple of agencies before landing in my inbox ) so I can't link to it without giving it away, or even mention that it involved both Aliens and Monsters ( If you follow us on twitter you'll see I've been a bit less subtle there ).
I noticed yesterday that it's been posted to gameJacket, so thinking the worse I fired off an email to which I got a good prompt reply from Simon. Long story short, it turns out Rubber Republic have been contracted by Dreamworks to distribute the game and they're using gameJacket to do so.
Perhaps it's just me, and I'm being naive ( I've been shocked in the past, and still am now and again, about the size of the budget for paid placements. I live in a nice little garden where viral games sit on their own nice custom webpage and people just swap emails about them based on their actual merit as a means of entertainment until they get a nice lot of traffic and everyone's happy. I fear the busy road outside that is all about paying to put a game in the #1 spot on high traffic portals ) but it just doesn't sit too well with me.
An adver-game supported by adverts just feels overly cheap. I've had this before with Brain Voyage, and I really fought against that at the time ( Obviously I lost ).
If you're using a game to sell a product, then surely the game itself should be enough without further ( And random ) advertising before it, that just dilutes the message and to me cheapens the end title.
I think it's because advertising is such a common way to pay for the development of a game that when you see it in any game you naturally assume the same. So when you see a game by Eidos or Dreamworks promoting their IP it gives the same impression, that the games development costs need to be recouped by advertising other products. That's not a great impression to give out.
We don't have ads on here or the site for that very same reason. It's not that we're rolling in cash, it's just that the returns vs the perceived loss of quality to the site massively outweigh each other. We've even been asked to do sponsored articles, but unless it's enough money so we can ignore the feeling of being dirty, then what is the point ?
We pride ourselves on producing the very best work we can, dependant on the budget / timescales / project scope, and I think for the most part we hit that self imposed target. We want our work to be presented in the best light possible, so why don't companies like Dreamworks and Eidos, who at the end of the day are IP driven, feel the same ?
Ok here's what I'd like to do, follow me with this. I'm going to set up a fictional game called "Mackerel Queef" and buy advertising space on mochi and gJ
I think that's subtle enough. Now I'm not really going to do this, it was partly just an excuse for more dirty words on here, but it is kinda related to the point I'm trying to make.
If I was Dreamworks and I was advertising a family movie, I wouldn't want "Mackerel Queef" ( I've used it again 'cause I want this site to be the number one on google for "as3 fps counter and queefs" ) being promoted in the same breath never mind being seen as earning money from it.
Ok the ad networks are more responsible than that ( And I'm really not critising them, they've made Flash a viable development platform for a lot of people which is only a good thing ) but it shows the lack of control you have over such things.
I guess it all boils down to the figures. If you've commissioned $x worth of game I assume there's someone working out the cost per set of eyes viewing it ( A figure I found for cpm on prime time tv in 2002 is $17.78. Imagine getting that rate from mochi ) so to be able to turn around to your boss and say "$x worth of game was viewed by x million people which works out at $0.0x per person" then I guess your boss doesn't give a shit if it was at the expense of people watching an ad for "Mackerel Queef" first.
Maybe paid placements are a better way of making the whole seeding process feel less cheap. At least then your game is treated more like the art it is rather than as a product like a tin of beans.
Maybe the ad networks who have a great seeding process in place could offer it as an ad free service ? It'll be cheaper than paid placements for the clients, they get to drop a "Distributed by..." in there and it'll make the end game look a lot more on brand and less turned around for the minimum cost possible.
Maybe, but it's not going to happen is it. So developers like us, like you, will be working 'til 2am to meet the deadline and to just force that last bit of love into a project to really make it shine, only to see it a week later on some no-name portal with the size tags in the html wrong ( And a "Play it full-screen" option there, even though it will look and play shit like that ) and an ad at the start.