Pay Monthly To Be Bombarded With In-Game Audio Ads



A would-be challenger to the massively multiplayer online game kingdom ruled by World of Warcraft, All Points Bulletin has already got the market leader beat in one department: annoying advertising.

The game is geared to stuff audio ads down the throat of users every time they enter a new district, Big Download reports. This sort of thing would be acceptable in a free-to-play title or advergame, but seems audacious in something that charges users $10 a month to play.

The first 50 hours of play are included with the $50 game.

APB to feature in-game audio ads [Big Download via Game Informer]


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  1. Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

    To be fair, $10 a month is cheaper than World of Warcraft. But I imagine also not as good a game.

    • grumblingmumbles says:

      I played a bit of the beta, and it was basically GTA, except its the same 10 missions over and over.

      The one thing it did have that I really thought was a great idea was it used to stream music when you drove around

    • banane says:

      The beta to me felt like a cross between GTA and playing CoD with 14 year old kids. Nothing I need to pay a monthly fee for.

    • Pax says:

      I tried the beta.

      Much too PvP-centric for my tastes, and therefor, the rest of the game felt a bit shallow to me.

      Certainly, I’d never pay $10/month for the game, even if PvP were my “thing”.

  2. pantheonoutcast says:

    Has there ever been any conclusive study on the long-term financial effect of advertising? I know that sounds like a broad study, but with the overreaching arm of ads in almost every possible type of media, I would think that most people would be desensitized to them by now; personally whenever I hear an ad, a commercial, or other such marketing tool, I either leave the room, change the station, or divert my attention for 30 seconds.

    I suppose it’s working on some level, otherwise ads wouldn’t be so prevalent, but at what point do the advertisers reach the point of diminishing returns?

    • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

      Assuming that the fact they still exist proves they work is a bit fallacious. I agree with you that massive advertising so prevalent in today’s society desensitizes us. I flat out ignore most forms of advertising. I’ll watch cute commercials and remember what was funny about them but can’t remember what the product was. I’ll zone out nearly any printed advertising.

      The only thing ads do for me is to show me your product exists. But that is probably just as important as trying to convince me your product is worth it.

      I’m reminded of the Ricky Gervais movie ‘The Invention of Lying’ with the Pepsi ad on a bus that simply said, “Pepsi – When There Isn’t Coke.” It was short, simple, let me know there product, and also let me know when I needed their product. Perfect.

    • rpm773 says:

      I’ve wondered the same thing.

      I’ve also mused about there being a day that someone in some small corner of the industry learns that indeed no one actually pays attention to this stuff, which very quickly starts a chain reaction that leads to everything crashing down, a la the tech and housing bubbles.

    • YouDidWhatNow? says:

      My own experience is generally that every time I notice an ad, I make a mental note of sorts to not purchase that product.

      If I find a desire to purchase something, I look around and decide what I want and then I buy it. If an ad intrudes into my life sufficiently that I take notice of it, it is annoying to me and that company has pushed me a little farther away from them.

      • Rena says:

        About the same for me. Ads tend to annoy. The more you annoy me, the less likely I’ll give you money. Simple policy, works very well.

    • zirconmusic says:

      Actually, advertisers LIKE repeated exposure as it has been shown that people need to see the same thing seven times before it really registers with consumers. So really, diminishing returns don’t really exist here to the extent you would think.

      What IS ridiculous is self-advertising. For example, my wife was watching HGTV’s Design Star online on the HGTV website last night. She was shown no less than 10 commercials – all identical – for… HGTV’s Design Star. I would imagine if someone is watching the show online it’s because they *don’t* want to watch it on TV (or can’t – no cable), so it’s a waste not to show them ads for other things, like consumer products. I feel the same way about Gawker websites advertising for other Gawker sites. Waste of space/money for them.

    • Keavy_Rain says:

      Frontline: The Persuaders offers a really interesting look at advertising. The main message seems to be “We’re running out of ways to advertise to you in a meaningful way that ensures you remember the product.”

      Personally, the only ads I pay attention to are movie trailers and even then I only pay enough attention to remember to add that film to my Netflix queue.

    • Plasmafox says:

      I’m more concerned about the individual psychological and large scale social impacts of constantly being exposed to categorically misleading information on a constant basis, which often centers on trying to make the target feel they need something by making them feel insecure or unacceptable, or using other manipulative and subversive attack methods.

  3. dolemite says:

    I’ve read in an x-box magazine that many studios are chomping at the bit to make their games “pay to play”. Somehow, I don’t see that happening on Xbox. You already pay to have a Gold membership every month. And what would the developers offer in return to play something like “World of Modern Warfare”? Dedicated servers? New content every few weeks that aren’t re-hashed maps from MW1? I don’t see what they can offer to make it worth paying a subscription on a game you just paid $60 for. The reason you pay monthly for WoW is they have to maintain their servers, pay their GM’s, etc.

    This APB is something else though…$60 for the game, then a monthly fee, then micro transactions AND being forced to endure commercials and advertising in game? I was mildly interested at it long ago, before all the facts came to light, but I’ll be steering clear of it now.

    • nbs2 says:

      If anybody can find a way to extract monies from gamers, it’s Kotick. Give him time, and he’ll find a way.

    • Pax says:

      A few points for you to ponder:

      ONE: there are already pay-to-play games on Xbox right now: the Final Fantasy MMO, and Phantasy Star Universe.

      TWO: Microsoft has already stated that their policy is, you do not need a GOLD membership to access any game which charges you it’s own fee (and, thus, operates it’s own servers).

      • Rena says:

        But does anyone own an X360, play online games, and not have a Gold membership? Considering it’s required for nearly every online game…

        • Pax says:

          Yes. Not everyone likes games with online play – many of the games I like, for example, don’t HAVE an online component (e.g.: Assassin’s Creed, Bioshock 1, Fallout 3), or have online modes that I just don’t care for (e.g.: Saints’ Row 1 & 2).

          Further, that Gold Membership? If you’re paying it to play other games, then you’re paying it to play OTHER games.

          I have, and pay for, a GOLD account with Xbox Live. I also have, and pay for, an account with World of Warcraft. Oh, and I have a Lifetime subscription to Champions Online. Each of the three is a separate service, and thus, a separate expense. :)

  4. Kodai says:

    wow, who would ever pay money to be hit with ads…


    cable tv, satellite tv, satellite radio, newspapers, magazines, internet service.

    gee I guess we ALL will pay for ads.

  5. tzigrel says:

    You can also pay for something called “VOIP Premium” which is suppose to remove adverts for 30, 90 or 180 days. No idea the cost but that option factored in with the $10 subscription fee will probably bring its monthly cost to what most other games charge at $15.

  6. Sepp_TB says:

    One ad every 3 hours. You forgot that part.

    To clarify a rather important point: “One audio ad will be heard each time a player enters a new district.and then there’s no ads at all if you play the game for several hours.”

    There are 3 districts in this game, a social district and 2 action districts. You switch between them of your own choosing, and don’t have to do so often. In game audio ads will play during these transitions and only if you haven’t heard one in the last 3 hours (nice of you to leave that part out of the above summary).

    That’s about the least annoying in game ads I’ve seen. The audio quality on the APB voice chat is far above that included voice chat programs in most MMOs (WoW has one, and no one, and I mean no one uses it, they use pay service ones outside the game instead). An in game ad every 3 hours during a district load screen seems a small price compared to a ventrillo server hosting fee.

    • UCLAri: Allergy Sufferer says:

      Yeah, the once every 3 hours thing is pretty important. It’s not like you’re being forced to listen to ten minutes of ads every hour. This is about as non-obtrusive as advertising can get.

    • AstroPig7 says:

      Any advertising in a pay-to-play game that costs $50 up front is ridiculous.

      • Sepp_TB says:

        I’d disagree. I’m personally glad APB is trying some new pay models not before seen. Most MMO games now are $50 for the box + $15 a month. APB is $50 for the box, +$10 a month, OR pay for gameplay hours instead if that makes more sense for you, and you can pay for ad-free VOIP if that is important to you, or you can listen to the occasional ad and still be able to use it.

        VOIP sucks in other games, really. Its bad. Ventrillo servers are the norm, or TeamSpeak, occasionally Skype. Vent servers are $5-$15 a month depending on size, which is cheap enough when spread over everyone using it.

        I grabbed APB with a few friends, we don’t plan to be able to play together all that much, so a monthly fee would have sucked, but the included 50 hours should last us a good long time and we can buy extra hours instead of extra months as needed. The free ingame VOIP is worth listening to the rare ad to be able to chat not only with each other, but with any random people we end up playing with and not having to hand our vent info over to them.

        • ktjamm says:

          Never winter nights cost 50, no reoccurring monthly fees and allowed users to set up their own servers to choose how they multi-play or not. There is also a TON of user created modules out there that create new content/enhance the game.

          That being said, developers are getting out of control. Punitive DLC practices against those who by the game used (EA games), In game advertising, forcing people to play in certain ways (online only – Ubisoft).

          If I buy a game. I want to be able to choose how I play. offline, online directly with friends, and advertising free.

      • Pax says:

        I can’t agree.

        Advertising that _disrupts immersion_ would be bad, yes. But during a long loading screen, watchign a 15-second or 30-second clip? Not going to upset me. Seeing in-game items, that fit the setting, that have one or another brand logo on them? Not going to upset me.

        In the case of APB – a case could be made for selling in-game billboard space, as long as the frequency of those billboards didn’t get out of hand. Slapping a few posters up on walls in appropriate places, too, would be fine by me. Having some of the trucks (say, every 10th or 20th one spawned in a district) in the game be, oh, FedEx or UPS delivery vehicles? Fine by me. Having an occasional (say, every 10th or 20th, again) car have a rooftop “pizza delivery car” style sign, advertising one or another national chain (Dominos, Papa Johns, etc) …? Fine by me.

        THOSE sorts of advertisements would at least fit the setting, even ENHANCE immersion into the game.

    • YouDidWhatNow? says:

      I use the built-in WoW voice feature all the time.

      The main guild I’m in uses Ventrilo…which I only use when I’m in a guild raid. Otherwise, I don’t see any reason to mess with any 3rd party voice apps.

  7. Jozef says:

    Anarchy Online does have in-game advertising for free players, in form of billboards with video and sound. Paying players get additional content and advertising turned off by default (they can still opt in). The billboards are still there, but “advertise” (picture only) fictional companies within the game storyline. As much as I was originally against the idea of any advertising in gaming, I found this to be a pretty good solution. Not ideal, as I switched to a paid account after I’ve seen the advertisement for Slither one too many times, though.

  8. RobHoliday says:

    Realtime Worlds are going to wish they developed Crackdown 2 instead of waisting time on this game. So far the reviews are not spectacular.

    BTW Realtime Worlds (developer of APB) developed Crackdown 1. Crackdown 2 is being developed by Ruffian Games and is being released on July 6th.

  9. YouDidWhatNow? says:

    I would definitely NOT pay for a game that forced ads upon me. I get and support the idea of ad-supported games…but only if they’re free to the player.

    • g051051 says:

      Steer clear of PAIN on the PS3. You have to buy the game, and it has purchasable content, but they insert ads into the game world and also had an AXE co-brand that extended to the loading screens and menus! I deleted it right after that happened.

      I had a conversation with the developer about it. He said he just ignores in-game ads. So why do they do it, when even the developers of games think they don’t actually work?

      • YouDidWhatNow? says:

        …because those advertisers are paying them money.

        The one and only time I thought ads in a game were kinda cool was a LONG time ago, when some racing game would have actual ads on the in-game billboards that you went whizzing by. In that case, and only that case, it made the game more realistic – in the real world, billboards have actual ads for actual products on them.

        …but I couldn’t tell you what the ads were for ;)

  10. g051051 says:

    It’s bad enough that we have to pay to buy a game that still requires a monthly subscription, but it’s worse to pay for a game, pay a subscription, and still get ads. No way I’ll be playing this one.

  11. Cicadymn says:

    Just wait a few months. When the game is tanking they’ll realize how stupid they’ve been.

    Hope this one goes the way of Tabula Rasa and quick.

  12. DanRydell says:

    If I were given the choice between $10 + ads or $15 per month, I’d take the ads. So this doesn’t bother me.

  13. Joe Gamer says:

    the ads are to pay for the in-game chat which I believe is licensed from another company and actually in some other MMO’s costs extra.

  14. foofad says:

    Okay guys, this is just straight up bad reporting.

    The facts are:

    It’s a maximum of ONE advertisement (sub 30 seconds) per three hours. The advertisements ONLY play during LOADING of a map (a district, as the game calls them) and never during actual play. In other words, they do not disrupt actual play.

    Further, if you disable in game VOIP, you NEVER hear them. Disabling it is as simple as going into your audio options and unchecking a box. In theory you can disable VOIP before you log off, and any time you come back you’ll never hear them. Then you can just enable VOIP as you need it.

    IThe fact of the matter is you only really load a map perhaps once every hour or two at most. This is seriously the most mild advertisement plan on the planet, and I have a hard time even taking a stand against the issue on principle.

  15. Promethean Sky says:

    Tim Buckley over at Ctrl+Alt+Del had a thing or five to say about the subject.

  16. nkykingnak says:

    Anyone complaining even play the game? They haven’t even started doing this and as of now the VOIP in the game barely works. It may be launch issues but while playing last night it cut out three separate times on my friend and I for 5-10 minutes each time. Which was stressing because your not given an indication it’s stopped and your yelling and everyone dies. It would honestly be easier to disable the in game VOIP and use Team Speak or Vent if your going to play with a group of people for any amount of time.