UPDATED: 28 Jun 2018

The Crew 2: when in game ads might have worked better than generic content

Written by bidstack

Can a game world ever feel more authentic when it features advertising in the game world? The answer that most of you will give is “well, never”. But we think we might have spotted at least one recent release that could have done with some in game ads.

The Crew 2 is the latest open world racer from Ubisoft. For what it’s worth, it looks like a genuinely entertaining racing game. Its cityscapes look impressive, the driving itself looks like fast paced arcadey fun and it looks like it has a great selection of sports cars to get behind the wheel of.

However, PC Gamer’s Andy Kelly has spotted something that’s a little bit off the mark in his latest piece for the site: the shops in the game world.  Instead of representing real world brands or being spins on real world brands, the store fronts are – well – just a bit weird.

In one example, he finds a “restaurante” that has the words “Chicken, Grilled, Coffee, Pizza, Pizza, Grilled, Pizza” dotted all over the sign incoherently.  In another, a French restaurant boasts that it is serves ‘ravioli’. And worryingly there are plenty more stores that fail to pass muster throughout the piece.

Now, there are plenty of people who will look at it and dismiss it. It’s just in game signs, right? Drivers will be blaring past them far too quickly to notice, won’t they?

Possibly. Alternatively, players will see those signs and feel the immersion beginning to break. They will spot them and feel like they’re at odds with the rest of the game they’re experiencing, which has accurate recreations of sports cars and has visible landmarks in it like Seattle’s Space Needle.

So in this instance, in game advertising might actually be able to help. Provided that the right partners could be served into the store fronts, it’d be possible to shift those coffee shops into Starbucks, turn that Italian restaurant into a Papa Johns and make sure clothing shops match big name brands. This would remove the sillier in game stores that unpicks the game world, while also bringing a little bit of money with it.

In summary then, in game advertising won’t always work in every game or be appropriate. But in a number of games where the choice is between working with real world partners in a context that makes sense or faking names and hoping no-one notices, the former may be the best option.

Written by bidstack | 28 Jun 2018