Turning Off In-Game Advertising

A couple of guys play their SWAT4 game for which they just paid $50 to discover something disconcerting - the ads served in real time by Massive. They look under the hood and find a way to turn the ads off: "In order to prevent this 'functionality', the server can be prevented from being contacted by placing the following lines in either /etc/hosts on UNIX, or %WINDIR%\system32\drivers\etc\hosts on Windows."

More quotes:
"Everything now plays along with little noise coming from the madservers. Until we exit the game. A single HTTP request is sent by our game client to signify that the game has ended. A timestamp and our session/gamer ids are sent. This sort of information gives the advertisers a more complete idea of how long we play, and at what times of the day, and enough information for them to calculate any patterns. They could even determine what levels are more popular and maybe charge more for advertisers to get advertising space in these levels."

"The most shocking part was next. The client contacted madserver to tell the advertisers how long the gamer spent with each advert in their view. This is mapped to the gamer id, so they know which player in the game saw the advert, and when, for how long, and from how far away (by virtue of the size attribute). Even the average viewing angle is passed back."

Massive Launches In-Game Video, Audio Ads
Measuring In-Game Advertising
In-game Ads: Backlash, Research
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