ITwire.com reports that Google recently filed a patent for monitoring player character behaviors in MMORPGs to build user profiles which are then used to target in-game advertising to players.
I used to think that the people over at Google were pretty smart. Apparently, they are dumber than a noob begging for gold. Oh wait, we should show that guy advertisements for credit card offers.
One would think that Google staffers would at least run a quick search on what a MMORPG actually is. They are supposed to have the world’s most powerful search engine, right?
You know, I absolutely hate the idea of in-game advertising. Not only do I think it ruins the experience and the immersion, but even if it is contextualized and done well, I’m forced to think about their product instead of bashing orcs on the head with a holy mace.
Seriously though, profiling behaviors for advertising? Am I going to start seeing gun ads while I play counter-strike? The crazy anti-gaming freaks that blame violence and school-shootings on games are going to be all over this. Games as art? Not with advertising splattered all over the place. And what about guys that like to use female characters? Tampon ads? How about 16 year old teens running around with a beer-swilling dwarf? Alcohol ads? Will players that like Clerics and Paladins be seeing advertisements for local churches?
Google ads already adorn nearly every web page on the internet. Fine, whatever, I never read them anymore…but I sure as hell don’t want them in my games. Google go home.
One last thing…do you really want an organization as large as Google profiling your behavior? Isn’t that a bit much? What happened to privacy? Can they even legally do this with minors? Isn’t this the same thing as watching kids on the playground or monitoring your behavior at work?
“User dialogue (e.g., from role playing games, simulation games, etc) may be used to characterise the user (e.g., literate, profane, blunt or polite, quiet etc). Also, user play may be used to characterise the user (e.g., cautious, risk-taker, aggressive, non-confrontational, stealthy, honest, cooperative, uncooperative, etc).”
Think about THAT for a minute.
This is just a bad idea straight across the board. I’m disappointed in Google.
The thing that is *really* going to piss me off are the developers and publishers that buy into this little scheme of Googles and gives them access to their games. I’ll never buy another game from one of those companies…I don’t care how good the game looks or plays.