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Microsoft secret ads photo
Microsoft secret ads

Microsoft secretly pays YouTubers to advertise Xbox One

'Advertising is the rattling of a stick inside a swill bucket'
Jan 20
// Steven Hansen
[Update: In a statement, Microsoft said it "was not aware of individual contracts Machinima had with their content providers as part of this promotion and we didn’t provide feedback on any of the videos. We have asked...
Nintendo photo

Ever try to sell your parents on buying a new console?

New Nintendo ad brings back memories
Nov 13
// Conrad Zimmerman
Nintendo's latest ad for the Wii U really takes me back. I can remember making a similar pitch to my own parents twenty five years ago when trying to convince them of the necessity of a Nintendo Entertainment System in our h...
Kinect photo
That sounds more like it
[Update: Microsoft has reached out to the press to deny this report, stating that the original source misinterpreted Mehdi's presentation. According to Microsoft, Mehdi's quote about "bridging worlds and offering that to...

Kinect photo

Microsoft promises that privacy is paramount with Kinect

Color me skeptical
Oct 05
// Brett Makedonski
One of the most immediate, widely held, and legitimate concerns surrounding Xbox One's Kinect was the very realistic potential for Microsoft to abuse the data collection. It's not much of a stretch, given that it's recently b...
Xbox One ad photo
Xbox One ad

First Xbox One ad has no games

Well, no VIDEOgames
Sep 06
// Steven Hansen
The Xbox One finally has a release date and it finally has advertisements, this one strategically placed in line with the start of the NFL season. While brother to Eli Manning and hit commercial star Peyton Manning was putti...
PS All-Stars photo
PS All-Stars

Here's the trailer for that PS All-Stars Coca Cola thing

Act now and get free giant Coca Cola icons in the top right corner at all times!
Aug 09
// Chris Carter
Remember that bizarre PlayStation All-Stars Island iOS and Android App that was announced yesterday? Today it has a brand new trailer to give you a better look at the four core games that are included, as well as the "Coke C...
PS All-Stars photo
PS All-Stars

PlayStation All-Stars Island wants you to drink Coke Zero

Oh, videogames
Aug 08
// Jordan Devore
I can't look at PlayStation All-Stars Island without laughing. While some might be put off by the blatant advertising tie-in with Coca-Cola Zero for this free iOS and Android game -- that plane is beyond ridiculous, I'll admi...
Official car of Madden photo
Official car of Madden

What?! GMC is the official vehicle of Madden 25

Detroit trucking forward
Jul 16
// Steven Hansen
Yesterday, GMC, already the official vehicle of the NFL, announced a partnership with EA Sports to become the official vehicle of Madden 25. The press releases notes Madden 25 will have, "GMC vehicles integrated into the gami...
Yakuza 1&2 HD ad photo
Yakuza 1&2 HD ad

Yakuza 1&2 HD ad features a broken marriage, or something

Nintendo still advertising GamePad play while Yakuza still emphasizes hostess play
Jun 26
// Steven Hansen
Yakuza and Yakuza 2 are getting the HD treatment, though as it stands the bundle is exclusive to both the Wii U and Japan. Because I'm still bitter about Valkyria Chronicles, I'll just assume they're never coming stateside b...

Watch Donkey Kong scare a bunch of kids at the zoo

Because advertising!
May 24
// Hamza CTZ Aziz
How does Nintendo go about promoting Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D? By scaring the hell out of little kids.

Aliens: Colonial Marines gets class action suit for lies

Gearbox and SEGA targeted for misleading advertising
May 01
// Jim Sterling
SEGA and Gearbox have been slapped with a class action suit for Aliens: Colonial Marines, accused of lying about the game to get it sold. It was only a matter of time.  Edelson LLC has taken the case, which alleges that ...

Penny Arcade Report on ad-blocking, breasticles

Apr 18 // Niero Desu
[embed]251936:48205:0[/embed] A ghastly technical portrait of the online advertising ecosystem Replacing third-party flash ads for static ads media buyers have to self-load, self-serve, self-audit, and self-bill is like throwing a warehouse party in the middle of nowhere with no liquor. Nobody will come except your very few best friends, primarily because they feel bad that you're a gimp. The logistics of the business are mind-numbingly frustrating: The most annoying ad units we all hate perform the best, so buyers ask for those first. Third party javascript that bogs your system down is what keep the numbers honest -- its the auditing that helps count views, make sure ads aren't shown in 1x1 pixel hacks, or aren't resold and displayed on a different unsavory site. None of the above is pro-consumer. The speed of your browsing and whether or not an ad accidentally expands without your consent isn't exactly at the top of an advertising executives' conversations. I know this first-hand: I used to work as an ad agency for four years prior to starting Destructoid. I know the trenches too well. It is not realistic, without chopping staff, for most web content publishers to reject animated ads. Not many media buyers will take the time to produce static ads to load without javascript specifically for a site our size. May you also never learn the laziness of many corporate media buyers, quick to scribble contracts against Comscore numbers and hope they only have to write one check and reconcile one report. To be fair, I'm sure they have better things to do than buy tiny bits of polite advertising proven to be less-effective than rich media ads.  The real-world ad revenue split is lower than any online CPM calculator will tell you Kuchera mentions that $5 CPM is a starting point (that's dollars earned for every 1,000 ad views) but in my experience that number is much, much lower. Even a $5 CPM is the advertised price, that is not a $5 CPM earned to the web publisher. It is standard, when working with a company like Federated (which I have), that they take 50% commission. At a certain scale you can probably get a better term, but that $2.50 is the real jumping point unless you have ad sales in-house (in which case you're paying half to your ad sales team and then what remains goes to your creative team anyway).The other thing to take into account thats crucial is "fill rate". Nobody sells 100% of their inventory across all markets. That's very rare. Even if you sell 100% of our ads in the US most advertisers don't want to pay a $5 for ads being shown in Brazil where they can't ship product, so you end up not serving your true 1000 views. This is where third-party ad networks, ad quality control, and all that crazy javascript come in if you break even on bandwidth bills going out of the country.What is more likely is earning less than 0.50 CPM on international traffic, and depending on domestic fill rate and international performance you're praying for a take-home the "true blended CPM" which is closer to $1.25 from $5.00. Next, you'll be wishing that a AAA-domestic title will want to offset that with a $$$ ridiculous campaign when those games come around, and you better let them get a refund when your reviews editor shits on the game or (a) they'll never buy from you again (b) you let them influence your review and your site is a piece of garbage unworthy of existing. That's the business, in a nutshell.Now, divide all of the above by your ad-block rate and that's your take home, 60-120 days later, when the client pays the advertising agency who then pays you who are trying to feed your super awesome bloggers.On the bright side, surviving and rising up against this absurd level of adversity is incredibly satisfying if you can keep the lights on. Otherwise everyone would be blogging videogames for a living. It takes a crazy person, or an investment group who will sell your life's work to the highest bidder in a few years. TLDR: I miss old EGM. Ad-block rates may continue to soar, so we're marching ahead It's not the readers' problem that the business model I'm currently working on is on shaky ground. Still, sites like mine will inevitably have to move away from online advertising to some degree, and having an honest and transparent conversation is in my mind respectful of the readers. The opposite of that is waking up one morning to find out that 1UP was inexplicably sold three times then shut down, which makes me want to chew foil.  It's refreshing that more publishers are coming forward to talk about this concept of sustainability. Whether its ads, hat sales, venture capital, letting eFax buy you, or whatever -- we're just trying to keep our videogames sites online, because we love our damn jobs.  A writer in the games journalism group pointed to Gruber's SXSW talk, citing a famous quote by Walt Disney: “We don’t make movies to make money; we make money to make more movies.” That's the thing. You could argue that Disney is a little different these days but there's a lesson there too -- don't die (or sell your company) to defend your manifestos.   My role at Destructoid is changing again. I'm scouting new ideas, crowdsourcing I was your first blogger, then webmaster, then publisher to a host of this crazy cast of Associate Editors and Contributors. Now a hopeful CEO looking for ways to navigate us away from dumb ideas like pay-walling content and steer us into better waters, like crowd-funding the production of stuff we can't afford under the boiler that is advertising. For starters, would you like to see more Holmes, Jim, Dale, Conrad, Hamza, Allistair, Spencer and others on camera? As their publisher I'm their #1 fan, so I sure would, and it's on me to figure out how. Look for shiny new changes you've voted on around here this summer when you'll soon get your chance to become the new boss of us. A more intimate Destructoid, perhaps. The NPR radio host chuckled at my solution: "That sounds like more work." Truth of the matter is, if I don't come out of this by soon offering readers a plan for a better Destructoid then I don't deserve my job or a penny from them. Please don't pity my position; the challenge to rise above this and see it through is incredibly fulfilling because I care about it so much. Surviving the Ad-Blocker battle peacefully with those who will forever use them has become a fantastic real-time strategy game. We're going to work damn hard for our pylons. [Header photo credit: Ad Week. Also, cute animal photos rank as the next best thing to breast traffic.]
Ad-blocking photo
More gaming sites are speaking up about the elephant in the browser
[Minor update: I moved my CPM real-world stats from the comments to the post so that its more visible] Whether you're an aspiring writer, an established games critic, or a hopeful webmaster building your first gaming site it ...

Injustice photo

Latest TV spot for Injustice features Kevin Smith

Old scores finally being settled
Apr 08
// Conrad Zimmerman
A new advertisement for Injustice: Gods Among Us is starting into circulation and they're heading right for the comic fans by bringing in one of the more famous enthusiasts of (and contributors to) the medium, Kevin Smi...
SimCity photo

Oh hey, these SimCity ads are actually funny

"It's not all kissing hands and shaking babies."
Mar 03
// Hamza CTZ Aziz
Typically, when it comes to videogame ads at least, actors don't usually do a good job of promoting a game. That's not the case here with these SimCity ads, thankfully. Actor Adam Devine of Workaholics fame did a few promos for the game and they're all pretty funny. Fancy that. SimCity is out this week for the PC. Are you planning on picking it up?

PSA: Doritos Crash Course DLC is out today

It's only $2, guys
Jan 02
// Brett Zeidler
The biggest achievement in free simulation obstacle course games featuring Xbox Live Avatars, Doritos Crash Course, has received its very own downloadable content today. Doritos Crash Course City Lights adds two new area...
Sexy Zombie Time photo
Sexy survival horror?
ZombiU is, by all accounts, a pretty decent game that uses the Wii U's GamePad in some interesting ways. It's helped breathe new life into a genre that's been in decay for the better part of a decade. And hey, if nothing else...


You should go check out Skrillex Quest

Glitchy code and stuttering music make for a surprisingly fun time
Nov 30
// Conrad Zimmerman
I'm pretty sure I've lamented in the past that I don't know what the kids are into with the music anymore. So, understand that I have no idea who this "Skrillex" person is, but I'm getting the idea that he's kind of becoming ...

Robot Chicken made a PlayStation All-Stars commercial

Shocking news: Robot Chicken is still a thing
Nov 28
// Tony Ponce
I enjoyed watching Robot Chicken on Adult Swim back in college, but it never felt like it had true staying power. Why new episodes are still being made, I have no clue. Then again, this is the same network that is still chur...

The PS Vita is like a headless lady with four breasts?

That's what a French advert claims
Nov 01
// Jim Sterling
According to a promotional ad in France, the PlayStation Vita is comparable to a woman with no head and four breasts, two of which jut agonizingly from her back like a pair of malevolent tumors.  What are we to glean fro...

Obama campaign ads to hit Madden 13 and other EA titles

Sep 15
// Kyle MacGregor
As much fun as the never ending political bickering has been lately, I'm kind of ready for it to be over for a while. Something tells me though, that it's going to get a whole lot worse before it gets any better. At least we ...

Sony patent points to playable mini-game advertisements

Aug 24
// Dale North
Imagine broadcasted or streamed advertisements that are playable as mini-games, with an online element so that you could play with other viewers. A new Sony PlayStation patent, found by GameNMotion, seems to spell out how thi...

Penny Arcade using Kickstarter to fund ad-free site

Jul 10
// Jim Sterling
One expects a little cynicism from a satirical web comic, but Penny Arcade's new Kickstarter project takes things to a new extreme. The company is asking for $250,000 to remove one advertisement from its site. Not only that ....

E3: A peek at the Videogame History Museum booth

Jun 09
// Conrad Zimmerman
While the E3 show floor is primarily concerned with showing the world what's next for the videogame industry, The Videogame History Museum brought a little bit of its past to the event this week. Tucked in the corner of the s...

Of course you do! I just got back from an early visit to the L.A. Convention Center, home to next week's massive industry event: E3. You may have heard about it. The final preparations are almost complete, with companies putt...


E3: Hitman: Absolution snags the coveted South Hall steps

Jun 01
// Chad Concelmo
The South Hall is the larger of the two main halls at the L.A. Convention Center (the other being the West Hall). While the "Big Three" companies (Nintendo, Microsoft, and Sony) are in the West Hall, they take up almost all t...

Sony patents plan to interrupt games with commercials

May 25
// Jim Sterling
You can't count on a publisher to be original or inventive when it comes to our entertainment, but they always seem brilliantly innovative when it comes to selling us more crap. Sony is today's bright little star, having pate...

Thank Christ: Xbox Live to feature even more advertising!

Apr 25
// Jim Sterling
You wanted it, Microsoft's bringing it! In the new future, the Xbox Live service that you paid for will be using your patronage to score even more money off of advertisers! More TV-like commercials will soon be airing on a nu...

Review: World Gone Sour

Apr 13 // Jim Sterling
World Gone Sour (Xbox Live Arcade [reviewed], PlayStation Network)Developer: PlaybrainsPublisher: CapcomRelease: April 11, 2012MSRP: 400 Microsoft Points World Gone Sour is a story about Sour Patch Kids, the anthropomorphized candy that you'll find filling the lobbies of all good movie theaters around North America. Just like the advergames of yesteryear, it takes the form of a simple platformer, as players step into the gummy boots of a lost Sour Patch Kid who wishes only to be eaten, lest he be driven insane.  The first thing to note is just how adult-oriented World Gone Sour is. One would assume that, like all good advergames, the target audience is gullible children. Instead, the game opens with one Sour Patch Kid stabbing another brutally in the back with a knife, and that's just the first of many adorably morbid concepts thrust into the player's mind. As if that wasn't enough, the action is narrated by Creed Batton from The Office, who makes lewd, vulgar, family-unfriendly comments throughout. It would seem gullible adults, or at least teenagers, are the marketing department's ultimate prey.  As far as the platforming goes, players will need to jump over chasms, avoid spikes, and generally do all the things that one would expect to do in a run-of-the-mill sidescroller. A slight Pikmin-flavored twist is introduced in the form of smaller companion Kids, twenty-five of which are scattered around each level. These companions follow the player character around and can be thrown to hang off switches or collect hard-to-reach items. They can also be absorbed, allowing players to grow in size. The player can absorb or break apart at whim (so long as enough companions are present), and our gummy hero can be one of three sizes. At their smallest, players can squeeze through tight spots, while the larger sizes can hurl companions like bowling balls, perform ground pounds, or take extra hits from enemies before dying. It's usually a good idea to be at least mid-sized for most of a stage, although tight jumps through dangerous territory can benefit from a smaller character.  Each stage is littered with green gummy pieces that dish out extra lives, stars that contribute to a leaderboard score, and five secret trophies. At the end of each level, players are awarded points based on what they've collected, how many companions they found, and how many unique deaths the player inflicted on said companions. You're encouraged to toss your friends into spikes, liquids, and flames, especially to collect items too dangerously positioned for your liking. Such sadism goes unpunished, since dead companions respawn after a few moments, so nobody needs to worry about sending Sour Patch Kids to die by the dozen.  Companions won't be the only ones who die, however. Once World Gone Sour hits its mid-point, it becomes surprisingly taxing. Tricky platform sections that exploit the game's overenthusiastic physics, intricate wall-jump challenges, and a smorgasbord of increasingly brutal environmental hazards will happily whittle your lives down to zero. There are plenty of green gummies and liberal checkpoints to keep the game moving along, and while nothing's ever too difficult, there are a remarkable amount of opportunities to swear at the television, just like old times.  Unfortunately, that mid-point also serves as the moment where a lot of the charm runs dry. Batton's narration, positively flowing in the earlier sections of the game, disappears save for a few scant moments, while the repetitious music and lack of variety overall really turns the game into something of a tiresome affair. There are nine levels, split into three themes, and it doesn't feel like enough to keep things interesting, even for the couple hours of gameplay present. It's all solid stuff, but since a lot of the entertainment comes from the outright stupidity of the game's concept, the failure to capitalize with more humor really lets the mid-portion of the game sag.  It doesn't help that, at times, the game never feels quite right, either being too responsive or not very responsive at all. As noted earlier, the protagonist's jumps are huge -- a fact that the game itself takes advantage of -- while his wall-jumping ability doesn't always work properly. The hit detection feels a little off as well, with enemies that have incredibly tiny hit boxes that are hard to predict, given that they're mostly shapeless globs of monstrous bubble gum. One never gets a sense of weight in the game's world, which can be quite problematic at times.  Cooperative play is allowed for, but as is disappointingly common with XBLA games, it's local only. Players without friends won't be missing much, however, since the only real benefit is the ability to get a free respawn if one player dies and the other hits a checkpoint without also snuffing it.  For five bucks, however, World Gone Sour isn't the worst game around. In fact, it can be relatively enjoyable, and the dark humor is pretty entertaining when it pops up. There are some inventive little boss battles thrown in, showcasing insane Sour Patch Kids who have become slightly telekinetic and inhabit sneakers or dolls that they've brought to life. Defeating the bosses are simple cases of waiting for them to expose their vulnerable spots and attacking, but they're nevertheless quite fun to dispatch.  Whether or not you feel right in spending money on a glorified commercial is down to your own moral code, but World Gone Sour is an entertaining reminder of how shameless the industry has always been. It truly feels like a spiritual successor to Cool Spot, and while nobody has ever asked for a spiritual successor to Cool Spot, it gives one a nostalgic feeling nonetheless. With some pretty decent platforming, a dash of shockingly grim humor, and an utterly ridiculous Sour Patch Kids music video courtesy of Method Man, World Gone Sour is far from the worst thing you could waste five dollars on.

The idea of buying an interactive commercial is like battery acid in the minds of most adult gamers, but we blissfully forget that we once paid full price for entire videogames that existed purely to push another product.&nbs...


Here's some A for your SoulCalibur T

Jan 29
// Tony Ponce
Voldo's lower horn may not have been a legit SoulCalibur V print ad, but this one is. Surprise, surprise. It's the perfect complement to the original boobalicious ad. These things always happen in pairs. I'm glad Namco Bandai...

Namco Bandai pulls penis-flavored SoulCalibur V ad

Jan 09
// Jim Sterling
[Update: So apparently it is not real. Stupid sexy Voldo!] Namco Bandai recently pulled an advert for SoulCalibur V after fans complained that it was too offensive. No, it wasn't the magazine page featuring ginormous breasts....

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