If the following patent is to be taken literally, then Google just might be the closest thing to Big Brother we’ve seen as of yet. The Guardian is reporting that everybody’s favorite search engine has recently patented items for customizing in game advertisements to individual players — on consoles as well as PCs. From the Guardian:
The patent says: “User dialogue (eg from role playing games, simulation games, etc) may be used to characterise the user (eg literate, profane, blunt or polite, quiet etc).
Also, user play may be used to characterise the user (eg cautious, risk-taker, aggressive, non-confrontational, stealthy, honest, cooperative, uncooperative, etc).” The information could be used to make adverts that appear inside the game more “relevant to the user”, Google says.
Players who spend a lot of time exploring “may be interested in vacations, so the system may show ads for vacations”. And those who spend more time talking to other characters will see adverts for mobile phones.
As one might expect, this has alarmed some privacy groups, who are concerned that Google just might have something a bit more sinister up their cybernetic sleeves. Namely, the possibility of storing psychological profiles of gamers on their databases. Whether or not Google plans to leverage such information in a way outside of tailoring the in game advertisements experience is not known at this time.
How this will affect the online gaming community is a whole other topic completely. The good news is that if all else fails, you can always go the single player game route, unplug the Internet connection, and enjoy your video games the way we used to back in the day (patch free!).