Jul 22, 2009

Ads on the Xbox 360

By Clinton Ma

So I wanted to talk a little bit about advertising today. Specifically, it's the advertising within the Xbox Live dashboard that has begun to grab my attention and remind me of how much I dislike being served ads as a paying subscriber.

Back in June, Xbox Live's Major Nelson posted on his blog about the upcoming integration of Silverlight-powered advertising to the Xbox Live interface. While he allayed fears of there being more ads cluttering the dashboard, the whole deal still managed to rub many Xbox users the wrong way. These new ads may be better integrated and less obtrusive but I have my doubts. After all, "unobtrusive ads" is an oxymoron if I ever met one.

Silverlight has yet to be implemented but my false alarm was triggered last weekend when I noticed a Telus advert subverting one of the "slots" in the Inside Xbox channel. It's a bite-sized TV-style commercial that plays automatically when the slot is highlighted. Clicking the ad takes you to the 1 vs. 100 channel, thus revealing Telus as the game's sponsor.

I won't mince words about my reaction to seeing Telus on my console. I hate the Telus animal ad campaign. They've been milking the same campaign for nearly a decade and they're shown prior to almost every movie I catch at the Cineplex theatres. They are annoying to me, plain and simple.

Without getting into a rant-filled and messy philosophical discussion about the advertising business, I wanted to throw out the question to our smart, opinionated readers here at NextGen Player: What do you think about advertising on Xbox Live?

I would also love to read your comments on the topic. Is advertising too ingrained within our modern, media-saturated lifestyle to avoid? Do paying subscribers have the right to be exempt from advertising? How easily can consumers protest with their wallets?


Mark King said...

Let's not forget that the cost of your machines, games and subscriptions are subsidized due to the ads you're seeing.

Take you XBOX remove the ads, pay more and shut the F**k up.

And although your point is fair about the obtrusiveness of advertising, you mustn't be so short sighted as to think that you would be offered the same opportunities without it. Frustrating - possibly. Necessary - definitely

Put the control down, pick up a book and make an educated option. Thinking with your thumbs isn't serving you well.

Happy lonely nights gamers.

Paul Hunter said...

Considering that the PS3's online offering is now very close to matching that of the Xbox 360 -- minus the annual fee and advertising free -- I don't think your position holds up Mark.

The reason Microsoft is adding ads to the XBL experience is not to offer greater opportunities, but to monetize the service. XBL already offerred the best opportunities on the market before the ads started showing up.

Anonymous said...

I agree with hunter, its not like ads and more ads on tv are making are tv shows better, or bringing a discount to my cable subscription soo how would having ads within a VIDEO GAME CONSOLE make there games cheaper or anything to do related to XBOX ? i think its a sad day for XBOXlive users but what do u expect ur console is run by a money hungry copration taht started on fraud and theift, i ditched xbox once they started having all these attachments like the DVD Dongle device to play DVDS with ur DVD DRIVE, boycott xbox and pick up a sony as there here to serve the loyal consumers and you will never see ads floating around thats for damn sure

Xbox 360 Games said...
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