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?