There are many hundreds of Half-Life 2 servers to choose from on any given night. This night, I joined WebViper‘s Skul’Shock South server. Like a lot of PC gamers, WebViper creates his own custom maps. He even has his own mod of Half-Life 2 running on his server. A custom map maker creates his own environment, placing weapons, determining respawn points and inserting his own props to maximize gameplay. Custom map making can consume a great deal of time. I know because I made a few maps for Duke Nukem 3D a long, long time ago when I should have been doing things like, oh, say reserving domains such as business.com. But, that was a different stage of my life. In-game advertising just might be a sweet way that mappers and modders can get paid for all their hard work and creativity.
Unlike other servers, we don’t beg for money. It’s 100% free!
So, I join the game and begin fragging my opponents and what do I see on the billboard in front of me? Someone wants me to know that a company called GH1.com offers web hosting services. I took some of the screen shots below to share with you. In fact, I risked my virtual life to grab these images as several times I found myself respawning after curiously staring at these web hosting ads which would have been ignored had I seen them on an actual Web page. There is not much leisure time for sight seeing in Half-Life 2, if you know what I mean.
GH1 web hosting site — the website image in the bottom left corner does not appear in the actual game, I just superimposed it over the screen shot here so you can see what GH1.com looks like in a browser should you visit the site.
Hmm… life is full of tough decisions
Is this the prelude to pay-per-frag advertising?
Is there really time for consumer research in Half-Life 2?
Since the number of people participating in online gaming would seem to be on the rise it would seem that advertisers should be able to reach gamers with the right approach. But what should that be? Will it cut the price of pc gaming software? What would the payment models be? I have not read any research about the subject but I wonder if in-game advertising will work.