Monday, October 22, 2007

Hellgate London Ads

Last year I decided to not buy Battlefield 2142 because of the Adware type stuff EA were putting in the game. It has been recently announced that Hellgate London has the same Adware. If you had it on a list of possible Christmas presents, please remove it. Thanks.

I am okay with the in game advertising to an extent. Business is business and capitalism makes the world go around. I also understand that they are keeping their data gathering autonomous, not trying to find my identity. But that information they are gathering is valuable as is my time viewing their ads. If they want me to allow such practices they are going to need to do two more things:

1. Pay me for it. I am not going to pay full retail for a game, possibly a subscription AND allow them to just have that information and subject me to advertising. They are making money off that information and those ads so some of that needs to be passed on to me. They can't have their cake and eat it too... well not my cake anyway. Hmmm how about, they can't sell their cake to me and eat it too.

2. Change their EULA agreement in such a way that states they do not have the right to change the agreement at a later time. Currently their EULA reads in such a way that gives them a lot of wiggle room to change it and the data they collect at any time in the future. That just won't do. The cake's ingredients should not change after the transaction is made. I'm okay with vanilla or lemon cake, but I don't want them switching it to chocolate at some later time.

Here is hoping they don't do this to Crysis. Can't really think of a cake analogy for this last bit... How about if I said the wish I made when I blew out the candles on my cake was that they don't do this to Crysis! I should have quit while I was ahead.


Anonymous said...

Have you actually seen the ads in 2142? They're just billboards in game and are not at all distracting from it. If they were neon colored and right in the middle of the battlefield I would have a problem with it.

I played the Hellgate: London demo and didn't even realize there were ads until I started reading about it online.

If its an issue of privacy, well you might as well just not play any online game. They're all capturing information about your system to prevent cheating. Hell Punkbuster takes screenshots of what you're doing and uploads them to their servers.

BugHunter said...

Anonymous: The ads in Hellgate really are benign, and there is lots of stuff online capturing your information. I'll give you that

What's happening in games though is software loaded on your personal machine. This software has way more power and access to your machine than the stuff on the web. More importantly, what that software does, and what the company does with the information can change AT ANY TIME.

Will the companies search your drive for your address or phone number? Can that software be highjacked to insert a keylogger to gain access to your bank account (identity theft even)? Not yet, but we've let the camel's nose into the tent.

There is a file on my computer that the government requires if you apply for any level of clearance. This file contains practically everything about me (historical and identifying). What happens to my life if that gets out? How much does it cost to recover an identity?

Failures (previously logged in): 1

Joseph B. Hewitt IV said...

Like I said, I am okay with the in game advertising to an extent. Business is business and capitalism makes the world go around. I am also okay with them recording everything I do in their game and keeping that as well. It is when they are looking things outside of that game, especially while the game isn’t even running. I do not want them to know what websites I browse, what other programs I use, what games by their competitors I play, how often I upload or download files, etc.

In my opinion World of Warcraft sits exactly on the line with their Warden program. While WoW is running it looks for specific processes running and monitors certain memory addresses related to the game to see if you are changing them. It sits on the line because it doesn’t run while the game isn’t running, the stuff it is looking at outside the game are all related to the game, and it isn’t tracking anything else.

Look at Valve’s hardware profile survey Steam runs on your computer. It asks you if it is okay for them to run it and when you agree it shows you the compiled states that they have gathered. Though the current page hasn’t been updated since August 21st: That is playing nice.

Failures: 1

Pre-Logged in thing only works with your own blog.

Anonymous said...

I read a statement that they specifically aren't looking for personal data and are running software that is very much in line with what Warden does with WoW. They are running a secured on line network for the game and it makes sense to me that they need to see if there are specific processes running and are monitoring certain memory addresses related to the game to see if you are changing them.

On the subject of seeing ads, I think of it like i do my sattelite TV subscription. I bought the receiver and my television, but I still see ads all the time - even on stations I pay for like HBO or Showtime - they are just for their products. Or more usually, they are placed within the shows themselves. I've looked at screens from the beta test and the ads are placed well within the context of the game world. Also, I can play online for free as long as I want, so I look at the ads as a way they can defray the costs of me (and probably lots of other gamers) using up their bandwidth, database space and server memory.

Finally, I also read that they are reviewing their EULA and TOS because of the ambiguous nature of the wording. I totally agree that they need to be more specific so that people know what they are getting into.