Much Ado About Ads

Well, a portion of the Second Life virtual community is up in arms over an article over on the GameDaily website. The article is about the move of real life advertising into games and virtual worlds. Here are some excerpts from it, including bits of an interview with Linden Lab Marketing VP, David Fleck:

“There is a place for anybody to participate,” said Fleck, “including big corporations.”

Currently, Second Life has a program developed by Wells Fargo called Stagecoach Island, which features Wells Fargo ATM machines that give out “Linden Dollars” that can be used to buy products in “Second Life.”

Fleck said he is currently in discussions with other brands about advertising in Second Life and is hopeful that additional deals could be reached by year’s end. He mentioned he would even be open to the idea of using avatars as advertisements.

Of course this has some people screaming bloody murder. Apparently everything changes when the virtual Nike stuff residents covet for their avatars goes from being the product of illegal trademark violations to legitimate content blessed by the brand owner.

A Chainlink Fence Still Has Holes

Wells Fargo Stagecoach Island

I just came across an entry over on Clickable Culture that I fully expected to be reading… if not quite so soon. Read the news here. And I’ll just paste in the comment I made over there:

having come across the backdoor on the forums, i assumed LL was allowing residents to take a peek… or something (since the thread was rather long and still open). so i took a peek. and i mostly did so because while my curiousity level wasn’t too high initially, it has been recently piqued by search engine queries sending people looking for “Second+Life+Wells+Fargo+ Stagecoach+crack+password” to my blog.

so much for protected (cyber)spaces. ha.

Oh well, at least I got a few snapshots before the door got bolted closed. I suppose serious code jockeys looking for work might want to keep an eye on the Linden Lab employment page; especially those will backgrounds in security.

{Edit: it appears it’s not quite as bad as Clickable Culture lets on. From the referenced entry:

An obfuscated back door to Stagecoach Island was recently opened by a handful of Second Life residents who quickly found a number of bugs, exploits, and similar glitches–the most serious of which, perhaps, is the ability to transfer items between the Main Grid and Stagecoach Island.

Having read comments from those involved in the project, this appears to have been a kind of beta test – which explains the endorsement of the Lindens when this “back door” was brought to the community’s attention.

However, the beta has revealed some potential issues as reported by CC. But then that’s what a beta is for. That doesn’t mean my expectation for a cracked client won’t go unrealized. I hope it doesn’t happen, but the ease with which the client was recently hacked doesn’t fill me with confidence.}

{Image Copyright © 2005 C. Sven Johnson}

…and BW on Pro Gaming

Let the (video)game sponsorship frenzy begin! From BW’s article “Pro Gaming Attracting Big Corporate Sponsors“:

PC hardware companies have been sponsoring Counter-Strike teams and individual pro gamers for over seven years, but more general youth-oriented brands and corporations have been slow to catch on to the phenomenon. In fact, last week’s announcement that Johnson & Johnson subsidiary McNeil Consumer & Specialty Pharmaceuticals (makers of Tylenol) was sponsoring pro CS team Ouch is believed to be the first of its kind.

I can’t help but think someone inside Johnson & Johnson has been working feverishly for years trying to convince a bunch of out-of-touch upper management types to do this. This news kinda makes my earlier post on CPL a little more interesting. Wonder if I can create something branded with a fake pain-reliever and let it go head-to-head with Tylenol. Or should that be headache-to-headache? It’s about time corporate America realized the importance of videogames in reaching a portion of their market, I just wonder if they also realize they’re now on a different playing field. Literally and figuratively. This could get interesting.

Future Blog

I’ve been asked to give some indication of what’s in store for this blog and whether it will be continued. The short answer is “Yes”. However, the next incarnation will be at a different URL… though still within the domain.

Further, because blogspam is such a bandwidth ripper and because I’d rather leave this ad-free, comments and trackbacks will likely not be permitted. I’m instead looking at other options for discussion and hope to have some way to facilitate it. Trackbacks will likely not be opened as it’s simply too ripe for abuse. Perhaps if I wanted to dedicate more time to deleting the spam and/or keeping up with extensions to control it, but I don’t; it might be of interest to those of you who visit this site that after all this time I still have zombie PC’s pinging to try to post their worthless messages on outdated entries. That’s the net.

Also, while I’d like to have my new website up and running by 1 Oct, the truth is that what I’m doing goes well beyond just a blog. This incarnation of the weblog was really an overly-successful test… never intended to be permanent. If you recall my focus, then you might get some hint of where I’ll be taking this website. Unfortunately that means stretching out into a lot of seemingly unrelated areas. I hope that when I’m done you’ll appreciate what can only be a modest effort.

Sony Exchange Live

Here we go. The floodgates to the virtual market have just opened as Terra Nova informs readers that Sony’s virtual goods exchange service has commenced operations. Read the news, view some screenshots, and keep track of the comments here.

Additionally, I have to admit that after having spent the better part of a year recently on an indy game project which fell apart primarily due to lack of a worthwhile marketing plan, I realized that content was increasingly becoming the real prize. Consequently I’m glad I went back to content creation (I do still enjoy coding, but would like to make time for porting and building upon my old aerospace analysis work… someday). I think the recent turn of events bodes well for those of us making real-world quality models.

Over the past three of four years of hanging out on indy game forums and seeing so many projects wither on the vine due to lack of compelling content (and the free stuff online just doesn’t cut it), it’s hard to not reach the conclusion that a virtual market has some potentially nice ripple effects. I’m looking for one ripple in particular. If it makes waves, I think alot of people will be pretty happy.