Our department has just had the 3rd and final candidate for our digital media position come in. I’ve got no special insight as to who, if anyone, might get the job and I’m not going to share my opinions on the matter. However, one of the candidates discussed mods. Like a lot of FPS players I play my fair share of mods. From Counter-Strike to Zombie Master I’ve spend hours playing fan made games (Yes I was playing CS long before Valve bought them. I still miss the VIP and Jailbreak modes!).
I started thinking about the role of advertising in games. We all hate advertising. Why should we pay full price for a game only to have it plastered with ads? I also thought about some of the backlash to the news that Garry’s Mod would start charging $9.95 for updates.
I also thought about the fact that from a Marxist perspective the practice of having fans create mods for commercial games is kind of exploitative. The only reason why game makers encourage mods is so that it will get people to buy their game. So, like “crowd sourcing” and much of web 2.0, the corporations are getting rich off of the unpaid work of the fans. No wonder so many mods never come out.
So I began to wonder, is there a solution? Would people accept ad supported free mods? I think it is a pretty good solution. Players still get free games. Mod makers get a little money for their efforts and they get some monetary incentive to keep working on their mod which might lead to more mods actually coming out and more timely releases which would make the fans happier.
So would people accept ad supported mods? Is that a place where in-game ads might actually be accepted?