I was going to make it say Which of these stories will you be posting about tomorrow? An ad debacle with the world's largest publisher of interactive software. Gamers, frustrated with Xbox Live, take their anger out on a public relations shill. And the Queen of Pop has the nerve to adopt an African child while the rest of us go without. All that and my special comment about in-game advertising. This is Nerd Rage Countdown.
Good evening, I'm A Virgin Nerd. Electronic Arts, the largest video game publisher in the world, has once again soiled their image. Their latest foible is a dynamic in-game advertising scheme in the so-called sequel to Battlefield 2. The intrusive ads have gamers fuming. Our correspondent in Washington, Forums Faggot, has more on this software scandal.
That's right, Virgin. Initially reported as spyware, Electronic Arts has contracted advertising company IGA to implement a dynamic in-game ad system to the shooter sequel Battlefield 2142. The Battlefield 2 mod will track how users view ads, including how long and at what angle, and send this information back to an ad server. New ads will be sent to the client on a regular basis.
Initial reports that spyware would be included have since been denied by IGA. The game only monitors how users view ads but does not capture any personally identifiable information. Despite the response given by IGA hardcore Battlefield fans are still outraged. Gamers claim that the long hours they spend playing a video game in lieu of making friends, meeting girls, and spending time with family will be ruined by out of place advertisements.
Many are calling for a boycott against Electronic Arts in order to make their voice heard. Supporters cite EA's complete lack of respect for their customers and an inability to release quality titles as reasons for the boycott. Some have even gone so far as to say that EA is responsible for the systematic execution of millions of Jews, homosexuals, and gypsies during World War II. Back to you, Virgin.
Thank you for that, Forums Faggot. For more insight, we now go to Countdown gaming analyst, my mother. Mom?
Mom: Yes, dear?
The controversy surrounding Battlefield 2142 has potential purchasers furious. Is their anger justified?
Mom: I'm not sure what you are talking about, honey.
Mom... I told you what to say. Please don't ruin this.
Mom: I'm sorry, honey.
Okay, in-game ads are nothing new. Electronic Arts has been putting ads in games for a while now. How does this new idea of dynamically changing ads change the way games are played?
Mom: I think that Electric Artists should do the right thing and be kind to their game players. If you don't have something nice to say don't say it at all.
Mom! I'm trying to be serious here. You're so stupid! You're ruining it! FUCK!
Dad: Hassan, don't talk to your mother that way! You let her answer the questions!
Ugh, fine. Let me ask you again, are dynamic ads so intrusive that they change the core game experience?
Mom: I have to start on dinner, dear. Let me know when you are done with your little article. Have fun now.
Ugh, get out my room! You're so stupid! For those of you who haven't already closed their browser window in disgust, my special comment on in-game ads follows at the end of this broadcast.
We now pause the day's real news to indulge in the lighter side of the day's events. Let's play Oddball.
We now go to a computer store in Flyntrock, Virginia where security surveillance cameras caught a man trying to buy a laptop... without getting the original Windows XP install discs. I guess once the operating system craps out and you need to flatten and reinstall you're left with a worthless paperweight. Still, I wouldn't install that piece of shit O$ onto my rig. Am I right, folks?
Moving on to the Corellian star system where Tie Fighter dash cams caught a smuggler jettisoning his cargo at the first sign of Imperial Starships. Hey, maybe you can smuggle some balls next time! The smuggler, identified as Han Solo, owes a debt to space mobster Jabba the Hutt. Updating this year's tally of Empire vs. dumb smugglers chases, Empire 34, smugglers 0. Let's just say JABBA NO BADDA SOLO????
Finally, in West Nickel Pines, Pennsylvania a man walked into an Amish elementary school and took 10 children hostage, eventually killing five. The biggest tragedy in all of this? These Amish people don't even use electricity. Pwned!!!!
Lumines Live was finally released on the Xbox Live Marketplace today. The demo, which can be had for 1200 ($15) Microsoft Marketplace Points, can be upgraded to the full version by buying more content packs. Gamers, oblivious to the fact that the game costs upwards of $30 on other systems including the PSP and the PlayStation 2, are straining their keyboards to the limit registering their disgust on popular Microsoft shill site MajorNelson.com.
This just in, breaking news from Washington. The Vice President has stated that today's incident has destroyed half of the world's supply of dollar sign keys. We will be monitoring this story throughout the night and update you as new developments come into the newsroom. On the upside, the exclusive Madonna songs promised to be included in the game are nowhere to be found.
That's our segue into tonight's roundup of celebrity and entertainment rage. Madonna is taking flak for adopting a young African child to give him a better life. Child activist groups say that Madonna skirted past child adoption regulations because of her celebrity status and wealth. Madonna denies these claims and says that she has gone through all the proper channels to adopt a child from Malawi. For more on this we go to Trolling Asshole. Asshole?
Thanks, Virgin. Madonna attracted controversy this month when she adopted an African child. The child, given up by his father because he had no money to raise him, was living in an orphanage when Madonna appeared in the dead of night and stole the boy from his orphanage where he had made so many friends. She is morally and ethically bankrupt, and it is clear why the world hates Madonna right now.
Black children belong in black Africa. The audacity of Madonna to give a black child a better life goes against the very moral fabric we abide by. I don't live in a mansion in London. You don't live in a mansion in London. Why should a black child live in a mansion in London? There is no easy answer to these troubling issues.
The situation in Africa is sad, but it makes the rest of us feel much better about our own lives. Instead of stealing a child, why can't Madonna just futilely throw money at African problems like the rest of us? She actually wants one of these things running around her house?
We hope that child activist groups and the authorities from around the world pressure Madonna to give back this poor child to his father because black children need to be in Africa, where they belong. Child activist groups are asking for the public's help. If you see any black children, send them back to Africa immediately. For very morally outraged whites everywhere, I'm Trolling Asshole.
Thanks, Asshole. We'll be keeping an eye on this evil woman.
It's time now for today's Worst Person on the Internet.
Third place goes to Major Nelson of MajorNelson.com. Nelson had stated on his web site that users could buy the full version of Lumines for, and I quote, "1200 points". SO WHY IS THE GAME ASKING ME TO BUY MORE CONTENT PACKS TO FINISH IT, NELSON?! If that's even your real name. Yeah, we hardcore gamers who also happen to be unemployed and taking computer classes at a local community college on weekends and someday we'll make our own "tite ass" video game stayed up all night to buy a puzzle game set to bad music. Major Nelson lied, soldiers died. Major Nelson, giving you all the insider news from inside the Xbox 360 team! Brought to you by Microsoft's PR department.
Runner-up goes to my mother Julie. That bitch came into my room just now screaming that dinner was ready and that I should come down so I told her to shut the fuck up like she should do which made my dad angry and he came up and threatened to break my computer if I don't stop spending all my time on the Internet. Fuck him though. He's just a sheep like the rest of them. They don't know that video games are a true art and this stuff should get out to the public so we can boycott Electronic Art$ and Micro$haft and bury them while we support TRUE indie titles like Mount & Blade that are a labor of fucking LOVE and have polygons.
And first place goes to Casey Serin from I am Facing Foreclosure.com. He apparently bought a bunch of houses, ran out of money, and now he's $2 million in the hole. If you hate yourself and don't value your time very much you can read all about his wife's $1000 a month credit card bill and his reluctance to get an hourly wage job because it's not "upwardly mobile" when he could be making $1000 an hour closing real estate deals. Yeah, because that's been working so well up to this point. Eventually we'll find out that it was all a Web 2.0 stunt to make money off of Google ads while people type angry messages on his web site. If we can't trust Casey, who can we trust in this world? This world we live in... all a web 2.0 hoax?
Casey Serin, today's Worst Person on the Internet!
The late Ronald Reagan once said, "The idea of in-game dynamic advertising in video games is a looming threat to American democracy. Should we succumb to the tempting mistress of ad revenue, we will have destroyed the very thing that makes us American. If you seek peace and liberalization of the game industry: Come here to this gate! Mr. Gorbachev, take out these ads!" That speech heard 'round the world was ingrained in our social conscience that day. But on the anniversary of that speech almost 20 years ago, we once again face an insurmountable foe, in-game ads.
It has been reported so much by now that a summary of this story seems almost pointless. Battlefield 2142 features a dynamic in-game ad scheme that serves advertisements shilling for various products and monitors how users view them. This sort of revenue driving scheme is nothing new. Video games have had product placement for years now. Swat 4 introduced dynamically placed ads in a patch. Those times we too were outraged, but we were not heard.
In-game ads ruin the flow of gameplay, are intrusive, and take gamers out of the immersive atmosphere that games create. Otherwise quality titles such as Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory and Swat 4 are rendered almost unplayable by ads. Players sit there like tools ready and willing to pay to view ads for nothing in return.
Anyone who claims that Electronic Arts is subsidizing the rising development costs of games with additional ad revenue streams is at best grasping at straws or stupid or retarded or all of the above. One year later after Battlefield 2, we have not learned our lessons with its "sequel".
A year later patches are still being released before the game is even released.
A year later the same engine is being used for a game that is at best equivalent to a rushed mod.
A year later prevalent bugs and shoddy net code are ruining the gameplay experience. Q&A testing is an afterthought.
A year later post-release support is still waning, miniscule at best.
A year later this game is still retailing for $49.99, and contains intrusive ads.
It is beyond shameful.
At the middle of all this is Larry Probst who, since 1984, has built Electronic Arts into what it is today, a lumbering giant ready and willing to devour all that we hold dear about this industry. Electronic Arts is now the largest third-party publisher of video game software in the world. But at what cost? Do we give up our beliefs and ideals because EA wants to make a quick buck? Why are we so powerless to stop the onslaught of in-game advertising. How have we lost touch with those words Reagan spoke almost 20 years ago?
We stand on the stage of history. Our actions mean more now than they ever did. Boycott EA. Boycott games with excessive advertising. Should PC gaming fail to garner a substantial audience without ads, should publishers prove unworthy to craft quality titles that people actually want to purchase, let it die the death it deserves. We will have at least retained our dignity. And then, Larry Probst, you have only to ask yourself, who is responsible for this hole in the video game industry?
We have not forgotten Mr. Probst.
That's Nerd Rage Countdown for this, the 7,707th day since the declaration that the princess is in another castle. I'm A Virgin Nerd. Good evening and good fortune.
The Something Awful front page news tackles anything both off and on the Internet. Mostly "on" though, as we're all incredible nerds.