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In-Game Ads Added To Wipeout HD, Scrutinized

In-game ad house Double Fusion has brought dynamic, in-game video advertising to the PlayStation 3 game Wipeout HD across North America and Europe, the company said Monday. [UPDATE 2: Ad scrutinized, pulled after it creates significant addit
In-game ad house Double Fusion has brought dynamic, in-game video advertising to the PlayStation 3 game Wipeout HD across North America and Europe, the company said Monday. Double Fusion said it will inject advertising that will complement the hover-racer's futuristic presentation. The new video ads have yet to launch, but Double Fusion CEO Jonathan Epstein said certain unnamed advertisers have already signed up for placements in Wipeout HD. Ads will be shown during the game's loading screens, Double Fusion said. The company added that the video ads would be "the highest definition" available in-game, and the game will also have supplemental ads that are standard definition. One of the game's advertisers is State Farm -- an insurance firm that doesn't exactly reflect the reckless blow-em-up zero-gravity racing exhibited in Wipeout HD or previous franchise entries. (See this YouTube video, found via games blog Fidgit). Wipeout HD arrived as an ad-free download for PlayStation Network in September 2008. The game is developed by Sony Liverpool, which recently released the expansion, Wipeout HD Fury. Double Fusion said it plans to launch in-game advertising in "another handful" of PS3 games by the end of the year. The San Francisco-based company services more than 30 game publishers via its ad network. Analysts have estimated that in-game ad spending could reach $1 billion by 2014. Currently the market stands at about $600 million, a figure that also includes web games. [UPDATE: According to in-game comparison footage captured by YouTube user Ryaldeco, the in-game Wipeout HD ad is displayed as part the "loading" process, thereby significantly inflating that loading process to more than twice its usual length. The user reports having to sit through the ad more than three times in an hour.] [UPDATE 2: Sony has informed Eurogamer that the ad in question has been removed, commenting that "we are investigating the situation to ensure that any in-game advertising does not affect gameplay."]

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