[Ad-supported games may provide a way to lighten costs for gamers and developers alike, but has the market so soured on them that they are refusing to even look?]
Back in 2006, Microsoft did a deal with Burger King to do 3 BK-branded titles and distribute them with value meals at a nominal fee ($3.99). The fee aside, these were essentially free advertising-subsidized game titles for the console.
The three titles were met with lukewarm acceptance (Sneak King got a 54 on Metacritic, Big Bumpin a 63, Pocket Bike Racers a 54), with a nod of the head to the $3.99 price point.
Then the Toyota-sponosred Yaris came out, and was deservedly panned. A 17 on MC, which, well, you have to really try to score that low don't you?
Later, another ad-supported title, Doritos Dash of Destruction, came out and scored a 53, and yes, wasn't a very good game.
Then in the past week, two more Doritos-sponsored games were released on Xbox Live Arcade. "Harms Way", and "Doritos Crash Course". How did they do on Metacritic?
Well, no one has rated either one! Really? Not ONE critic review? Not one user review? [UPDATE: a single user review since I posted this] Really?
Is it possible that people have become so soured on sponsored titles that they just assume they are crap?
And here's the thing: I played Crash Course a while last night... and it's pretty good. Kind of a 'Trials-HD meets Ninja Warrior' using player avatars. Definitely better than a lot of games I've paid $10 for. Proof that the ad-supported model can work on console.
But only if people don't assume that they get what they pay for.
[Cross-posted from my personal blog†with small edits.]