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Double Fusion, NCsoft Partner For In-Game  City Of Heroes  Ads
Double Fusion, NCsoft Partner For In-Game City Of Heroes Ads
April 3, 2008 | By Leigh Alexander

In-game advertising firm Double Fusion has announced a partnership with NCsoft (Guild Wars, Lineage) to place brands in City of Heroes to help fund ongoing development of the subscription MMO.

Double Fusion says it will bring brands into the comic book-based MMO - which recently transferred development from Cryptic to an NCSoft-backed Bay Area studio with many of the same developers - stating that its modern urban setting makes it "an ideal environment for unobtrusive in-game advertising."

Both companies feel the ad partnership will lend realism to City of Heroes, and NCsoft says it plans to use all of the ad revenue to fund further development for the game, which will still be funded chiefly by a mandatory subscription. Additionally, players may opt out of advertising.

Beyond that, NCsoft also says it will use Double Fusion's technology to display player-created content in the game, but as yet provided no further details on the extent of the program.

Brian Clayton, general manager of NCsoft's Northern California studio, commented, "City of Heroes is a key property for NCsoft and we take great care to grow and nurture our player community. We are pleased to work with Double Fusion on City of Heroes, as they have demonstrated sensitivity to the needs of our community and fundamentally understand how advertising can bring value to the players when executed gracefully, and in the appropriate context."

"In addition to allowing any of our players to opt-out if they so choose," he added, "their flexible technology will not only allow us to bring brand messages into the game but also provide a fun, new platform for displaying player-created materials."

[UPDATE: A post on the official City Of Heroes website by development manager Brian Clayton explains: "How far do we plan to take these optional in-game ads? Initially, we are limiting ads to the exact same fictitious billboard placements that are already in the game."

He also added: "So beyond all of this, what benefit does leaving optional in-game advertising “on” bring to the players? Why should you not opt-out? All ad revenue dollars go directly to the further development of the game, which means more great content than ever before! As we have made it pretty clear lately, with the acquisition of City of Heroes from Cryptic Studios last November, we are entering a major phase of reinvestment for the game (and brand).

Our development costs are ramping up in a major way as we look to literally double the team this year to accommodate big plans for the short, medium and long term. Optional in-game advertising is another revenue stream that helps us to accomplish all of this at no additional expense to our players. Ultimately, we leave it up to you, the players, to decide which experience you prefer."]

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