Roundup: Ubisoft's Advertising Error, Chinese Gaming Collapse and Bloober Team's Request

Roundup: Ubisoft's Advertising Error, Chinese Gaming Collapse and Bloober Team's Request

Ubisoft’s latest advertising caused concern - but all is not as it seems, the gaming arm of Tiktok is collapsing, the future adoption of MTX looks bleak and Bloober Team can't talk about Silent Hill 2.

Conor Caulfield
  • What’s your line in the sand for when in game advertising has gone too far?
    • Today we’ve got Ubisoft’s latest advertising scheme causing concern for the integrity of the game experience - but all is not as it seems, the surprise collapse of an entire gaming arm of a Chinese Tech giant, the worrying state of kids gaming and monetisation and pleas from Bloober Team to stop asking them about Silent Hill 2.

Ubisoft Take Adverts In Games To New Level

  • Especially with long running franchise games - one of the things that’s developed over the last few years is the growth of in game advertising.
  • It’s fairly straightforward - you load the game up, you reach the main menu and you’re recommended the most recent game in the series in a box advert or a pop up.
    • It’s not a great experience for users - but from the perspective of companies it’s basically free money.
    • They already know you like game so selling you DLC or the next entry is straightforward salesmanship.
  • Ubisoft went one step further though recently in the minds of players.
  • It wasn’t an advert popping up when you started playing the game.
    • It was an advert popping up when you tried to access the in game pause screen and map of Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, first identified by Redditors.
    • Telling players that Assassin’s Creed: Mirage is on sale.
Just got an in-game advertisement when I tried to go to the map
by u/triddell24 in xboxone
  • Obviously - this is gross.
    • The idea that the game itself is being interrupted so you can have an advert played at you?
    • Awful.
  • This prompted outcry, and many furious headlines and thumbnails.
  • Ubisoft said it was a technical error in a follow-up tweet - They didn’t however deny it was an advert, or that they intended it to be shown to players.
    • But they do say it wasn’t applied to the right place.
Our intention was to display a promotion for Assassin's Creed Mirage as part of the franchise news in the main menu of other Assassin's Creed games.

Unfortunately, this technical error caused the promotion to appear in one of our in-game menus instead. We want to ensure the best player experience possible, and these disruptive pop-ups were promptly removed once we learned of the issue.
  • Effectively this was supposed to be business as usual.
    • A Main Menu pop up that ended up in the wrong place.
  • Ubisoft don’t exactly have a lot of trust at the best of times though.
    • So obviously the immediate reaction from many was the idea that they’re apologising for being caught, that players clearly won’t tolerate the move right now so time to put these ads on ice.
  • It couldn’t just be a bug that resulted in a misapplication, right?
    • That would be way too simple a scenario
  • Except here’s a let’s play where it happened several times and the player was being advertised a DLC they’re actively in the middle of playing.
    • And the video was released four years ago, suggesting this is a system level bug that’s been there for a while.
    • Which does suggest that Hanlon and Occam’s Razors might apply - and this is just a bug that’s popped up then and now.
  • Of course, if you want to be really cynical about it - then the big brain read isn’t just that Ubisoft wanted to A/B test a bunch of adverts and see how people reacted.
    • It’s that they wanted to have the adverts be seen by as many people as possible, and that the conversation around the advert appearing before the map would get people sharing footage and talking about Assassin’s Creed.
Ubisoft just had the most successful, and viral, ad campaign ever.
by u/gamingdawn in gamingnews

Bytedance Out of Games, Publisher Nuverse Restructuring- Fate of Games like Marvel Snap Up in the Air

  • Surprise news from China as one of the up and coming players in the gaming space has decided they’re not willing to put the time and money in to get the long term return they need.
    • Since 2019 TikTok owner Bytedance have been buying up studios or funding folks who would suit their long term ambitions of challenging Tencent and Netease in the gameplay space.
    • But seemingly they weren’t generating enough hits at a fast enough rate.
  • Speaking to Reuters - a spokesperson suggested that they were simply getting out of the development and publishing of “full” games.
"We regularly review our businesses and make adjustments to centre on long-term strategic growth areas. Following a recent review, we've made the difficult decision to restructure our gaming business,”
  • Reuter’s sources suggested that TikTok Gaming would be unaffected, but that Staff would be finding out on Monday and told to wind down production on any unannounced game before December.
  • As for the group’s released titles, they had mostly dealt with whole companies they’d acquired like Moonton Technology or Pico - which will likely now be divested.
  • But what about the games they were publishing?
  • Seemingly they’re looking at divestiture, and when prospective buyers are looking, the most prominent success was Second Dinner’s Marvel Snap.
    • In fact per Game World Observer, Nuverse had one of the most successful card games in gaming, and yet even that wasn’t enough to satisfy their group wide ambitions.
According to AppMagic, Marvel Snap is the highest-grossing collectible card game of 2023, with nearly $100 million in IAP revenue year-to-date. It is followed by Yu-Gi-Oh! Master Duel ($43 million), Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Links ($29 million), Magic: The Gathering Arena ($27 million), and Hearthstone ($26.9 million).
  • As the story is currently still breaking, (especially after the Thanksgiving holiday for American Developers) it seems like we might not know the final outcome of all of this for a while yet.
  • Other than that yet another transnational megacorp decided that Gaming had a lot of potential for money making - but potential they weren’t willing to invest with as much time as they were money.

The Kids are Not Alright

  • US Kids want Video Games for Christmas.
    • At least per this Report from the ESA, 72% of the kids surveyed suggested they wanted some sort of game related gift this year.
  • But what does the gaming youth of tomorrow care about?
    • They surveyed 500+ kids from 10-17, and collated the answers.
  • Their top five requested game items paint a very specific picture of what the future of games look like - and how normalised the monetised infrastructure around games is now:
    • game subscriptions (39%)
    • game consoles (38%)
    • game gear/accessories (32%)
    • in-game currency (29%)
    • physical video games (22%)
  • It’s a slim margin - but more kids want subscriptions than they do consoles and more kids want in game currency than actual games.
    • It’s a shock to the system for folks who had grown up in the sweet spot when games has stopped being designed to be arcade quarter munchers, and they hadn’t yet reached the microtransaction end of the horseshoe.
  • Especially because this is now so normalised, this is a sneak peek into what the future of gaming is, and what audiences will care about.

Bloober Team Would Like You To Stop Asking Them For Silent Hill 2 News

  • A fun distinction between the role of Developer and Publisher/IP owner to finish us off for the day.
  • Bloober Team are making the Silent Hill 2 Remake.
    • Especially in light of the absolute travesty that is Silent Hill: Ascension’s weird mix of streaming video and hyper monetised game - folks are looking for a glimmer of hope around Silent Hill 2.
  • What they’ve been getting is (outside of Bloober Team talking about it obliquely in earnings reports) basically radio silence.
    • And silence when you’re talking to Franchise fans is space for them to make up their own horror stories about what’s going on.
  • So Bloober Team released a statement that will hopefully get people off their back
“Alongside our partner, we are diligently working to ensure the Silent Hill 2 remake attains the highest quality.

“On behalf of our development team, we would like to clarify that the production is progressing smoothly and in accordance with our schedule. We understand that many players around the world are eagerly anticipating news about the game, and we appreciate your dedication.

“However, we kindly ask for a bit more patience. Once Konami, as the game’s publisher, shares more information, we are confident that the wait will be worthwhile. Thank you for your understanding and support!”
  • Which is not actually an update on the game - instead it’s a plea to just let them get on with it.
  • It’s effectively just a confirmation that Konami are in charge of marketing and it’s up to them when things get talked about.
    • With Bloober Team being effectively work for hire - they can’t talk about the game to the public or press until Konami take the lead.
    • Which is very clearly frustrating when Bloober are the one facing the questions.
    • So please stop asking them.
  • It’s a timely reminder that just because there are developers making a game - that doesn’t mean they’re in control.