By the end of this year, there is going to be a whole new world for internet advertising, quite literally. This “world” is going to be PS3’s new social networking experience, called PS3 Home. It will be a free game that you log into and then interact with people much in the same fashion as people do in comparable titles like, “The Sims.” What’s different about this world though, is going to be the ability for people to advertise on it. Publishers are going to be able to buy privileges to set up “shop” in the online world, and subsequently advertise themselves, network with others, and eventually even sell goods via the game.
Imagine this new world. You turn on your console, you log into this virtual world and suddenly you are inundated with advertisements. Sony says that the goal of this “free” program isn’t to just supply unlimited advertising space, but one must wonder how truthful that is. Given that a virtual world isn’t limited by anything except it’s development, a rising popularity in this simulation experience would necessitate a higher need to advertise within it. It would simply be Sony’s only way to keep things running. Add in all their ideas about possible expansion, and commercial content, and we have a regularly advertising gold mine.
It’s hard to really picture the limitations that advertisers will have with this universe as well. It could very well be the Wild West for quite some time on PS3 Home. You might log on and be bombarded with people running their character up to you and spamming text bubbles or voice comments of, “CALL 1800 XXXXXXX NOW AND SAVE ON YOUR CAR INSURANCE” or a million other versions of this. It could quite easily become quite a nuisance to even participate in this world, if such a large proportion of people there are just online to advertise and try and “hook” you.
Thinking further about what you can expect from this world, one would start to also wonder where lines will be drawn. Will there be a “red light district” within this world? How will Sony bias legitimate honest advertisers vs. people running scams? I can’t even comprehend all the undertakings that Sony is going to have to deal with in order to make this simulation a place to both have healthy and fun interactions with people, and be a great ticket into the scene of network marketing. It just seems like the interests of one party will be in contradiction of the other and considering it’s a “free” gaming experience, which direction the scale is going to tip seems crystal clear to me.