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Feb 18, 2005



u 2 can speek l337 just like the k00l kids here at TN curtsey of Microsoft: http://www.microsoft.com/athome/security/children/kidtalk.mspx

So when is the language pack comming out for XP??


Sure seems like a lame piece of product placement. It sounds like some medium-level exec trying to execute "synergy." This kind of inventive thinking managed to help kill AOL/Time Warner's golden merger.

OK, it's interesting because it makes a connection between RL in in-game, and we all intuit that that's important and different. I'm down with that, but shouldn't it, uh, have something to do with the game? Otherwise, it's an ad. Pizza ordering isn't exactly rocket science with or without EQ.

What would impress me: Gather a raid party and defeat the evil foo (i.e., you have to earn it). Said monster gives you the medallion of platinum salami. An NPC in town will accept this token from you and give you $x off a large pizza that will immediately start making its way toward your RL house (i.e., you get a tangible reward). The funds deduct from your game account and you never leave the space. Except, of course, to get the door.


From the information they've given so far, they don't even do anything helpful like fill in your delivery details so you don't need to remember where you live. They just take you to the web page. They might as well go the whole hog and allow /http://any.arbitrary.url .



So... Is EQ2 not doing well then? Is SOmEone deperately looking for ad revenue?

It's just sad.


A very clever way of keeping "hooked on EQ2" players from starving and dying during a 50-hour marathon. Might even prove useful in court one day if the family of the recently departed decide EQ2 was to blame. I can already see the scene... :-)


This is such a non-story. "Game lets you bring up external web browser." Exciting stuff.



Tough Crowd.

I am a fan because it seems to be product placement, but not "in your face" placement. This is a service if you want it. If you don't want it then it is not out there bothering you.

Also, if it no big deal then why hasn't it been done all over before? Is it a bad idea? Will players hate it?

We will see.

It is clearly not technically difficult, but there must have been some barrier preventing it from happening before now.

I don't make any games, but I help people fight about ideas in games (and other fields) all day. It still strikes me as clever.


Coming soon:

/starbucks: ground beans to help you grind!
/bodyshop: aromatherapy to soothe you as you play
/dell: new computer that can actually run EQ2 automatically ordered for you
/escort: citizens of Nevada only, please
/oldnavy: forgot to wash your undies this week? New ones on the way!


Does this mean WoW has a Domino's link when you type /pizza? (They certainly wouldn't be able to use Pizza Hut.)

Will EQII suggestive-sell pizza between 4PM and 7PM local time? Orcs with pizza-hut logos emblazened on their shields. Shopkeepers selling pizza slices. Pizza-shaped clouds floating through the sky...

EQII can also make deals with local chinese takaway places... after all, they know where the players are located.

When things are integrated better, will a pizza icon appear in your PC's buffs to tell you how many minutes before your pizza is delivered? Can you see the "pizza buff" as a rotating pizza above other player's heads, so you know they're ordering pizza too? (Or a rotating KFC bucket, etc.)

Will the arrival if the pizza-delivery guy/gal mean that EQII will let users log out to open the front door, even in combat?


I'll take one Magic Circle with extra cheese and peperoni to go.




Hey, the inverse idea could be better:

You beat the biggest mob in the game and it drops five coupons for a real pizza!


So what about all of the arguements I have been reading lately about preserving the purity of the game? About how people play the game to escape reality and don't want RW entities like capitalism to interfere with their immersive experience? Why Richard Bartle just stated in the "IGE speaks" thread:

"Developers who don't want a RW secondary market in their VW goods have many reasons for objecting, but one of the main ones is that such sales spoil the game. Many of their players feel the same way. Now either these players and developers are mistaken, or after 10 years or more of commodification the games will indeed be spoiled. They won't be what they were, they'll be different. Now you may argue that they could be different in a better way, and you might indeed be right, but at the moment that's pure speculation. I'm arguing that one of the key features that makes virtual worlds different from any other form of entertainment - the ability to undertake your own, personal hero's journey - WOULD BE LOST WITH THIS AMOUNT OF RW INTRUSION. Whatever we have 10 years down the all-out commodification line, it'll be lacking in this key point. If it's fun, it'll be a different kind of fun. We'll have lost something important. That's why I'm ranting about this so much."

Seems to me that being able to order pizza hut while you slay an orc doesn't exactly preserve the realism. So it's ok for the developers to engange in RW capitialsm even if it interferes with your game experience - but nobody else is allowed? I am not speaking about any TOS breaking or who owns the virtual goods - I am just talking about having the ability to buy a pizza while you play breaking the magic vicarious sphere. Anxious await your thoughts on this?


I'm with Richard on this one. It should tap into the billing system, extract all of your info, and pre-fill it in the order form. Hell, you should be able to order pizza straight out of the game.

/pizza One large pizza, with mushrooms and extra cheese. And those dipping bread things with the tomato sauce.

PizzaHut whispers, "Your order should be arriving in approximately 23 minutes. Your confirmation number is #3823993. Thank you for ordering from Pizza Hut!"

Okay, maybe some of you might find it fiction-breaking, but damn it, there's no point in doing things in half measures, I say.


The question I have on this is will the MMO game client become the next gen web browser where you can surf the web and order stuff for both your VW avatars and RL avatar?


I am not a developer, but if there are some, who read this board and think about similar product placement:

I, as a casual player, have nothing against product placement, but this was the worst solution by SOE.

If i want to brake my immersion and go to Pizzahut's website, I can do it with ALT+TAB too. I don't need a /pizza command for that.

It would be better, if i could go to a shopkeeper in the game, who has a (gameplay fitting) sign and order the pizza from his inventory. It is not really hard to put the actual menu of pizzahut into the inventory.

I could buy it from the vendor and pay with ingame money. Of course the real money would be billed with my EQ2 monthly fee from my credit card later.

To not lose ingame AND real money, mobs could drop some tokens or such as a reward, only usable by vendors, who are selling real life stuff.

That would be a real good product placement, not just a command, that brings up a website. That is useless. It's useless, because you have to register extra for pizzahut, if you are at the first time there.


I'm maybe a bit confused. Do folks feel like this is a bad idea overall, or a potentially interesting/useful/fun way of doing product placement that is insufficiently executed, or something else?

IMO, it's about as good as product placement in a fantasy game is going to get, but I agree it looks like it was tossed in without a lot of thought. While you'd have to preserve proper security -- and allow an opt-in from the player -- things like filling name and address should be pretty easy even across an http connection.

I do wonder what the financial terms of the deal were, if any.

Magicback asked, will the MMO game client become the next gen web browser where you can surf the web and order stuff for both your VW avatars and RL avatar?

This is similar to There's idea of buying something -- a denim jacket say -- for you and your avatar, isn't it? Rumblings I've heard were that despite There's abysmal player numbers, this method of monetizing the experience seems to work. So yeah, I could easily see this sort of thing in our future.

FWIW I continue to disagree with Richard on his forebodings about this sort mixing of RW and fantasy in-game (whether through direct pizza sales or indirect gold sales): MMOGs aren't just about the people who play them now or who have been playing them for the past 10+ yeas. They're not just about the "hero's journey." You can look at them that way and rant against the expansion of the magic circle, but it seems like an ultimately irrelevant thing to do. Hex-based paper gaming isn't coming roaring back either. Is wargaming the worse off for it? Depends who you ask, I guess.


They definitly did not put enough work into the idea, you should be able to order the pizza from the NPC ingame without having to leave it, the external browser stuff is just cheap marketing.


I like the idea, RedWolf, but then EQ2 may need to be updated whenever the Pizza Hut ordering interface changes. No code change in a released product is fast. SOE doesn't want to be responsible for /pizza being broken for 2 days or more! Think of their players who depend on /pizza to eat!


If EQII allows pizza ordering from in-game NPCs, and a griefer kills all the pizza-NPCs, or a guild blockades the pizza-NPCs, is this the same as standing in front of a RL Pizza Hut with a gang and preventing any customers from entering?

Would a competing pizza company hire teams of players in 3rd world countries whose purpose it is to kill/blockade the pizza NPCs?


Mike Rozak> Would a competing pizza company hire teams of players in 3rd world countries whose purpose it is to kill/blockade the pizza NPCs?


So time to expect Domino’s to be sponsoring clans rather than Alenware and Thunderbox.

A shadow of the corporate wars to come maybe – hmm, thinks: I’ve watched Rollerball too many times.


Wouldn't having an in-game pizza vendor defeat the entire purpose of /pizza?

If one had the time to leave your current battle to go to a in-game pizza vendor, you'd have the time to pick up the phone and order a pizza! At least in its current incarnation it has some measurable usefullness! An NPC pizza vendor would involve more coding, generate no additional publicity, and only be used rarely. /pizza was trivial to code, generated huge publicity, and I could certainly see people typing /pizza rather than Alt-Tab, find bookmark, so there is some potential that it'll actually lead to pizza sales.

- Brask Mumei


I agree with Tess on half measures, but Brask got it right. It's an easy test to implement. Look that all the ink spilled on this already. The ROI on this test is hitting the roof.


magicback > I agree with Tess on half measures, but Brask got it right. It's an easy test to implement. Look that all the ink spilled on this already. The ROI on this test is hitting the roof.

Cheap PR is not the same as good game feature - which granted is not necessarily the point you were making.

OK, actually the marketer in me agrees that while this seems to be to be a pretty cheap and cheesy hihi PR stunt it does not seem game threatening.

If it were the case that the run of jokes we had a while ago about MMO fast food sponsorships came true and taverns were littered with this stuff turning us into PizzaSluts then I’d have an issue.


As a current beta tester for The Matrix Online, I just thought I'd add that some of their in-game billboards carry real-world advertisements. Currently they are just for upcoming Warner Brothers movies (Constantine, Batman Begins), but I do wonder if it is just the beginning, particularly as many simply say "Add Space For Rent" - and I think they really mean it!


Tests so far indicates that in general players like or ar OK with in-context ads and the reaction to an added command like /pizza is not so negative. I think marketers will push this further.

The likely direction is that the game client is going to be like the old virtual desktop, but in this case it would be the virtual community.

Imagine that you and your guildmates/friends build a guildhall. As part of this guildhall are built-in features that you access directly via the game client: guild-management apps, spreadsheet, database tool, website management tool, etc. It could be an in-game doorway to the real world.

Better marketers will notice this trend in the development of virtual community and offer ads and placements that the specific community would gladly sponsor the advertiser (not the other way around).

A mutually beneficial structure would be to offer this ad-supported feature, but allow the players to choose which ads or placement to enter the domain, say 5 out of 20. This way, everyone wins.


>u 2 can speek l337 just like the k00l kids here at TN curtsey of Microsoft: >http://www.microsoft.com/athome/security/children/kidtalk.mspx
>So when is the language pack comming out for XP??

MS are already behind the curve, google will already allow you to search in 1337:



Product placement is here, and more is coming. I actually have no problem with that, since it's ad revenue to replace other fading vehicles.

I just want it to make sense. Like this:

Darun wrote:
As a current beta tester for The Matrix Online, I just thought I'd add that some of their in-game billboards carry real-world advertisements.

It adds to the environment, makes it more relevant.

But /pizza does not. It would have been better for SOE to build a tavern in either town where players walk in and order whatever they want, including a pizza. Heck, I could accept the Pizza Hut logo on the menu even.

Make the placement matter.


Bob wrote:

the ability to undertake your own, personal hero's journey - WOULD BE LOST WITH THIS AMOUNT OF RW INTRUSION

I'm sorry, but the idea that bashing monsters so that you can increase some stats that will let you bash more monsters that will let you increase some stats that will let you bash some more monsters, etc is a pretty damn poor imitation of the hero's journey to begin with, and in any case isn't what those games are about. A game can't lose what it never had.



In similar vein, I was messing around in Anarchy Online and saw an Alienware billboard in the game. Made me laugh, but it was cool too because the durned thing fit right in perfectly. I didn't even notice what it was at first. Talk about subliminal...

As far as the pizza things goes, I agree that it should all be in game functionality. The links in games are mostly encrypted, so security should be in reasonable shape already. And launching a browser with the client up is a bad idea on most systems. There are definitely memory leaks that cripple performance slowly over a play session (time involved scales to total memory size) and having more tasks up accellerates the process a lot. From a play standpoint you're better off closing the client, opening browser, ordering, closing browser and re-launching client. Otherwise in that next battle with 10 incoming an a couple of casters slinging spells with pretty effects you are going to freeze. That is NOT a positive side effect.

I don't have issues with product placement or ads per se in these games, but I definitely like to see some thought go into the integration to both make them minimally intrusive and minimally performance degrading.


This is basically SOE's way to regain speculated loss in revenues to market competition. Churning clients due to World or Warcraft? Use semantic product placement to make up for losses. For anyone curious, the command minimizes the game console and loads pizzahut.com into your browser of choice. When I approached the Everquest PR team about this hilarity, the response was "yeah... we got to do what we got to do… so how is WoW treating you Nick?"

Oh SOE, it seems nothing changes.


The story just made Jay Leno tonight - his comments: "How pittiful is that? What's next, automatically ordering and IV and bed-sore cream so that you can play without ever having to stop?"

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