Remember when advertising supported free network television? Yes, we watched (or avoided the ads), but we got the programming for free. Now, it's bad enough that we have to pay cable or satellite companies a monthly fee for what used to be free TV and then we have to add on additional monthly fees for premium programming. At least we're used to that model.
Video games have been another story. They cost a goodly sum to buy, but we don't have to put up with ads once we start playing. Hold on. Wait a minute -- didn't I just read about video game publisher THQ forging a deal with a company called Massive that would enable advertisements to be transmitted into games on PCs and consoles that are connected to the Internet? Apparently "Juiced," THQ's street racing game, will be one of the first to show ads.
Looks like this goes way beyond inserting "Drink Coke" on a billboard or getting an advertising impression into the games in some other less intrusive way. Perhaps we will now see "commercial breaks" during video games -- stopping the action so players can get more snacks or send a couple of IMs and text messages while they wait for the next level or race.
Guess football and baseball games will now have regular breaks between downs and innings so advertisers can plug their goods -- just like in real life. I thought video games games gave us a chance to "escape" reality, but reality keeps chasing after us. After all, with traditional network TV advertising continuing to erode, advertisers have got to find the "eyeballs" someplace.