There was quite a bit of furore in the virtual reality (VR) community at the end of last week when Facebook announced it was going to begin early testing of VR ads, starting with Resolution Games’ PvP shooter Blaston. Well, as you’d expect this didn’t go down well and sparked an almighty backlash against the videogame. And Resolution Games most definitely listened, issuing a statement confirming Blaston’s removal from the test.
In a couple of tweets via the Blaston Twitter account the developer said: “After listening to player feedback, we realize that Blaston isn’t the best fit for this type of advertising test. Therefore, we no longer plan to implement the test.” This was then followed up with: “To make it clear, we realize that Blaston isn’t the best fit for this type of advertising test. As an alternative, we are looking to see if it is feasible to move this small, temporary test to our free game, Bait! sometime in the future.”
Blaston launched last year as a relatively cheap and cheerful shooter where two players stood on podiums trying to whittle each other’s health down using guns. The twist is that all the projectiles move in slow motion. It was well-received by critics and players alike for its easy to pick up and play mechanics. Since the ad debacle, you’ll notice on platforms like Steam and Oculus Store that there’s been a deluge of negative reviews purely due to the advertising news.
Whilst some are simply annoyed by the sheer prospect of advertising in a VR videogame, the general feeling seems to be that ads are fine in free-to-play titles enabling a developer to generate revenue but in a game you pay for it’s a big no-no. Advertising in games is nothing new but the subject of where and when they should be used – especially in VR environments – is far more contested.
Hence why Resolution Games mentioned moving the advertising test to one of its earliest VR titles Bait! which is free across all supported platforms. This is still a test at any rate with Facebook yet to mention how these plans may progress. At the time of the original announcement, Facebook did say other titles will be rolled into the test, those studios may have now reconsidered!
The backlash has slightly marred Blaston’s big Crackdown update this week. This has seen a new single-player campaign arrive, avatars and skins, as well as an upgraded social hub.
As the topic of VR advertising continues to divide the VR community, VRFocus will bring you further updates.