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Sony Pulls Plug on PS3 In-game Ads

The placement of dynamic commercials within TV shows and motion pictures — touting both real and fictionalized products (especially sci-fi titles going back at least as far as 1997's "The Fifth Element") is nothing new. While audiences may have different views on the practice, it hardly ever led to theater-goers marching en masse to the box office to demand their money back. But in the videogame world, that's pretty much what almost happened.

Following a growing chorus of online complaints from PlayStation 3 gamers that dynamic video ads were slowing the download times of Sony's "Wipeout HD" game, Sony has taken note and said it will remove the commercials in question from the game content. (Sony owns and makes the PS3 game console.)

In recent weeks, "Wipeout HD" had been infused with several in-game advertisements (i.e., State Farm Insurance) that popped up as on-screen video content during the game's pre-race downloading. According to the Web site Eurogamer, "Fans cried foul and took to the Internet to express their frustration, and now Sony has relented and pulled the ads."

The Web site said the incident involving Sony was an "extreme example," but added that "the ads apparently weren't just an annoying presence in the game, they drastically changed the experience."