We all know that "wonderful" game called WoW that thrust the MMO market upon the unsupecting public for a while. Even some businesses started holding meetings on WoW (supposedly...I have yet to see an actual case of this). The phenomenon was so big, that WoW quickly gained MILLIONS of subscribers; the biggest number ever achieved by any online game ever. To keep up with this powerhouse of an MMO companies are coming up with new things that will boost their game's past it. The newest of these ideas has come from none other than the SCI-FI channel.
The SCI-FI channel has come up with the idea of a new show. Then, with this new show they will create an MMO for the masses based on the program. Now, normally I would look over such an article as stupid idea for the promotion of their show; but one thing caught my eye that made me really look into this. They plan on having in-game events that actually determine the outcome of the show. If there was an epic battle in the game, the epic battle (or at least the aftermath/effects of it) would appear in the show as well and direct where the series went. Even this sounds a little iffy on the "if it will work" scale, but the idea is new and brings up a few questions about how MMOs are immersed into our lives.
MMOs are already very immersed in our everyday life. They eat away at our monthly income (or your parent's monthly income) and take away bits (or all) of our lives to be played upon. But none of these games really immerses the game into our lives by giving us control over not one, but two media options that take up most of our free time. TV shows are very popular, but usually tend to crash and burn around season 4 or so. This project is so ambitious as to say that they can stay on the air forever; or at least for as long as the MMO is in business. Now, this in itself is a near impossible task, because SCI-FI would need to make both the show AND the game superb. People will have continue to play and watch for as long as they feel like putting in the effort for. That means that both the show and the game will need to be good enough to survive on their own without the other if need be so that if a viewer loses interest in the show, they can still play the game and vice-versa.
The reason I chose to talk about this topic, though, is not because of the game itself but how the idea could effect how we play games in the future. Will there be games that determine the script and happenings of a movie? Will there be a game that will have a real life event that will determine the outcome of something in the game? This immersion is all well and good and I completely support it by itself, but the only problem is that anything like this is almost planting a big target on it's chest that reads "Advertise Here". Advertisements are fine in my opinion, as long as they keep to the beginning of movies and commercials. If my raid experience seems unrealistic of lack-luster because there's an ad for Verizon or Red Bull at every loading screen, I would not be too happy. To impede on my brain-cell killing TV time is ok (if it's only for 5 minutes), but to place your self-promoting crap on something like an in-game billboard that will always be there is too much for me and is something that needs to be prevented. The corporate world is big enough as it is. We don't need to inject it with any more steroids.
Now, you may be thinking that it's a stretch to assume that advertisements would find their way into this game. But it is only inevitable if these immersion games will be filled with them. They will most likely be produced by TV companies. TV stations only make their money through commercials. They have no other source of income other than maybe a donation. If they were to produce a game, even starting it would be incredibly expensive. I don't know if you've watched the SCI-FI channel recently, but they're "original movies" aren't exactly top notch. Now if they have trouble making good movies, they are going to definately need a little help finding the money for producing a multi-million dollar game and a show while still upholding their station. The only way they can get this money is through advertsiements, which makes me worried for the integrity of the game.
As much as I think the idea of immersion is great, it is not absolutely necessary to enjoy a game. And because of this non-necessity I think it's almost better to avoid it to keep from advertisements from making our game-play unrealistic.