In-game ads are getting more misleading, sexist and misogynistic, says Meretzky


Ads for Gardenscapes, Merge Mansion, Lily’s Garden and their contemporaries attracted the ire of veteran game maker Steve Meretzky in the opening session of GDC’s F2P Summit today. 

The gaming consultant, who has worked at Infocom, Disney, King, Activision, Blizzard and EA among others, did not mince his words when assessing the ad creative out there in the market right now.

He called on ad regulators and platform holders like Google, Apple and Facebook to stamp out misleading ads, and warned advertisers that they are forcing players out of the ecosystem.

“So far, these ads are working and the mobile industry is still growing,” he said. “But for how long? How many times will a mobile gamer be lied to before they stop clicking through and installing new games?”

“I recently read Jared Diamond’s book Collapse,” he continued. “On Easter Island, the residents chopped down every tree on the island in an attempt by each chief to build more and more impressive monuments. And with their island completely exhausted, everyone died off and their civilisation ceased to exist. Diamond writes: What was the Easter Islander thinking when they chopped down the last tree on the island?”

“In a similar vein, I wonder what will the game marketer be thinking when his or her lying ad drives the last player of the mobile gaming ecosystem.”

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