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HTC introduces eye-tracking VR ads

It can track when players look away to judge ad effectiveness

HTC has developed eye-tracking ad technology that will allow companies to judge how players are - or are not - looking at the advertising.

The move is the latest in a line of initiatives from HTC to encourage more revenue from the VR sector as the market develops. 'Innovative VR Ads' - as the website calls it - offer cinema-scale ads, as well as 2D and 3D placements.

The ads are opt-in and are HTC hopes it will help developers lower the cost of their VR titles or even offer more for free. Due to the eye-tracking technology, the service can see whether the ads are being viewed or if users are turning away their gaze, which will also advertisers to better target the desired audiences. HTC believes this element, plus verified viewings, will increase the advertising revenues generated from in-game ads.

"Compared to ordinary Ad impressions, Ads that are seen by users in a immersive VR environment can not only meet the user's needs by means of precise re-targeting, but can also be detected if they are viewed effectively by users," HTC's website said. "Therefore, promotion of your applications would have much more effective impression, which not only arouses the attention of potential users and enhance brand image, but further attracts interested users directly to download your apps in the VR environment."

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Latest comments (4)

James Berg Games User Researcher, EA CanadaA month ago
Interesting. Hoping ads aren't going to make me sick while watching them in the Vive though :|
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Rashad Foux Character Artist, Hi-Rez Studios, Inc.A month ago
I understand the monetary reason for doing this, but from a personal and privacy standpoint that seems like it's going towards a line that we shouldn't cross with users.

Right now it's opt in, but we've seen the slow steady changes in what's normal, what we see, how we're logged, what we like for the last 10-15 years. What happens in 10 years where this is no longer opt-in, but just "the way things are done"? Will we have ads you have to look at to continue? Advertisements that flash by in 1 frame over and over? Advertisements that that are guaranteed and keyed exactly to your attention span so that you won't avoid them?

This seems dangerous.
Great technology, great business opportunity, but the possibilities for manipulation and abuse of such a system look really high.
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Gary LaRochelle Digital Artist / UI/UX Designer / Game Designer, Flea Ranch GamesA month ago
Acceptance may depend on how they present the ads. Will the ad be part of the environment, like a billboard? Or will the ad flash in your face as it blocks out the world that you are in?

I hope the developers/advertisers take a clue from the recent attempt to place audio ads in games. As the player was playing the game, the sound would lower and then an audio ad would play. Just about everyone hated the idea.
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Roydon WagnerA month ago
Watch Black Mirror episode "Fifteen Million Merits" if you want to see this in action and where it's potentially going. Sounds pretty terrible to me...
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