Independent developer Cliff Harris, who runs Positech Games, has published an irritated post lamenting his troubles in the advertisement world. A proposal he sent to a “major US games site” to run his ads for Democracy 3 have been denied. In a message from the publisher, they mentioned:
I’m sorry, but your ad banner is inappropriate.
When pressed as to why exactly the seemingly harmless image crossed the line, they answered:
I apologize, but we can not promote any politics as this is a sensitive topic.
Understandably, Harris wasn’t prepared to oust the site in question when we asked him for a name, but the source file of the ad indicates this could be major publication Gamespot. Looking to the page’s code, the file image is noted as “gamespot_rect1.” Its size would be a perfect match for the site’s employment of advertisements in the sidebar, which is an industry standard.
This event has led him to question on what moral ground items are viewed, seeing as violent content can be promoted freely, while this simulation title has more trouble, even when paid for. The image in question shows a voting box, a man in warm clothing and what platforms it’s accessible for, along with the line: “The ultimate political strategy game.”
Democracy 3, oddly enough, is a game with next to no imagery at all. Players dictate the happenings of a certain country by moving around budgets on a giant chart, depicting dozens of topics in bubbles. Lines and bubbles; that’s the whole game. Well, it’s actually exponentially trickier than that, but it’s what you get to see. There’s no graphic depiction of drug abuse, famine, war or any of the sort.
Positech Games recently also helped to publish the game Redshirt, which reflects the quirkiness of social media like Facebook in a game about aliens and dying a bunch. They were also the recent host of one in many Humble Bundles.
Would you dismiss an ad such as this on grounds of its political content?
Let us know in the comments.
Update: Our sources have confirmed that it was indeed Gamespot’s involvement. We have reached out for comments to the CBS agency responsible for advertising.