PlanetSide 2

Planetside 2 message notifications disabled after players receive in-game pop-up ads

Ian Birnbaum at

Image via Reddit user chipay.

Planetside 2’s latest update riled up members of the player community when it appeared that pop-up ads had been introduced to the game. In reality, a pop-up message notification was sending out offers for SOE’s premium membership, and a server error was causing the offers to be sent out several times every hour. Now, SOE has disabled the message notifications and membership offers completely while it sorts out the problem.

Players first reported the issue in forum threads like this one, where a Redditor reported that pop-up message notifications were arriving in the in-game inbox every few minutes. "It's understandable that you want people to spend money on the game, and perhaps if you're sitting in the warpgate a pop-up ad isn't quite so bad," user Nighthawk043 wrote. "But when I'm flying a liberator, in the middle of a dog-fight, I don't want to have to close these ads." Worse, other players wrote that the pop-ups take control of the Y and N keyboard keys so they can no longer be used for in-game actions and instead only respond to the membership requests.

"This system has been in the game for a while, sending offers for discounts on [Station Cash] and Membership to specific players who qualified," creative director Matthew Higby wrote to the SOE forums this afternoon. "What we've recently added is the ability to call out specific in-game events as they occur in order to bring further awareness… Yesterday, we also had an issue with the servers restarting for several hours after the Game Update, which was resetting who should receive notifications, and subsequently causing players to receive them FAR more often than we'd ever want."

The frequency of the pop-ups aside, it’s unfortunate that SOE approved an advertising strategy that so blatantly interferes with the game. While it’s good to see that the developers are responding to the issue so quickly, the team should have been more careful with any changes to how they pitch premium services to players. Pop-up ads like these hurt the player experience and give free-to-play games—even games as good as Planetside 2—a sour reputation.