Update: Sony has removed the ad (if only tentatively), stating, "we are investigating the situation to ensure that any in-game advertising does not affect gameplay." An oversight, perhaps? Either way, thanks for listening, Sony.
A fair portion of the gaming community isn't so fonds of ads whether they're in-game, on the Xbox 360 dashboard, or whatever else. So it's understandable when Sony sells an ad-free game like Wipeout HD to customers, then inserts them today via a new patch affecting offline and online gameplay (shortly after putting it on sale), and customers feel had.
More than that though, the ads appear to affect load times for the game by roughly ten seconds, according to gamer and YouTube user Ryaldeco. Well, it's not so much they affect load times as you have to wait for the ad to finish (it's a video ad) before playing your game.
The footage is somewhat suspect by the community, however -- while the user states load times are slowed by about ten seconds, other gamers note they've never experienced such fast load times on the bottom screen as are documented. However, other new footage shows equally short load times and the same behaviour from the progress bar. One gamer tested things a bit and noticed Zone mode (the one shown here) loads faster than others, so we'll chalk it up to that.
Ryaldeco says the ad comes about three times per hour and while ten seconds isn't much in itself, "that adds up if you play a lot." Continuing: "Since they managed to sneak this in, what's to stop them from forcing you to watch a full 30 second ad or longer before you can play?"
Our advice: for anyone that's bought the game, don't download the update. It's terrible, we know, but it's best to minimize this sort of thing before it gets really bad and spreads to more and more games. Don't stop there, though -- tell Sony how you feel. Their response to us went like this:
"We would like to extend our sincere apology that the content of this advertisement has upset you. Please rest assured that we will convey your concerns to SCEA's appropriate management. We value your input and concerns and appreciate you bringing this to our attention."