"For years our players scoffed at how there was no real punishment for dying in AdventureQuest Worlds," said CEO and founder of developer Artix Entertainment. "So we added a fate worse than death: ads!"

Previously, players of the browser-based free to play AdventureQuest Worlds were simply punished with a nine second respawn timer when their character died. The new system causes Death to make a personal appearance on the player's screen, brandishing a static ad. It's still only nine seconds before the player can respawn, but now they're forced to stare at the ad for those nine seconds rather than just waiting.

Currently, three ads are cycling through the system, all of which relate to Artix products or services. One advertises the AdventureQuest Worlds card game which is available from Toys R Us and HeroMart.com. Another advertises ways in which players can earn the game's premium currency of AdventureCoins, and the last advertises the benefits of becoming a paid member of the game -- one of which is the ability to turn off the death ads.

It's an interesting approach, and presumably there's nothing stopping Artix branching out and giving people teeth-whitening and "One Weird Old Tip Will Stop Your Buttocks From Falling Off!" ads if the system proves to work -- it'll provide them with another revenue stream if so, allowing them to keep the game free to play.

This article originally appeared on GamePro.com as Death by Advertising in AQWorlds