"The ad has been removed," Sony told Eurogamer, "and we are investigating the situation to ensure that any in-game advertising does not affect gameplay."
The load time increase was most noticeable when going into one of the nearly-year-old racer's Zone events, a mode that sports only one hovercraft and replaces many of the game's textures with simple colors that change depending on player progress.
In our testing, Shacknews found that Zone events took about 12 seconds to load sans ad, though that time jumped up to around 20 seconds when a video ad was playing.
Though the most frequent video advertisement--a spot for insurance firm State Farm--has now been pulled, it remains unclear if Sony has halted the entire program. While verifying Sony's claim that the State Farm ad had been removed, Shacknews encountered another video advertisement--this one for Wipeout HD's recent downloadable add on "Fury"--though it has yet to appear again after more than an hour of repeated testing.
The video advertisement functionality was quietly added to the PlayStation 3 racer in an update late last month, with ad firm Double Fusion yesterday announcing that it would be serving commercials in-game while "responding to advertiser demand and offering an engaging ad format while pushing in-game ad innovation to a new level."