Following on from yesterday’s news on in-game advertising
, SPOnG has just noticed an interesting report in today’s Guardian which looks at this burgeoning industry. The article includes analysts forecasting that game advertising could be worth anything up to $2billion by 2010.
With the games industry currently estimated to be worth around £23bn worldwide, and Microsoft looking to blow a cool $400m (£211m) buying in-game advertising specialists Massive, it seems the advertising industry is beginning to smell the cash and is waking up to the many possibilities for touting their wares in games.
Paul Lee, a technology and media analyst with Deloitte Research, tells the Guardian: "Video gaming is probably the most important new media around - even more so than web browsing."
Former Bitmap Brother and now in-game advertising specialist, Ed Bartlett, vice-president of IGA Worldwide said: "The Microsoft news is a very positive thing…It really comments on how serious this market's going to be, and guarantees that there's going to be continuing support."
So-called ‘dynamic’ advertisers take information such as a player's age, location and tastes into account and attempt to place well targeted adverts, without disrupting the gamers experience (if done properly - at least that’s the theory). Yet whilst we are used to this style of advertising on the web, many gamers are somewhat wary about possible advertising overload in games.
"Video games are big business - but they are constituting more and more financial risk," says Deloitte’s Paul Lee "If you look at the next generation of games, the cost could go up to $20m. Now compare that to an Oscar-winning film - there isn't much difference."
Ed Bartlett adds (somewhat unsurprisingly given his job): "Gamers say that these things are adding measurably to the in-game experience. It's one of the few media where that happens."
Hmm. Overall, whilst SPOnG knows it’s inevitable that the in-game advertising industry can only grow, we can only hope that publishers don’t put too much onus on in-game ads as a new ‘lifeline’ revenue stream, at the expense of losing their key focus, which should be to develop high quality, original and fun videogames.