In-game Advertising – Worth $2 Billion by 2010

Online gaming opens up 'dynamic' ads.

Posted by Staff
In-game Advertising – Worth $2 Billion by 2010
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.
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Comments

I'll Eat Your Soul 19 May 2006 13:44
1/3
I don't have a problem with in-game advertising so long as it's appropriate to the context. An accurately modelled McDonald's in a modern day city setting is fine, but a McDonald's in a futuristic sci-fi shooter is not.

The same goes for dynamic, profile-based advertising.
TwoADay 19 May 2006 14:27
2/3
I'll Eat Your Soul wrote:
I don't have a problem with in-game advertising so long as it's appropriate to the context. An accurately modelled McDonald's in a modern day city setting is fine, but a McDonald's in a futuristic sci-fi shooter is not.

The same goes for dynamic, profile-based advertising.


I agree with your overall comment, although in many circumstances I can see McDonald's being appropriate for a futuristic shooter (such as Deus Ex). But you're right -- the context and "appropriateness" of the placement is important.

If Gun or a western-themed game had ads for classic brands (such as Stetson hats) in the windows of the general stores, I would feel more immersed in the world, not less.

Basically, I feel that if the placements are well integrated in the world of the game, it may actually heighten the immersion, rather than lessen it. I would not cry foul if the Pizza Joints in Vice City were Pizza Huts, because I would feel that appropriate. What I think many are opposed to are blatant, unnecessary additions (I find the Tiger Woods Golf to be terrible in this respect, which is somewhat strange if you follow my logic, but I think in that case is that you have to buy equipment that is obviously better than standard issue, and it's all branded.)

Although the thing that jars me more than anything is the prescence of liscenced crappy music. Are you listening EA? your EA Trax are terrible. horrible. Maybe that's why I only own one EA game (the rest have been sold off) and I play that one rarely.
I'll Eat Your Soul 19 May 2006 18:58
3/3
Oh amen to that... Burnout 3 was one of the strongest candidates for the mute button going.
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