It's nice to see something that Sony, Microsoft and Electronic Arts all agree on. In-game advertising, they all feel, is a good thing. Following Microsoft's assertion that gamers are more than happy to have advertising in their games, Sony has announced a partnership with IGA Worldwide to serve up ads as you play, with EA saying it is also getting in on the action.
Sony Computer Entertainment Europe and Sony Computer Entertainment America have said that marketers will be able to tap into the PlayStation 3's user base by going through (at least for now) IGA, which provides dynamic in-game advertising services.
Just how this arrangement will work – and whether third-party publishers will be able to form their own agreements with other in-game ad companies – has not been said.
EA, however, was quick to announce its involvement. The publisher has entered a two year agreement with IGA for the PS3. The deal puts the company in charge of managing ad placement in EA Sports series (including Madden, NBA Live, NASCAR
) as well as the Need for Speed
franchises. IGA and EA are not strangers - IGA already handles advertising in more than one EA game.
The Yankee Group, a technology research firm, reckons that over the period running from 2006 to 2011 the in-game advertising industry will grow by a whopping 1,150% to $971.3 million (£496.3 million).
Phil Rosenberg, senior VP of Sony Computer Entertainment America, echoed sentiments from Microsoft (which SPOnG told you about earlier today
), saying, “Ads that are organic to the environment not only benefit developers and advertisers, but also create a richer experience for gamers.”
Speaking about the Sony deal, Justin Townsend, CEO of IGA Worldwide, said, “PlayStation 3 is undoubtedly the prime opportunity for the in-game advertising industry. Through this partnership with Sony Computer Entertainment, IGA can provide advertisers with a large and valuable global user base of 16-35 year old consumers with disposable income. With our standardized awareness-building advertising formats being delivered directly into people’s living rooms while they play, there are great opportunities for advertisers looking to engage through an entertainment medium outside of the traditional TV spot.”
IGA would, of course, label the PS3 “the prime opportunity for the in-game advertising industry”. Microsoft after all has its own company, Massive, more than willing to handle in-game advertising on the Xbox 360. Massive already handles in-game advertising for EA
on the 360 and PC.
Whether you see in-game advertising as an new revenue stream for the games industry that will alleviate costs at retail or an annoyance that spoils the purity of your gaming, it looks like it's here to stay.