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| In-Game Ads: Here to Stay (Add a comment )|
by: DoomCupid (6)
Posted 75 months ago ( edited 75 months ago ) in category DEFAULT
My thumb is going pale and numb from pressing the "x" button, but this guy is right on my tail, so I can't let up. We are coming up on the last turn. If he goes to the right, I know I have him. Come on, come on. Yes! There he goes! As I round the curve, a giant hamburger is in the track! The King is there! What the heck?
Welcome to the world of in-game advertising.
There are no two ways around it. Gaming is expensive, whether it's plunking down six Benjamins for a system or six Hamiltons for a game, and prices are only going higher. A CESA report from 2005 pegged game development costs between $1 and $2 million. Namco expects those numbers to increase to as high as $10 million for the new generation of consoles. Given how price conscious gamers can be, it's no wonder companies are looking to advertising to fill the void.
The 18 to 34 year old male, the prime demographic for advertisers, seems not to mind the ads much, based on consumer research from Parks Associates. That's good news for advertisers looking to invest in this business that generated $56 million in profits in 2005. Analysts predict that number will keep growing to as high as a billion dollars. Microsoft-owned Massive, Inc. claims $1 to $2 made in advertising per unit shipped as part of their ad network.
Microsoft suggests their commitment to gamers thusly: "Massive and Microsoft will continue to prioritize gamer satisfaction, applying very rigorous standards to ads before they can be included in a game. These standards allow for only those ads that add realism and entertainment value to the overall game experience, not those that might detract from gameplay."
How do you balance that, though, with how desensitized we get to advertising? Remember those annoying Flash-based ads? Those were advertisers doing whatever they could to be noticed after banner ad click throughs started falling. Will it happen in games? History says...maybe.
Advertising tends to get more boisterous, from classic advertising like sponsorships to 30 second ads to giant, helium-filled airships hovering over sports arenas.
The good news is that after advertiser hysteria wears off, things tend to settle down. Combine that with our own desensitization, and in-game ads will be no more annoying than when a cleaning lady on TV reaches for a can of Pledge.
As one of the last places to reach young males, in-game advertising isn't going anywhere. As long as it contributes to cheaper, better games, I'm ok with that.
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