What next for In Game Advertising?

With rumours abound that Microsoft if to  close its in-game advertising  company, Massive, you have to wonder where it all went wrong for in-game advertising.

As a keen gamer, I’ve always been aware of the captive audience that exists hooked up to Xbox LIVE or the Playstation Network, yet actually disappointed by the lack of ads and sponsorship appearing in the games.

Last year’s report from Neilsen highlighted how gamers were spending an average of 17 hours per week gaming so why has it been so difficult to monetise this medium?

  • Firstly, Publishers don’t believe that gamers  like intrusive ads, especially when they’ve paid upwards of £40 for a game, and possibly a subscription to Xbox LIVE.
  • Creating ads for games is quite costly due to their bespoke nature..
  • It’s purely brand based since their is no way of “linking” to another online action. Much of the growth in online advertising has been from performance based advertising, such as paid search, re-targeting and affiliate marketing. Since In-game ads typically appear on console games, their isn’t the direct connection to an “action” for the consumer to follow.
  • Many console games just aren’t suitable for advertising. E.g Halo Reach has been the biggest game of 2010, yet it’s set in the future in another world….not many billboards there! Although Gears of War got around with downloadable extras courtesy of The Discover Channel’s Future Weapons show.

So is it the end for IGA?

It doesn’t seems so.

In reality the opportunity has simply evolved. While the growth console-based IGA has been disappointing, IGA within social gaming has real potential. While social gaming has seen incredible popularity (just like console gaming), it also isn’t affected by some of the limitations above. Most social games are offered for free if the player will allow ads; the formats for ads are the same used for normal display advertising; and they ads can link  through to an advertisers website.

Google has already embraced IGA for social games and emarketer has already predicted the market will be worth $220m this year alone, so fasten your seatbelts for the next emerging ad channel. pandora charms cheap

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