In game advertising is nothing new. Most games contain at least one brand endorsed ad, be it a billboard, product placement, or logos on race cars, there always seems to be a way to advertise within a game world. With every new release, AAA* game environments are becoming increasingly similar to real life environments, and the next step towards mimicking reality is upon us and has been for a while now because in-game advertising is going dynamic.
An often used method of in game advertising is static in-game advertising, which means that the ads placed within a game may not be changed. The static ads have been ‘hard-coded’ to stay the same (static) forever. So look out for old ads whenever you play a classic!
Something that all online platforms and services have in common is that they are constantly looking for new ways to communicate with and tailor for their audiences. The game industry has consistently been aware of the importance of interactivity (online and offline) regarding game play. Advertising has even been put to use by, for instance, inserting ASUS phones as an interactive information platform in the game CSI: Fatal Conspiracy. This type of product placement ad forces players to interact with the ASUS product. Whilst that may seem to be the furthest you can currently go, in-game advertising has added another ‘achievement’ to their list.
Dynamic In-Game Advertising
Imagine an online world that contains information from your personal real world, no matter what time or location. This is what in-game advertising is striving for. Advertising elements that used to be hard-coded, thus static, are slowly but surely being moved towards dynamic ads that change according to your location, time of day, day of the week and season.
Take Pixar as an example. If Pixar was to discuss advertising in a new AAA game that still only offered static advertising, Pixar’s best move would probably be to just decide to include their logo on a billboard or as a sponsor within the gaming environment. However, dynamic in-game advertising allows them to secure a spot, or more spots, within the game, which will always display their ads, but they will be able to change what type of ad is shown whenever they decide they want to renew what the players get to see. For companies that have evolving portfolios, this is a great new trend that will be extremely beneficial to all parties as there will be more spending opportunities within the in-game advertising sector, thus more income for the game developers, which leads to more funds for new high quality games that will please the consumers.
Because dynamic in-game advertising is such a new and upcoming trend, loads of components still need standardising. An example of these components are the measurement of the gamers’ interaction with the ads, and which angle/location/etc. works best and is most valuable.
Get in while you still can
Due to the rapid growth of the in-game ad possibilities, my guess is that the costs for in-game ad spaces are going to rise tremendously also due to the ever growing realisation of in-game ad effectivity regarding company ROIs*. So small indie games might be an easy target for smaller companies on a tight budget, but if you find yourself in a ‘tight advertising budget’ situation, don’t underestimate the value of in-game ad space investment and take the leap now.
*AAA games (triple A games): The biggest games made by the biggest studios with the highest budget (read more).
*Bing’s ROI increased significantly due to in-game advertising, read article here.
Worst in-game advertisements according to Zoomin.TV Games:
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