You're Ruining the Game!

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by: Gary Hayes 

We are all aware of the need for advertisers to move to where the eyeballs or rather ‘brains’ are active. There is a growing tendency for ad distributers to use the technical backbone of in-game personalization and customization to drop ads into games. But whereas most players can ‘blank’ out billboard insertions (as you drive, walk, fight around) it seems there is now a new kid on the block – 3D ad insertion.

An article on ClickZ News points out that recall is actually greater, 60% in fact if the ads are incorporated as animated 3D ‘virtual brand’ placements.

“By offering gamers the chance to play with the brand, sometimes even to act out the brand proposition, in-game advertising offers a truly unique benefit,” said Henry Piney, managing director Europe, Nielsen Interactive Entertainment.

Nothing against this in principle as long as there is a level of personalization and opt in targeting – I think it also provides some new employment opps for those 3D specialists who are running out of film/TV jobs for one. Personally I would happily play with an 3D game ad if it was about something I was interested in or ‘in-story’ – perhaps a philosophical, animated discussion about life the universe and everything with a branded travel insurance ‘bot’ in the pits in the middle of MotoGP 3 Might add something to a basic race game! It would be a real shame though if games, particularly online, realtime ones, became saturated by annoying, unskippable interstitials with non-personalized messages from the sponsor! Luckily –

“So far both advertisers and publishers have been very prudent to how advertisements were inserted into games,” said Bendov.

A recent marketing and advertising spending forecast for 2006 said in-game advertising only accounts for less than one percent of the total ad spend, though it is expected to grow by 40 percent in the next year.

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