In-Game Advertising

Screenshot of a Pepsi billboard within a video game

In-Game Advertising


DFC Intelligence

$7.2 billion will be spent on advertising in or around video games worldwide by 2016.
That’s up from $3.1 billion this year.
Roughly 78% of game ad revenue will be generated from advergames or ads wrapped around games in 2016.

THOUGHT:  Marketing within video games is a tactic that is still in its infancy but as the numbers above indicate, one that is growing.

But typical of new communication formats, the experiments in video game advertising thus far have taken old methodologies and applied them to the new environment and that is usually a recipe for results that make you go meh. Common examples are billboards placed among the cityscapes of virtual environments or product placement in the form of clothing for video game characters.

Even Microsoft’s attempt at video game advertising innovation is simply making traditional ads sharable on your social networks.

What all of these attempts fail to do is understand the appeal of the medium itself: The immersive experience gamers enjoy in a virtual environment, in an alternate reality that is becoming more and more lifelike every year as the technology and video game developers bet better.

Rather than trying to slap advertising over that environment, marketers should look at how their marketing can enhance the gaming experience or provide additional realism.

Why can’t video game advertising be more video game? Why can’t video games have anchor stores just as real malls do?

I could easily envision walking into virtual Best Buy store while in the middle of a session Grand Theft Auto to pick up a big screen HDTV for my crib. I could shop there just as I would at any physical Best Buy and even buy stuff that I could have delivered or pick up at the location nearest my home. Walk out the door of your virtual Best Buy and your back in the game where you left off.

Or maybe I could make trips to a virtual Sports Authority store to pickup in-game gear for my quarterback during a season of Madden. Maybe those Nike cleats I bought my virtual Donovan McNabb made him just a bit shiftier and harder to sack.

I think this type of marketing within video games is on the horizon and inevitable in one form or another. But for it to succeed, you need to understand the entire experience and ensure that it’s a natural fit. So maybe Best Buy wouldn’t choose Grand Theft Auto as a game in which to anchor their virtual store. 😉


KEYWORD WEDNESDAY:  Four of the top twenty searches at Google today have to do with the Kennedy family, in reaction to the Jacqueline Kennedy tapes that were just released.


Thank you for motion capture technology.



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