Advertising in Games

European Adverstising in Games Forum was last week in London and according to Ian Bogost at WaterCooler Games it was quite tragic.
He also mentions a few facts which I thought I’d sum up here. There seems to be only 3 in-game advertising network provider; Massive, IGA Partners and Double Fusion. And they support only 6 games between them!!! Which is mind blowingly low, in my opinion. But then there are hidden advertising deals around as well, they just don’t go through game advertising network providers. The Sims Online, for example has McDonald’s all over the place! Yup! You can actually buy a Big Mac for your avatar which was suprisingly popular. They actually did provide an alright service for those keeping skilling houses because the owners didn’t have to go through the tedious task of making food for everyone all the time. There was also the service provided by Everquest and Pizza Hut. While playing Everquest II you could just type the command /pizza and be guided over to Pizzahut.com. Not to mention the mini-advergames in MMO’s like Wells Fargo in Second Life. But I’m rambling now.
The market is ofcourse expected to soar now that the next generation consoles are more ‘connected’. And I know I’m rather unpopular in saying this, but I rather enjoy what Massive have done for Anarchy Online. I rather think it’s tasteful and definately not invasive in any way. At a time when production costs are extremely high isn’t this an acceptable step?
I am scared of the evolution of in-game advertising, however. There are just so many dangers and I’m not going to depress myself by dwelling on them here. And to be perfectly honest, I’ve pretty much forgotten what the point of this post is.
Advertising is going to hit games big time, there’s really no doubt about that. I find it really strange that it hasn’t already.
But if we are to enforce advertising in MMO’s, I certainly feel that the player’s ‘rights’ becomes an even more important issue. If companies reserve the right to advertise their products in these virtual worlds, certainly a player should have the right to free speech! And the EULAs definately need to be discussed more indepth!
Gamasutra has this as their ‘Question of the week’ discussion! “Do you think that in-game advertising is going to be important to the video game industry in the future? What business models and placement tactics for in-game ads make the most sense to you?”. I can’t wait to read the results!!

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