The placement of
ads in video games has been much in the news this week, with Microsoft buying
in-game ad-placement firm Massive (eCommerceTimes) for an estimated $200-$400m.
This is a market that, according
to the Washington Post, IAB/PwC measured as generating $1 billion of the
$12.5 billion generated through online advertising in 2005.
This is also an ad market that can only grow – online games allow for far better product targeting than many other media, are played obsessively by the crucial youth demographic that is deserting many/most other mass media and are arguably less intrusive than almost any other ad format since the real world is inundated with commercial messages and a virtual world is merely adding authenticity by including them also.
Moreover, the placement of ads targeted by online activities is a technique that has to date only really leant itself to PC games. Two trends are likely to foster much greater future growth – the increased online-enabling of console games is the first, but the second, and probably the more important, is the wifi enabling of portable games devices such as the PSP and DS. The combination of online behavioural targeting with location-specificity is what will really make this market sing.