The Halting Point

Thursday, April 20, 2006

5x increase expected for in-game advertising industry.

In a recent Slashdot story and it really made me wonder...

How in the hell are companies like Massive going to penetrate the fantasy game market? You can't just drop a billboard in the middle of IronForge.

No, if advertisers want to break into the fantasy games, they're going to have be much more creative about it, and much more humble. Advertisers have to EARN the respect of the gamers who's virtual worlds they are invading. They can do this by going with the grain of the setting rather than against it. How can this be possible?

Lets take a look at who currently sells things in these games. Not the gold-farmers or auction hounds...but the NPCs. I wonder if gamers would take much offense at seeing a food vendor named "Cournel" selling "K'ntuckee Fried Gryphon wings". It spoofs the real brand and product, is creative, yet also is done in a way that makes it easy for gamers to get the joke and make the connection to the real brand. I'm willing to bet quite a few players would respond positively to a brand parodying itself.

This is a very integrated method of bringing a brand into a fantasy world. And it works completely in-character. There are of course methods that are a bit more out of character that still affect the game world directly. What about an invasion that displayed a text message in the chat window along the lines of "This invasion sponsored by Teamspeak"? Yes, it is significantly more intrusive, but still adds value to the gameworld in the form of the invasion. Unfortunately, Teamspeak is unlikely to advertise their products in such a way due to budget, and a brand like coke would seem very out of place.

For this reason there exists a third option, however it is by far the most intrusive and as out of context as it gets. Advertising placed in the interface. Perhaps just a logo or a tiny text ad in a mostly out of the way space. Yes, this is probably going too far, but it could be could see a :15 spot on your loading screen when you switch zones.


  • You should've added more of your /. comment to this post.

    The KFC idea has two problems: 1) few large companies are willing to poke fun at themselves, and 2) it'll get old real quick.

    Promotion via real-life brand storefronts would be more than acceptable in realistic games like GTA but, as a /.er noted, driving by a BK is one thing, having to pump up those Adidas is quite another. I wouldn't be surprised if Rockstar was doing the food stops with the intent of bringing in such advertisers for the next version. But the game would change as advertisers demanded that X% of the missions would require a drive-by and that their logos got rendering priority.

    Banners, "sponsored by" text and burnt-in logos will always be hated and you can be sure that modders would quickly come up with patches to remove them.

    By Blogger ReallyEvilCanine, at 4/20/2006 2:01 PM  

  • I will not pay for videogames with advertising in them.

    Yo ho yo ho a pirates life for me!

    By Blogger Bob, at 4/20/2006 2:26 PM  

  • Wow, I'm kinda amazed that I got a reader from my Slashdot .sig. Yay me! Thanks reallyevilcanine!

    By Blogger Halting Point, at 4/20/2006 2:43 PM  

  • Sigs and "Home page" addresses = hits. Your comment was interesting enough that I actually clicked on the "Read the rest" link. You wrote well and clearly knew what you were writing about (I have a bit of experience in the field) and so checked out the blog. You're bookmarked now.

    Were you by any chance one of the participants in the old "Bitch, go make me a sandwich" group?

    By Blogger ReallyEvilCanine, at 4/20/2006 2:58 PM  

  • Well back in maybe '98 I definitely had the NetZero ad box in the corner of my Ultima Online client...

    By Blogger Erik, at 4/21/2006 8:53 AM  

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