IN GAME ADVERTISING
Wikipedia defines In-game advertising or IGA as advertising in computer and video games. We all agree that Advertising is everywhere and it’s in your face from the billboards, newspapers, websites to public transports, movies etc. and with huge money being pumped into developing games , now even games have become a significant part of the advertising realm.
Some have enough product placements to put our entire Hindi film industry to shame. But how do they get there? Can they sometimes make a game more true to life?
The IGA industry is large and growing. In 2009, spending on IGA was estimated to reach $699 million USD and as of 2014 its stands around $1 billion. It is predicted that in-game ad spending will double from $3.1B to $7.2B by 2016, a mere four years from now. That goes to show how quickly the medium is growing, but also how anxious advertisers are for new revenue paths.
There are several brands that have utilized the gaming platform to reach out to their potential customers. Games like FIFA, Grand Theft Auto, Need for Speed, Battlefield are a big hit among the gamers so it’s not a surprise that these games are also popular among the advertisers. These games provide a real world scenario so it makes sense to utilize the space in game for advertising purposes.
For eg: EA sports game FIFA promotes brands like Adidas, Nike, MasterCard and Sony over pitch side hoardings. Need for speed and Burnout were paid huge amounts to promote Obama during his presidential campaign. Obama images were placed on various hoarding within the game. You could also notice Burger King joints and logos within the game.
As long as the promotion doesn’t hinder the gameplay, it’s ok to advertise at any level. But the biggest challenge lies with advertisers to churn out more ways to promote their brand through games. With most of the existing hit games based around medieval period (Assassins Creed, Skyrim), it’s getting tough for advertisers to use the games as a platform to promote.
But there is no denying that in game advertising has a huge scope some gamers specified that the product placement in a video game provides realism, suggesting that the environment can bring value to game experience. The researches about consumer’s attitude on product placement on other media channel showed that, in general, consumers are positive to the technique of placing product than to traditional advertising types.
With so much of IGA happening in games these days, don’t be surprised if you may soon find a Coca Cola bottle being used as a health aid in games.