If you haven’t experienced in-game advertising (IGA), then, my friend, you have not lived. This is, of course, coming from someone who is obviously really cool, and has a very active social life.
Even if you don’t play video games, you’ve definitely seen a video game being played, and as such you’ve probably witnessed an in-game advertisement. In-game advertising is so big, in fact, that some sports games feature arenas with real advertisements in them, just like real life, and though they aren’t part of the actual gameplay, studies have shown that players definitely remember their presence.
In some games, like the action hit Splinter Cell, you have to use an actual – wait, not actual, it’s a video game – Sony Ericsson phone to complete missions. If that kind of in-your-face advertising doesn’t sink in after 50 hours of gameplay, there’s little hope for humanity. Er, I mean advertising.
And speaking of Sony, who makes the Playstation 3 console, the multinational company filed a patent to include advertisements – similar to those we see on television – that will interrupt gameplay in an effort to get more attention. “During online games, the patent has clauses for the display of the same advertisement to all users simultaneously, and different adverts for one or more players,” says James Holloway, of Gizmag.com.
A 2009 study found that 80% of consumers correctly recalled an advertiser and 56% had a more favourable impression of the advertiser because it allowed them to play a free game. So, imagine you’re zipping around a NASCAR track, or, you know, your avatar is, and you see an ad for Pepsi. Hey, you may not actually be able to buckle up and race the Indy 500, but you sure as heck can enjoy a Pepsi while your sweaty palms grip that controller, in the darkness of your mom’s basement. So what are you going to do? You guess it. Pause the game and buy one. Duh!
Because many more video games are distributed to a young demographic than movies, it makes sense that advertisers would see it as an opportunity to convey brand messages. Video game users also spend way more time playing one single video game than they do watching a movie, unless of course they are like younger-me, a person who watched Van Damme’s Blood Sport three to four times a day. Because I was obviously really cool, and had a very active social life.