Friday, May 05, 2006

Advertising to gamers

Microsoft has bought Massive Inc., a company that specializes in producing in-game advertising. MI has partnered with an impressive array of game companies, including Sony Online Entertainment, a relationship that will definitely become interesting after Microsoft's purchase. MI predicts that in-game advertising could reach $2 billion by 2010. In-game advertising is all the more important for going after the coveted 18-34 male demographic which has been unreachable lately through normal means of advertising simply for the fact that people in that age bracket are no longer watching TV, movies, or doing anything remotely linked to traditional advertising streams. They're simply spending all of their time online. Joystiq notes that this acquisition will result in another revenue stream in Microsoft's games/home entertainment division, which should help offset the losses they've taken due to the high cost of production for Xbox units.

I'm not against advertising in general. Watching ads on TV is just part and parcel of the broadcast medium, and I have nothing against it since I don't actually pay for the TV programs I view (and no, I don't have cable). However, if you are forced to purchase a game, and then have to sit through advertisements, then there is a problem. Your eyeballs have been effectively taken hostage which I feel is a shady practice. If, however, the game was offered for free along with the ads, versus a pay for subscription model where the game would be ad-free, then I would be all for it. Too bad there's no way that is going to happen.

On another note. What about accepting sponsorships for having in-game advertising? If I play Counterstrike or World of Warcraft with a company's logo on it, then do I get a kickback? This might be something to consider for clans and guilds out there (I know some professional clans are sponsored in competitive esports). I'd gladly wear a Logitech shirt if my subscription fees to WoW or some other online game were paid for (I know you can't slap whatever you want on WoW clothing).

No comments: