There been much talk about the rise of In-game adversing, and that it soon will be a million dollar industry. But is it just me, or have anyone ever seen one of those new ads? Where are they? I haven’t, and it doesn’t bother me ether.
As with the classic ad-business model, I’m very skeptical to the integration of ads in games. The founder of Skype, Kaaza and the new internet tv-service Joost, Niklas Zennström recently spoke how ads for television medium have to be better optimized. More directed ads, instead of just massively send it out to every possible soul and hope some notice and bother taking the time to remember the ad. And how the new dynamic ads would work as a complement to static tv ads. I’ve had this thought for a long time, and even written about it, that more relevant ads aimed to the exact audience is a must. With the new technology today, thats possible. Especially after reading more about Search engine marketing!
Ads, ads, ads and more ads… We’re drowning in ads. And a prediction from Bernie Stolar at AdSense for Games, states that around 2010 about 80 percent of games will contain ads. Sure, if you include mobile-, free web-, advergames and casual games, you may get closer to that number. But do gamers and players of “real”-games really want ads? And to what price?
Its a fact that games have “stolen” audience from classical medium like radio and tv. And in the harsh world we live in, its natural for companies to search for new ways to distribute there message. And In-game adverting is one of those new ways that so many seems all excited about and believe is the future. Sure, many many people play games, no doubt about that, but I think the beliefs in games as a ad distributor is overrated. For advertisement in games to work, you have to be really careful when planing to incorporate ads. One of many claims I share with Gamesindustry.biz columnist Rob Fahey.
First, if you take a look at the potential games that is suited for ads, that number is relatively small. One of the most important things about games that definitely can’t be disrupted is the sense of FUN! Games are fun, otherwise we wouldn’t play them. And for many its a reality escape, an alternative world. The last thing we want is for that world to be invaded by things that remind us of reality, that disturbs our sense of emergence with the fictional world. For some game genres, ads and real brands are a must, like real car simulators or sport games. For ads in games to be accepted, I believe there have to be incorporated just to enhance the experience. With means excluding a shit lots of games and genres!
Back to the “Fun-factor”. Stolar claims that they work with that in mind, that at the end of the day the games have to be fun. But what we’ve seen in the past, beautifully portrayed in the Corporation (the part about how FOX alter news content to please the advertisers), giving in to and letting advertising finance production is a risk for the freedom of content creativity. If gamedevelopers buys in to the in-games ads model to better finance there games, will they still have the freedom to create what they want, or risk of being slaves under the advertisers. Hopefully the real world is much more like Rob Fahey describes it, that the advertisers need the game developers more than vise versa.
And still today, in this modern age of games, the majority of games is developed for men. While statistics claims that girls play more and more, I’m still to be convinced of that fact. Girls are the strongest drive force and decision maker when it comes to purchase for family’s. Thats a big problem, and what speak against advertising in games. And the facts that so many games are released all the time, and while many hours are spent in one game, there are continuously new games coming every month. People use the same internet, visiting the same sites and watch the same tv channels more than playing the same game for a whole year! And with games there is only one chance that people buy it, in contrast to movies where it get released again on DVD if the cinema version isn’t a hit.
I don’t say that in-game advertising should exist. As pointed out earlier sometimes its necessary for the game to be realistic. But the games should be priority nr 1, and not the advertisers ads or money. I’m just afraid that they get to much power over the industry and the games. I would like to see an example where this works.
And now… this isn’t real, but it sure looks silly, and I think it would brake more than help games and advertisers: