DVR devices have made it a snap to watch all your favorite TV shows without ever seeing a single commercial. So, advertisers are seeking a new captive audience through video games.
DFC analyst Michael Goodman expects the amount spent on in-game advertising to double by 2016, going from $3.1 billion to $7.2 bill during that four-year span. Goodman mentions the growth in the gaming market and the change in demographics. Once primarily a hobby for young males, developments such as social media have widened the playing field considerably. The analyst feels advertisers will pour more money into advertising inside games as a result.
Hardly anyone is clamoring to see more advertising but it can make in-game worlds seem more realistic. EA’s Madden NFL series contains some of the same product placements you might see watching an actual game. It’s harder to place ads for games in a futuristic setting but not impossible. Deus Ex Human Revolution, a Square Enix game set in 2027, has an in-joke ad promoting Final Fantasy 27.
Goodman’s projections didn’t even take into account games that are, for all intents and purposes, ads themselves. Gamertell recently told you about a Jimmy Buffett themed game that promotes his music, merchandise and restaurant projects. Action-themed summer movies such as Green Lantern often have games that accompany them. Decades after the first robot turned into a car, that franchise is still cranking out everything from movies to video games.
Licensed games are often very, very poor in quality but lately we’re seeing several exceptions. The game based on the Green Lantern film actually got better marks than the movie. Sega’s game promoting Captain America got favorable reviews as well. A game that’s fun to play doesn’t feel like a ten-hour commercial but, in many ways, that’s exactly what it is.