June 4, 2008
PlayStation 3 introduces ‘in game’ advertising
Owners of PlayStation 3 consoles will soon see adverts inside video games after Sony struck a deal with IGA Worldwide, a company that specialises in ‘in-game’ advertising.
The adverts, which can take the form of anything from a bottle of soft drink a virtual character consumes to a large billboard inside a sports stadium, are updated by the PS3’s internet connection.
The deal will bring give rise to the first in-game adverts seen by owners of PS3s, and should provide a filip to the fledgling video game advertising industry, which experts say could grow to be worth $1 billion by 2011.
Electronic Arts (EA), one of the largest video games publishers, will be the first company to incorporate adverts into its PS3 titles under the deal, financial details of which haven’t been disclosed. Among the first games to display advertising will be Madden NFL football, NBA Live basketball, and the racing franchises Need for Speed and Burnout.
Advertisers have long sought ways to target the young, mostly male audience which spends an increasing amount of time playing video games – often at the expense of traditional media such as TV. Publishers, meanwhile, have been exploring new, web-based business models.
In January, for instance, EA announced that it would distribute a slimmed down version of Battlefield, the popular combat game, free via the internet, and aim to make money through in-game ads, as well as the sales of weapons and other virtual items that can be used in the game.
IGA Worldwide says it serves “hundreds of millions of ad impressions” each week to more than ten million people who play online games.
One problem faced by in-game advertising, analysts say, is that adverts cannot always be configured to run across different consoles, even if they are designed for the same game, making it difficult for brand owners to plan campaigns.