With last week’s Call Of Duty – Modern Warfare 2 video game shattering all game launch records and this week’s Assassin’s Creed 2 expected to do extremely well also, marketers should be considering the advertising potential that games provide. Although in-game advertising has not yet achieved the growth rates hoped by many, it continues to grow, and new technologies and games continue to appear.
For example, on Xbox Live, Microsoft has started to emphasize advertising around games vs. dynamically inserted content within them. Using the new approach, Microsoft’s video game ad insertion subsidiary, Massive, grew in 2009 while most of the rest of the advertising industry contracted.
Microsoft is also releasing a new game this week called “1 vs. 100”, which is a live, scheduled game show that will be available over the Xbox Live network. Gamers who “tune in” at the scheduled time can all participate and instantly see their statistics compared to the other tens of thousands of viewers/gamers worldwide. Microsoft already has planned 15- and 30-second spots for the game, which is in line with what people would expect of a game show. So, if this game is successful, it might spawn even more advertising opportunities. This might be the beginning of a whole new gaming genre, merging television and video gaming.
Even outside of the in-game advertising arena, there are many potential marketing opportunities for tie-ins with the games, no different than how companies tie their advertising to upcoming theatrical blockbusters. We’re at the beginning of the era of game advertising, but the demographics of the audience are attractive and the possibilities continue to grow.
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