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Video Game Ads In A Post-Pac-Man World

At risk of dating myself, I remember when my friend got this thing called an Atari and everyone in the neighbourhood flocked to his house to play this game where you got chased by ghosts and ate magic energy pellets.
From ‘Moon Lander’ for the Vic 20, ‘Choplifter’ for the Apple IIE, all the way to the current ‘Halo’ series for the Xbox 360 – the quality of video games has progressed at a ferocious rate. NHL 2006 by Electronic Arts is so realistic one could easily confuse it with Hockey Night in Canada. Was I playing the Tom Clancy Rainbow 6 series by Ubisoft or watching the fine programming at Fox News again? The lines are definitely getting blurred.
Some video games have become so addictive they have been mentioned as a cause of unemployment, poor performance in school, and even a contributory factor of “divorce”: in the United Kingdom.
Given that video games are no longer limited to young children, enthusiasts are spending more time on them than television. So it was inevitable that in-game advertising became part of the video game landscape.

Based on “a recent emarketer report”:, the trend of video game advertising is picking up steam and not showing any signs of slowing down in the future. Case in point is Microsoft’s “recent acquisition”: of an in-game advertising company “Massive”:
The danger is that one doesn’t want to turn off enthusiasts by overly excessive advertising. Video game creators have to be careful as advertising overkill could affect their sales negatively in a fiercely competitive industry.
On the client side, advertisers must be careful what they associate with as there are some very violent and sexually explicit games. It can be a minefield out there. Especially if you are trying to protect your brand so treading carefully is recommended. We are now way past the nostalgic days of Pac-Man.

One Comment

  1. Karel Wegert
    Karel Wegert July 14, 2006

    Great post Sulemaan! I also find it really interesting how the emergence of online gaming as a mainstream technology is affecting in game advertising.
    The prospect of serving ads directly into games in real time is an incredible concept when you consider there was virtually zero advertising in videogames 5-7 years ago! Just think, you could be playing Grand Turismo online and the billboards whizzing by are specific ads that are geo targeted based on your location and they change every time you play…crazy…
    Karel W.

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