I’m ToutSuite a fake troll poster from Caltrops blah blah blah
Okay, I know in-game advertising is unpopular with some people here on Qt3 (including, I believe, Tom, at least in its present form). I’ve been thinking about it recently from the point of view of the advertiser, not so much the consumer, though there is a bit of overlap in what I’m asking in this thread.
Put simply, it appears the current model of in-game advertising hews somewhat closely to the way network TV advertising works. That is to say, advertisements for content (ie. other shows) tends to be limited to what is offered by the network on which the advertising appears. If you’re watching a ABC show, chances are you’re not going to see an ad for the new CBS sitcom. Any shows advertised are going to appear either on ABC or one of its cable outlets (Disney, EPSN, etc.). This makes good business sense, and generally the networks have enough like-minded shows that it’s not too much of a marketing stretch, and besides the demographics support whatever cross-promoting might go on (ie. advertising NFL football coverage during “Two and a Half Men” makes sense - the products are different, the audience largely the same).
From what I’ve seen, in-game advertisements of other games are limited to what the publisher of game being played has to offer. If you’re playing an EA game, the billboards (when not advertising non-gaming products) will most likely be advertising additional EA games. Again, this makes good business sense (free marketing of your products), but I wonder if the potential for crossover is lessened. Are we still at a point in our industry when gamers can be approached so homogenously that it makes sense to advertise the latest football game in the environment of a first person shooter? Sure, there are some people out there who ravenously play a wide range of genres, but I’m guessing most people are like me: I’m married, I have a kid and a full-time job, I have to squeeze in my game time where I can. I guess in some people’s mind I might be considered a “casual” gamer, but that’s not really accurate. I own a PS3 and a better-than-decent PC rig, I spend over $100/month on games, I develop games for a living, the games I develop are (largely) aimed at the hard core gaming audience. But I just don’t have time to play every game that comes out.
And most people don’t. When I talk to friends outside the games industry, most of them own XBox 360s and most of them play Halo and not much else.
Now, obviously Halo doesn’t need much more advertising. But the audience you can reach in Halo is massive. But if Microsoft puts in billboards for… I dunno, Crackdown?.. is that really targeting the average Halo player? Sure, that person is a “gamer,” to some degree, but what if you could put up a billboard for Crysis, or whatever its XBox360 incarnation will be? Microsoft would laugh if you came to them with that proposal, but it makes better business sense to both studios in the long run, as you can keep players who favor particular genres pointed to the next major product from a number of publishers, not whatever genre games are due to be released by a single publisher in the next quarter.
It’s well-known that games tend to go stale after three months, at which point people begin looking for the next similar but improved model of what they’re playing now. I’d like to think we could capitalize on this by keeping the audience loyal to the genre, rather than the hopeless quest to keep them loyal to a publisher.
I’m not sure how to get this to work, but I’m guessing it would involve the newer model of a third-party advertising broker who solicits buys from any number of publishers and charges appropriately to place them in a competitor’s product.
Anyway, thoughts appreciated.