Gaming adverts becoming big business

Written by Ryan Garside

March 24, 2006 | 12:19

Tags: #iga #in-game-advertising #project-entropia #second-life #splinter-cell

Bad news for those of you who enjoy a pure gameplay experience - soon your games will be containing lots of commercial adverts, if plans from advertising firm IGA proceed as they expect to.

The firm, In-Game Advertising, is aiming to introduce commercials to a mass audience through a new and different medium, with dynamic or static advertisements in games. Having secured $12 million of funding recently and being described by marketing experts as ‘The breakout company of 2006’ it seems as though IGA will be the leader in advertising in games – an industry that is expected to be worth $1 billion by 2009.

For many the idea of adverts saturating the game is disturbing, however for others it is just another mandatory step as games become bigger business. Some economists are even viewing online worlds as ways of measuring social trends and virtual commerce. In games like Second Life and Project Entropia players are already using advertisements as a means of making extra cash and supplementing their real world lives.

Will adverts in games be similar to films? Before you begin to play, will you have to watch a reel of commercials? Or will they be more subtle, with brands hoping for the hero of the latest FPS to be sporting the latest trainers or designer jacket? Most likely we will see a combination of both as advertising firms its grip over computer games.

Stealthy gamers will remember the Splinter Cell / Wrigleys gum atrocity of last year. The developers of that game recently admitted that in-game advertising and sponsorship was "A financial reality of game development today".

Let us know what your thoughts are on commercials in computer games over in the forums.
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