As a video game enthusiast it has become apparent that video games are as ripe with advertising as television, print publications, and even billboards on the street.  Gone are the days of old school 8-bit games and there scrolling backdrops that go relatively unnoticed.  Today’s games are much more realistic when it comes to the graphics and offer a great place to sell ad space.

            The target market for advertisements in video games is 18-34 year old males.  Estimated demographics based on the type of game; fantasy, sport, racing, etc. also allow advertisers the opportunity to reach a more specific target over and over at a fraction of the cost of traditional advertising.  In a recent study conducted by the Nielson Company it was made apparent just how successful advertisements within video games can be.  Gaming giant Electronic Arts Inc. teamed up with Gatorade and allowed the drink company to make use of product placements within their NBA and NHL titles.  The placements included in game arena signage, water bottles used on the sidelines, as well as score updates and penalty calls.  The study showed that the ad campaign increased household spending on Gatorade by 24% by consumers who had purchased at least one of six titles.  This was the first study of its kind to be conducted. 

            Over the years advertising in videogames has become more and more prevalent; there was just no data to show return on investment.  However, fear of the unknown hasn’t kept advertisers from trying though.  Advertising of this type goes back to the early 1980’s, although methods have changed with technological advancements.  Early advertisements were static.  Images would be placed into the gaming environment in a fixed location, a billboard for example.  Now that most game systems are internet accessible it allows advertisers to change ads on a whim.  This also allows them to monitor the effectiveness of placement by tracking the players time spent near an ad in the virtual environment.
               
            
To me these types of ads don’t bother me.  If you are playing a video game that takes place in an urban environment why wouldn’t there be billboards.  Why shouldn’t these billboards have advertisements for real products and businesses? Would it be any less distracting if the billboard read burger barn instead of McDonald’s?  I don’t think so.   Selling ad space will only help to generate revenue for the game manufacturer.  This in turn could correlate to lower priced games or even a bigger development budget which could mean better quality games. 

                To me these types of ads don’t bother me.  If you are playing a video game that takes place in an urban environment why wouldn’t there be billboards.  Why shouldn’t these billboards have advertisements for real products and businesses? Would it be any less distracting if the billboard read burger barn instead of McDonald’s?  I don’t think so.   Selling ad space will only help to generate revenue for the game manufacturer.  This in turn could correlate to lower priced games or even a bigger development budget which could mean better quality games.

 
 


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