In-Game Ads Seek ‘Next Level’

NEW YORK As the U.S. videogame industry continues to grow in the next several years, dollars spent on in-game advertising will increase accordingly.

By 2013, marketers will spend a total of $681 million on in-game advertising, up from $403 million in 2008, per eMarketer. During the forecast period, the relative mix of console/PC-based and Web-based advertising will shift slightly toward the latter, with 75 percent of the total spent online in 2013.

Console games are still the king of the hill, but their predominance is being challenged by a new generation of browser-based games. These games are more advanced than earlier Web-based titles, largely thanks to faster broadband connections and the graphics and audio processing capabilities of today’s home computers. Games on mobile devices have also caught on in the mainstream and stretched gamer demographics.

A growing number of ad-supported online games are also available to consumers for free. Surveys show that gamers have largely accepted the bargain of free game play in exchange for exposure to ads. This puts marketers in the pole position to make their brands part of the gaming experience through banner and video ads, sponsored sessions, product placements or other vehicles.

Marketers have a golden opportunity to reach an audience that is larger, more diverse and more active in a host of online and mobile pursuits than the average population.