Role-Playing Video Games Gets Ads

NEW YORK Jagex, the maker of popular role-playing game Runescape, said it would bump up its advertising.

Through a deal with WildTangent, Runescape will feature both banner ads and rich media pre-play ads. Initial advertisers include Coke, Sony and the Navy. Set in the Middle Ages, the adventure and fighting game will not include in-game advertising.

“It does not make sense for a medieval character carrying around soda cans,” said Dante Botha, global advertising and marketing sales manager for Jagex.

Runescape is a massive multi-player online game, which allows thousands of players at once. Jagex has 800,000 subscribers to the game and 4 million free players, which do not have all the capabilities of those paying $5 per month. On average, Botha said free players spend more than 30 minutes a day in the game, which allows users to create avatars that interact and go on missions.

Botha said the game’s audience is younger than many more advanced role-playing games, like World of Warcraft, with the majority of users in the 14-24 demographic.

“As a Web property, it’s going to a very sought-after universe,” said Dave Madden, evp of sales at WildTangent.

WildTangent replaces Bolt Media as the advertising sales partner for Jagex.