Advertising to the Gamer

There is a new breed of human that has developed over the past few decades.  No, not a mentally advanced entity, nor a physically giant species.  This new breed is that of the “gamer”, people that enjoy playing video games and do so for hours.  The growth of video games since their conception has lead to a point where they are a very integral part of some people’s everyday lives.  These gamers are often stereotyped as children and teenagers, living out of their basement and barely seeing the light of day.  In reality, the average age of a gamer is 34 years old and spends eight hours a week playing video games (Howard, 2012).  Furthermore, 67 percent of United States households play video games (Howard, 2012).  With so many people opting to play games during their leisurely hours (in place of television), there is legitimate advertising potential.  Companies have caught onto this concept and the fusion of advertisements and video games has been consistently advancing.

The very first use of advertising in gaming came in 1978 when the computer game Adventureland included an advertisement for a future game (“In-game advertising,”).  Since then, the inclusion of advertising in games has expanded and is currently estimated as a roughly  $1 billion market (“In-game advertising,”).  This takes many forms, including both static and dynamic advertising as well as advergaming.  Static advertising in video games are unchanging advertisements, such as billboards for products placed throughout the game (“In-game advertising,”).

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Dynamic advertising depends on the newer forms of technology in the video game industry.  Today’s gaming systems allow for continual information sharing and updating between the console and the company.  This enables the video game company to gather statistics from the different users as well as alter their advertisements to be more user-specific (“In-game advertising,”).

Advergaming ties advertising and video games together as well, but in a different way.  This practice involves using an entirely new video game to advertise a product.  These games, though not played for very long (an average of 25 minutes per user), are effective in reaching the target audience in a unique way (“In-game advertising,”).

There are so many methods of reaching an audience with advertisements for a certain product that it is difficult to measure the success of any single technique.  Even still, the use of in-game advertising is effective in reaching people who observe media in different ways (gamers) and some companies have been able to prove this.  Recently, the sports drink company Gatorade discovered that their sales increased by 24 percent as a result of their in-game advertising (“In-game advertising,”).  While nothing can replace an adorable puppy commercial during the Super Bowl, using in-game advertising to promote a product is not a bad complement.

Resources:

HaitiTech TV (2013, October 7). NBA2K14 Showtime – Sprint Halftime Report HD). Retrieved February 13, 2014, from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oqL_ud5PiBM

Howard, J. L. (2012, October 06). [Web log message]. Retrieved from http://www.reloadedinteractive.com/in-game-advertising-statistics/

In-game advertising. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.theesa.com/games-improving-what-matters/advertising.asp

Obaizamomwan, O. (Photographer). (2012, June 12). What happened to in-game advertising [Web Photo]. Retrieved from http://videonomics.com/what-happened-to-in-game-advertising/

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