In this contributed article, Justin Townsend, CEO of leading in-game advertising network IGA Worldwide, and Ed Bartlett, IGA’s Vice President of Publisher Relations, explore how the world of in-game advertising will evolve during the next several years.
Now that you’ve read about how brands can take advantage of various in-game advertising opportunities, it’s time to explore how current technologies, media spending trends and consumer habits and attitudes will shape the in-game media landscape in the next few years and beyond.
Play and buy
One of the most applicable extensions of in-game advertising — and one that also closes the loop between above-the-line awareness and below-the line response — is the ability to physically purchase or pre-order items experienced within the game world. This could be particularly interesting for lower value items used for in-game character customization such as clothing, where the user could simultaneously buy it in real life through the in-game transaction.
With next-generation consoles already capable of one-click purchase and billing for content, the leap to purchasing real-world items is relatively small.
Dynamic music delivery
With gamers also one of the largest consumers of music, this channel is currently significantly underused, limited largely to licensed music in the game menu screens. In the future, it will become commonplace to stream live, up-to-date playlists to gamers — which they could filter by genre, artist or label — either as a subscription service or, possibly, subsidized by the game publisher, music labels or even brands.
With subsidized content already proving very effective, the next logical extension is linking gameplay achievements to real-world rewards and promotions.
Rewards could be offered for completing specific in-game challenges (branded or otherwise), as tournament or leaderboard incentives and prizes, or simply to allow product sampling, opening the potential for direct mail opportunities.
Real world / virtual world
On the periphery of gaming and digital virtual worlds like Second Life, we are also seeing increasingly hi-fidelity attempts to digitize, populate and commercialize virtual facsimiles of real cities, which will offer very interesting opportunities for advertisers and end-users above and beyond billboards and street furniture, most notably including virtual retail outlets.
— Justin Townsend is CEO of IGA Worldwide. Ed Bartlett is IGA’s VP of Publisher Relations.