Advertisers Testing Ads In Console Games

By Ben Hamill - July 30 2020
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Advertisers Testing Ads In Console Games

A migration of ads from television to console gaming may be the perfect antidote not only to the massive loss of live sports coverage, but also to challenges surrounding advertising content reaching a younger audience no longer interested in lazing about in front of the TV all day, new studies now show.

This obviously means that TV is facing a host of new media contenders as advertisers head into an all-new direction by beginning to test the efficacy of ads in console games – ads boosted by rewards being offered in return for viewing.

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A Page From Mobile Gaming’s Book

According to a report recently published in the Wall Street Journal, Turner, which is a division of media and advertising conglomerate giant AT&T’s WarnerMedia, has to date already tested three of its shows within EA’s UFC 3 game. And what’s more, Experian recently started testing ads within the same game too.

But since ads running within the context of console gaming is something altogether new, and in many ways unchartered territory, companies such as Simulmedia are having to borrow from the experience-value of what has been achieved in mobile gaming.

The gist of how in-game advertising traditionally works in mobile gaming is that players are given the option of either watching the advertising inserts (typically anything between 15 and 30 seconds long), thereby earning certain in-game benefits and rewards, or opting to skip the content instead – obviously forfeiting those benefits and rewards.

Spend Vs Control

The expectation, so says Dave Morgan, who is the founder and CEO of Simulmedia, isn’t necessarily that console gamers will love whatever the content being shown them, but that in the very least they will prove a compliant audience in return for an in-game item.

While it’s certainly true that paid games (some at a retail price of up to US$60 per game) are nowhere near the same as free-to-play mobile games, the end-result basically remains the same. At the end of the day it all comes down to choosing to watch the ad in return for a reward or relinquishing the reward by skipping forward.

The main benefit for big brands opting to go the in-game advertising route, as opposed to largely uncontrolled social media ads, is precisely that: control. In 2017, as many as 250 big-brand advertisers pulled their content and accompanying ad spend from social media and streaming platform YouTube over concerns related to their ads running alongside extremist-content.

Since console gaming isn’t a space vulnerable to user-tampered-with content, it offers 100% controlled intelligent brand safety.

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