Friday, September 14, 2007
We love the Wii
I discussed the falling attention given to video games by advertisers last Sunday, and yet this article from Media Post's Gaming Insider states that "In-game advertising is projected to grow like wildfire, from $77 million in 2006, to nearly one billion by 2011" - about a 1000% growth spurt. This is an interesting projection when one considers that the only traditional industry games that can support advertising are racing games, sports games, and a short list of shooters that take place in real-world based cities. Even some that could reasonably incorporate advertising, such as the Grand Theft Auto games, simply don't.
So what is the author's opinion on how this amazing advertising growth is going to take place? As described in Sunday's post: casual gaming. It reaches a wide variety of demographics, and can easily incorporate advertising into any game - not just a few. But how do advertisers reach the traditional gaming demographic? Square Enix, the brains behind games such as the Final Fantasy Franchise has announced a partnership with Nifty, a Japanese game portal with the intention of making casual games which would have ads between level loads. Would more hard-core gamers follow if their beloved game producers started making more of these games? Maybe, but I think probably not.
The most logical answer most likely lies with the Wii. This moderately priced system dedicated to the kind of casual games that attract everyone from traditional male gamers to women to older people seems to be the future of gaming. Indeed, it seems to finally have made gaming a mainstream pastime. But is the potential for advertising there? One concern there could be the willingness of consumers to pay $60 for a game that now includes advertising. Another concern is the propriety of ads in Wii games. Most casual gaming takes place online, in sites that are entirely supported by ads, which people can accept. What place to ads have on the sidelines of Wii Sports or Wii Play, or even on the loading screens? One way or another, some major changes are going to need to take place in the gaming industry in order to support the kind of advertising growth projected. Perhaps some of these questions will be answered by the OMMA conference in New York coming up on the 24th. One thing is for certain - this is not the last time I will be mentioning the Wii.