Wednesday, 4 April 2007

Google In-Game Ads?

Back in February it was discovered that Google was buying Adscape Media, a company that specialises in advertising within games. Not surprisingly, it seems that Google has also been working on ways to collect specific information on the game user and to display ads relevant to them while they play.

Webpronews is reporting that Google has filed a new patent application in relation to this. It takes into account a user's interests and gaming behavior by monitoring their online gaming experiences. The Patent states :

"Information about a person's interests and gaming behavior may be determined by monitoring their online gaming activities (and perhaps making inferences from such activities). Such information may be used to improve ad targeting. For example, such information may used to target ads to be rendered in a video game being played by the person."

This is quite a significant development when you take into account the success Google has had with targeting relevant ads to users on the web!

Do you think gamers will easily accept this kind of advertising during game experiences, if it doesn't interrupt game play and the ads are relevant? If you're a gamer, how do you feel about in-game advertising?

Update: MIT Avertising Lab has spotted a new book called Advergaming and In-Game Advertising: An Approach to the next Generation of Advertising if anyone's interested in reading up on the subject. It's available on Amazon, but quite pricey.


Huw said...

I am curious as to how 'subliminal' this advertising is when players are 'in the zone' and what type of brain activity is being triggered when brands and promotions are flashed by during this state of mind.

By blurring real products and brands with fantasy situations will gamers start to have a more heightened emotional release caused by graphical representations of a brand? Will this more intense emotional release be positive? Could it be manipulated? Could it be anything but manipulated?

jj said...

Thanks Huw,

Intriguing questions. While 'in the zone' will gamers start to have a more heightened emotional release caused by graphical representations of the brand, and will this be positive, and could it be manipulated by advertising.

The aim of in-game advertising would be to draw people closer to the brand (and ultimately to buy the products), not to interrupt or annoy them and drive them further from it. In that case, it would have to be positive experience for the user, and even add something to their experience rather than taking away from it.

It seems clear that the more relevant the advertising is to the user, the more chance there is of it having a positive effect. It's speculation at this stage, and it remains to be seen just how this might be achieved within games.

That Webpronews article links to another by Bill Slawski who theorises:

" This kind of user input might help select relevant advertisements. Someone drives a racing car from Dodge, they may be shown ads for Dodge cars. They pick a Miami sports team, and get ads for tickets for events in Miami. A Beastie Boys soundtrack selection might trigger rap or hip hop ads rather than Britney Spears."

It will be up to the people coming up with advertising ideas to develop creative scenarios that actually add to the gaming experience, rather than taking away from it.