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Is In-Game Advertising Pointless?

December 22, 2010 Written by Joseph Peterson

Three years ago, in-game advertising was hyped by many as a major revenue source for video games in the future. Hoping to get a piece of the action, Google bought AdScape for $23 million, and Microsoft spent $200 million on Massive. However, according to mega-publisher EA, in-game advertising isn’t panning out the way it was originally thought it would.

Ben Cousens recently sat down with Edge and discussed some of the things dealing with in game advertising,

EA executive Ben Cousens sat down with Edge and discussed in-game advertising:

We actually aren’t getting much from ad revenue at all. The in-game advertising business hasn’t grown as fast as people expected it to. We thought we’d do in-game advertising and virtual goods sales, and one of those took off really fast and the other hasn’t really taken off at all. I think it’s more about specific deals where you can tie the content in. We did a deal with Dr. Pepper for Battlefield Heroes, where if you buy a bottle and scan in the code you get an exclusive outfit.That kind of deep integration will work, I think, but I’m not convinced that we’ll have billboards in games and things like that. Maybe those days are over.

This should explain the lack of in-game billboards in recent EA games, which some gamers were actually complaining about. The things like the redemption codes do work, they did do the same thing with Mass Effect 2 when it was released on the Xbox 360/PC and it actually offered some pretty good in-game items for Commander Shepard to use.


Google dropped $23 million on AdScape, Microsoft blew $200 million on Massive