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In-Game Advertising Becomes Reality

In order to cover the permanently increasing costs for developing computer games, in-game advertising will become a crucial factor. This is the result of the 3rd GfM World Congress, which brought together game developers, advertisers and agencies in Berlin to discuss the topic “Games for Marketing”.

The e-game market with its current and future advertising possibilities will become more and more attractive, especially as TV is losing ground as an advertising platform.

New technologies enable us to place and measure advertisements “live” within the game. This is the result of the 3rd GfM World Congress which brought together media, brand managers, advertising agencies as well as e-game and mobile publishers.

At the beginning Carsten Szameitat, general manager of 11 Prozent Communication, offered a neutral survey of the entire e-games market. Based on several studies and special polls he laid the stress on the following aspects: Brand managers are better informed on the new forms of in-game advertising than agencies.

Yet he also stated that agencies are catching up because of the active demands of the brands. On the other hand, publishers have mixed feelings concerning this new source of revenue. They do not want to put off gamers with excessive advertising.

Considering the steadily increasing developing costs, in-game advertising can be an acceptable way of generating additional revenues. Therefore there is a demand for intelligent programs and consultants who can tell where, when and what amount of advertising is feasible in games, said Carsten Szameitat.

IGA Wordwide, a globally acting in-game media agency, showed how e-game advertising can be measured even today. André Sonder reckons that in-game advertising will play an attractive role in the brand marketing mix.

Peter Kabel, general manager of the communication agency Jung von Matt, took up a very critical stance. The image of computer games and players would pose an inhibition threshold.

The range of coverage of computer games would only be of interest for a small minority of brands. Andreas Wochenalt of ORF Online, who sees himself committed to the TV mass audience, rebuted this argument with the example of ORF´s Ski Challenge.

More than 2 million users downloaded this game. An enormous range of coverage had been achieved and it was possible to implement adverts very effectively without reservation.

Kabel agreed that traditional TV advertising would become less influential sooner or later, but the TV representatives from broadcasting corporations under public law showed perspectives for future solutions.

Lutz Anderie, marketing manager of Atari, stated that in Germany - after Scandinavia the most important "PC region“ in Europe with a user base of 50% - racing games are still leading among PC games with a share of 10% and are the perfect genre for beginners.

Although racing games would be well suited for marketing issues, automobile manufacturers do not like to see their cars damaged in crashes – quite contrary to the gamers.

However, advertising messages – especially in the form of product placement – have already become an important factor for financing the development of games.

Up to now the TV has been the media centre in almost every house-hold. In the future it will be a monitor which can display TV programs among other things.

The new possibilities of home entertainment, with an increasingly important role of games, will be made accessible to a broad audience through a new generation of devices and broad-band networking, said Martin Bachmayer, marketing manager at Microsoft.

Since Microsoft had established computers in every office and almost every home, the next challenge would be to equip every person with a mobile computer, Bachmayer went on.

UFA and Incom Mobile reported from the mobile world. UFA presented a multi-player technology fit for future requirements. As the first new development platform, Incom Mobile demonstrated new possibilities in mobile media marketing and its advertising formats.

This might be an additional source of revenue that could be applied straightaway especially in the TV and film industries.

Very satisfied with the growing interest in in-game advertising and mobile advertising formats, the organizer of the event announced that the congress would be extended to one and a half days and arranged for an international audience in 2007.

It would be increasingly important to offer a platform for the exchange of ideas between international brands and publishers.

Désiré Athow

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website building and web hosting when DHTML and frames were en vogue and started writing about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium. Following an eight-year stint at where he discovered the joys of global tech-fests, Désiré now heads up TechRadar Pro. Previously he was a freelance technology journalist at Incisive Media, Breakthrough Publishing and Vnunet, and Business Magazine. He also launched and hosted the first Tech Radio Show on Radio Plus.