Casual game distributor and developer RealNetworks has announced the launch of in-game video advertising in its casual titles, including brands such as Honda and Hasbro, in a partnership with digital marketing services and technology firm Eyeblaster.
These advertisements are largely positioned around the game (in pre and post-game screens, and in other areas than the playfield), rather than actually within the game environment. The company indicated that this new initiative presents an opportunity for advertisers to reach a more diverse audience including the highly-desirable advertising segment of women over age 30.
Analysts predict that the market for in-game, or perhaps more correctly in this case, 'around-game' advertising is set for substantial growth. According to a recent report
published by analysts the Yankee Group, in-game advertising could surge in size to around $732 million by the year 2010, up from just $56 million in 2005 and $22 million in 2004, as companies begin to target in-game worlds for static and video commercials.
In-game advertising is now integrated into titles from RealNetwork's Seattle-based development studio, GameHouse. "Effective advertising in casual games requires an added level of sensitivity to the consumer experience, ensuring the ads are not overly disruptive or intrusive," said Michael Schutzler, senior vice president, Games Division at RealNetworks. "By leveraging our experience in online games and ads, we've created an approach for downloadable games that blends into the gameplay and is also very effective for advertisers."
"Eyeblaster's EB.In-Games solution makes it easy for advertisers to target the captive, devoted gaming audience," said Gal Trifon, president and chief executive officer of Eyeblaster. "Given RealNetworks' global leadership position in casual games, it is a great partner for making this innovative advertising model work for the industry."