Nolan Bushnell: What The Game Industry Misses
July 7, 2008 Page 2 of 6
That leads me to ask one thing I was going to get to. How do you figure out how much people are willing to sit through or tolerate for ads in the games space?
NB: We really don't have a clue right now. We know that... what we're giving them, there's not a lot of pushback. In fact, I would say a lot of people are really happy to watch the ads as opposed to having to download [a game].
So we're clearly not there. We've not gone past one 30 second spot interstitially, and at the beginning and the end. If you go to the television model where you're stacking up ten 30 second spots in between, I don't think we could ever get there, nor do we need to.
What do you think of advergames, versus in-game advertising?
NB: I think both are very... well, I think advergames are very, very powerful. They're costly, they're nichey, but I think they're certainly strong. I think it's harder to weave in your message in an advergame as much as where you say, "Okay, now here's the message." Now, we can be consistent on that, instead of pushing it in. Sometimes, the advergames are a little bit constrained, or a little bit trite, I think. But I think as they become more important, they'll get better. I don't count them out at all. I think advergames make sense.
TL: Obviously, the up-front costs and the commitment is on a much different plane.
And also they have a tendency to be really, really bad, right now.
NB: (laughter) Exactly! I was going to say that, but... (laughter) You hit the nail on the head.
TL: Put it this way. I did PR 25 years ago, and we did Twinkies. David Letterman would've done it if he could jump into a vat of Twinkies filling. [Our client] said, "No way." You walk much finer lines with an advergame and what you can do with it, versus the ability to...you're now talking about the demographic with casual games, and fitting advertising with a much wider demographic than you are from the other side of the equation.
Pretty much every casual game company I've talked to has said that they know their market is bigger and wider, but they don't know exactly who they are. How do you target these? It would be great to say, "Okay, the 40 to 50-year-old women. We're going to sell this product."
NB: We actually do.
TL: You have to keep in mind... think of it as yes, we've got great technology, and we're combining with the gaming genre, but this is all taking place on the internet, so you have the benefits of what the internet provides from a marketing standpoint. So geo coding... somebody comes in and says, "I only want to reach people in the blank zip code region." The Bay Area, as an example. You're able to do that. You're also able to look at the behavioral components from where the people are coming from, whether it be portal or ISP, in not necessarily tracking technologies, but in targeting technologies that are out there today.
NB: We need to target by zip code, which gives us a hell of a lot of knowledge about household income, size of household, ethnicity... there's a lot of stuff statistically that we know.
TL: Keep in mind, remember that if you take a 30-minute television show, you've got eight minutes of commercials, but six of those minutes are national, which means that you might get an ad that that retailer or manufacturer doesn't even sell within three states. We never have to worry about that for our advertisers and from an advertising perspective.
Right. But you can't get age and gender without a credit card or something like that.
NB: No, but there are some ways. We don't get it now, but we will. At uWink we know exactly who's there, so we really understand how many people are playing what, because we see them with our own eyes.
TL: For example, if you go to Yahoo! and you play a casual game and it's got our ads in it, we're going to know all the demographic and psychographic information that Yahoo! has in their data analytics.
Same thing as if somebody came to... let's just take... Joe's Website, and Joe's Website is targeting 18-34 year old men, for example. Or Sue's Website, 25 to 54 year old women. We're going to know what door they're coming through to play that game.
So it's not as big of a stretch or a leap to say that we don't know the answer, because the answer is that we pretty much do know who they are, and we'll be testing different things such as... click what your demographic is before you even go to the download, and be able to serve up the right ad based on that demographic. So it's not as big of a leap as one might think, from a targeting standpoint.
Whenever anyone asks me to choose my age, I always choose the oldest one possible, so that would yield some interesting ad results.
TL: Might be! (laughter)
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