Contesting some media reports that in-game advertising is facing tough obstacles, Microsoft's JJ Richards -- general manager of in-game ad subsidiary Massive -- has said the market is "thriving" and will reach $1 billion by 2014.
In a blog post
on the Microsoft Advertising Community blog, Richards said the Massive group has seen double-digit year-on-year revenue growth in the 2009 fiscal year. The 2014 projection was based on a May release from analysis firm Screen Digest.
The executive also claimed that in addition to the robustness of the market, the effectiveness of in-game ads themselves is on the rise: on a year-over-year basis in 2009, he said 20 percent more gamers recall seeing brands advertised in games than did last year, 18 percent more gamers said in-game ads stand out more than their more traditional ad counterparts, and overall brand recommendation is up by 29 percent.
In less concrete terms, Richards said "gamers like" in-game advertising. He explained, "Most gamers like advertising in the game because it adds to the realism," and used sports games as an example of a video game experience that would be less realistic and immersive without in-game ads. "Gamers are consuming the experience
with the ads. The ads add to and enhance that experience," he went on (emphasis original).
He did not address the placement of advertisements in genres whose non-game counterparts are less inherently associated with product placement.