Gamasutra is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them. Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Gamasutra: The Art & Business of Making Gamesspacer
View All     RSS
August 3, 2020
arrowPress Releases

If you enjoy reading this site, you might also want to check out these UBM Tech sites:


Think twice about using incentivised video ads

by Nick Hatter on 01/19/15 01:19:00 pm   Featured Blogs

8 comments Share on Twitter    RSS

The following blog post, unless otherwise noted, was written by a member of Gamasutra’s community.
The thoughts and opinions expressed are those of the writer and not Gamasutra or its parent company.


UPDATE: I'm flattered this post got so much traction. Please visit my personal website at for more great posts like this!

For those of you who don't know me: I don't like in-game ads (in their current state). So I founded a company (and was covered by TechCrunch) for this very reason.

First, a big congratulations to Crossy Roads raking in $1 million with Unity Ads' incentivised video ads. That is a huge and noteable achievement for sure.

But the issue I have is not with Crossy Roads, or with Unity Ads for that matter -- but the inference that many game companies are making from incentivised video ads, which is:

"Gamers love incentivised video ads! They want us to give them more!"

I couldn't disagree more. Gamers don't love video ads; they love free items and currency.

Just to give you analogy: A lot of people in society (such as game programmers on a deathmarch) hate or dislike their job. But they like getting money! They may want to work overtime. Does that mean they love their job? No, of course not, it just means they're willing to put it up with it.

Video ads - streaks on a toilet bowl?

Similarly, just because players opt-in for video ads, that doesn't mean they love them. That just means they're willing to put up with ads to temporarily stain the screen like "streaks on a toilet bowl" for 15 seconds (credit goes to Charlie Brooker for this analogy about popup ads).

Too many ads will dilute a premium gaming experience and thus reduce the likelihood of in-app purchases. Why do you think King dropped in-game ads? The answer: to give a more premium game experience. Guess whose games is one of the highest grossing games in the world?

("Abandoned Trailer, Toilet and Bath" by Jereme Rauckman, licensed under Creative Commons 2.0. Source: Flickr )

So whilst ads are great for compensating for the 98.65% of players who spend nothing in games, they need to be used very, very carefully.

As the in-app purchase rate drops lower than before, this will this mean more game publishers switch to more intrusive (aka. higher CPM) ads to compensate for the loss of revenue. So, the in-app purchase rate will go down even more and... You get the idea.

I am not without sympathy of course; monetising games can be like getting blood out of a stone. We just need to think twice about diluting the gaming experience.

Nick Hatter is, somewhat ironically, founder and CEO of giftgaming -- a new in-game advertising platform that lets brands buy in-game powerups and currency and gift them to players.

Related Jobs

Mountaintop Studios
Mountaintop Studios — Los Angeles, California, United States

Engine/Systems Engineer (remote)
Mountaintop Studios
Mountaintop Studios — Los Angeles, California, United States

Graphics Engineer (remote)
Yacht Club Games
Yacht Club Games — Los Angeles, California, United States

Senior 3D Technical Artist
Mountaintop Studios
Mountaintop Studios — Los Angeles, California, United States

Network Engineer (remote)

Loading Comments

loader image