London based Bunnyfoot, a behavioral research consultancy group, has released the findings of its latest study showing a surprising lack of engagement between players and in-game ads in many popular sports titles.
The group, which uses a metric it calls the "sponsor fixation index," has shown that consumer engagement with ads in recent titles like Gran Turismo 3, NBA Live and Project Gotham Racing 3 has taken a turn for the worse.
The study looked at 120 gamers aged 18 and above, assigned to games in one of eight sports categories, using its SFI to measure the player's engagement and receptiveness levels as a result of in-game events and dynamics.
While the study did find relatively high SFI scores in the NBA Live and Smackdown Vs. Raw franchises, recall and recognition figures for in-game ads, the group reports, were 'surprisingly low.' Microsoft's Project Gotham Racing 3, the study found, was the worst performer in the category, showing a zero percent score in every SFI category. Recent PGR3 campaigns have included a high-profile ad launch for auto manufacturer Cadillac (pictured), headed by Microsoft's now-internal Massive in-game ad group.
The results, say Bunnyfoot, are proof of a 'significantly poor level of engagement with consumers,' and show weakness in in-game ad models to capture consumer attention. They add that though methods of advertising are following real world models, used in games themselves the models are 'failing to influence the consumer in any significant way.'
Said head of visual engagement Alison Walton, "These results reflect the industry’s concern relating to brand value and return on investment. Understanding consumer interaction at a deeper level of analysis allows us to measure the value of advertising investment."