Study Says In-Game Ads Mostly Ignored
In-game advertising has really blown up over the past few years, and game designers all over the world continue to pursue the relatively new money-making endeavor. Gamers, on the other hand, remain concerned about a potential constant barrage of ads in high-profile games.
However, the latter group gets the good news today. A London-based company, Bunnyfoot, has conducted a study on in-game advertising, and the results appear obvious- consumers essentially ignore or simply don't notice those annoying ads in games.
The study used a test group of 120 gamers (aged 18 and older) and a bunch of sports games, which certainly have the highest number and frequency of in-game ads. By utilizing the Sponsor Fixation Index metrix, Bunnyfoot was able to measure the responsiveness of gamers to those ads, many of which are painfully evident.
Certain games do elicit a bigger response, like Smackdown Vs. Raw and NBA Live, but the SFI in other games was surprisingly low. One of the games that caused the SFI to bottom out was Project Gotham Racing 3; gamers registered a zero percent SFI score, probably because you're not reading billboards when flying down the road at 200 MPH.
In the end, this small study does indicate that in-game ads really aren't having the intended effect. And if there's not much visible return on their investment, advertisers will probably look elsewhere. Still, money is money, and we can't help but wonder if in-game advertising - if done discreetly yet correctly - would allow game makers to reap the rewards of big companies like Pepsi. After all, everyone ultimately benefits from more money coming into the industry...
But for now, it doesn't look like many in-game ads are having any sort of significant impact.
12/26/2006 Ben Dutka