23 Jun 2008

Playing with advertising research?

TECH news site The Register has reported on a study of 1300 gamers that found 80 percent of them liked video games with in-game ads as much as they did those without them… and 61 percent even said the ads improved their opinion of the game.

Now, for someone who would throw the remote control at the TV if he could be bothered to move any part of his body from a horizontal position on the couch when the ads come on, this comes as somewhat of a surprise.

That is, until I saw the study was conducted for in-game advertisement firm IGA Worldwide. You have to wonder. El Reg didn't, and ended its piece by saying that companies will be getting their advertising departments to jump on the in-game bandwagon as soon as possible.

I'm not so sure. Would you believe a study conducted by tobacco companies saying the health effects of smoking were nowhere near as bad as decades of independent medical research would suggest? Or those "independent research bodies," owned by cosmetics companies, that release studies showing that face cream really does reduce wrinkles. Perhaps these examples are too extreme, and there has been some well documented consumer interest in new advertising paradigms, but still…

One factor in favor of the validity of the IGA study is Sony's recent decision to start including in-game advertising in their products. But then The Reg did report IGA would be handling all Sony's in-game advertising deals. Perhaps Sony is hoping it will be a self-fulfilling prophecy … or am I just being too cynical again?


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