Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Adding Ads in Computer Games

There’s this funny experience I had with online Ads. My gay colleague was browsing his email at the office when I noticed an advertisement banner about gay cowboy on his email provider’s front page. I teased him that he was secretly opening gay porn sites in the office (we knew he did not have internet connection at home) and thus his preferences were detected. Not that he minded my teasing because he is openly gay, but the point is about the horror it could have had impacted had this happened to a closeted gay.

Although online advertising is not really bad (this is what makes free services sustainable), this can have a negative impact on users especially on privacy. And there are many online advertisements that are based on IP address. This makes things worse because the IP address could be shared by many computers on a network.

There is another kind of advertising that is directed on computer games. Many computer games nowadays are simulation of real life scenario. Take Formula One racing. This event has been simulated in a wide variety of computer games. We know that this race takes place in some of the best cities around the world. And these cities have billboards everywhere. These billboards are perfect places to put up online advertisements.

Think about the impact on the product being advertised. The product can be directed to narrow audience whose preferences can be easily known and lumped together.

Advertising in computer games can really be a good move. Nowadays, it has been found out that more young executives and career oriented people are watching less television and spending more time on computers. And add to this is the fact that there are ad skipping technologies like TiVo.

But not all computer games can be easy to have advertisements places on them. For instance, think about fantasy games like Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter. How can you place a billboard in Middle Earth or in Hogwarts School of Wizardry? Well, maybe this can pushed further with imagination.

There are also community simulations in online websites where one user can register and become part of a citizen and move around the virtual community. This can be a perfect place to have billboards. In general, the possibility of having ads in computer games is unlimited.

And this certainly great news for software game makers. Reportedly, it costs around $20 million to develop a game which sells at $60. But then there are software pirates and thieves. Games advertisements can help the developers raise income despite the presence of software thieves. Accordingly, games advertising typically costs about $122 dollars for every 1000 views and this cost is twice the going rate for static ads.

And as to privacy, I don’t know yet what to say. The only thing that I have in mind is that if a person is privacy conscious, then he should carefully subscribe to free services. Free services will always look for ways to live and ads are the best way to go!

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