But advertising in video games isn't like marketing on television or radio. Since each video game title is a world unto itself, advertisements placed inside that world can pollute it and make it uninhabitable. Gamers won't touch it if it becomes fouled with evil ads.
To that end, there are companies whose business is to guide other businesses through the gaming universe. Two such chaperons are IGN Entertainment and Massive Inc.
Massive says it is the world's first video game advertising network, coming into existence for the purpose of delivering ads through games.
And they have quite a few Big Names behind them: Coca-Cola, Comcast's G4TV, Dunkin' Donuts, Universal Music Group and Verizon have signed on. Through Massive these companies can reach anyone playing Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory or Anarchy Online on the web.
Truth be told, Massive has done a very good job implementing advertisements into the games that they oversee.
In the case of Splinter Cell, where you're creeping through city streets, the ads actually make sense. Of course one will see billboards and poster advertisements when walking through Manhattan, so why not bring that into video games? The same goes for the sprawling metropolis in Anarchy Online, where gamers supposedly told Massive that the in-game advertising enhanced their playing experience. The reason these ads work is because they're subtle and inconspicuous.
If you enjoy either of those games, then you're already experiencing in-game advertising. One can see that Massive is running a tight ship.
They know what ads you're looking at, for how long and even what angle you're viewing them from. This isn't just product placement, either. Advertisers have the ability to update ads in real-time when gamers are online.
We are not endorsing Massive over IGN, but we can at least see what was going on in these games. To their credit, Massive is very open about how they do business.
We only trust what we can see. As such, we're suspicious of IGN.