Blog Post

Ad Week ’06: Gaming Moves Toward Center Stage

All the Advertising Week program said was “Microsoft XBOX Live!: An Inside Look at the business of advertising in video games.” That promise of better understanding the juncture of advertising and games was enough to draw an auditorium full of attendees inside on a perfect fall afternoon. The emphasis was on today’s addressabe market as dominated by PCs and Xbox Live but the new generation of consoles — Wii, PS3 — will be connectable. All are expected to contribute to continued growth.
— Mitchell Davis, CEO of Massive, the gaming ad company recently acquired by Microsoft, offered a comparison between a popular movie and a major game: The Incredibles did $70 million in its opening weekend while Halo2 brought in $125 million the first day.
— Davis: More than 70 percent of males 18-34 in North America play games — and most of it takes place from 6 p.m. to 1 a.m.
— Shelby Cox, director of marketing partnerships at 2K Sports, offered a case study about Pontiac’s in-game sponsorship of a virtual Final Four tournament to correspond with its sponsorship of the live event. The goal: men 18-34. Every game ended with a Pontiac “game-changing moment” delivered by an animated version of Greg Gumbel from a virtual sports desk. Of note, 28 percent admitted to feeling better about Pontiac because of the tournament, they averaged 26 views of the “game-changing” moments and nearly half the players admitted they told four or more people about the virtual tournament. Pontiac will repeat in 2007. (More about the virtual event here.)
— The most pragmatic — and heartfelt — guidance about how to make in-game advertising decisions came from Kevin Browne, GM-Xbox New Media & Franchise Development: “If you want to be in this space, then play. You should understand the medium the same way you understand television and print … You need to be a gamer to understand.”
— I sat down for a bit with Davis after the event and will post that as soon as possible.