Wednesday, July 2, 2008
Gaming Trend Watch
By Cory Treffiletti Did you know the average age of the online gamer is approximately 40 years old? Did you know that the gaming audience is 50/50 male vs. female? If you didn't know these simple facts, you need to pay attention, because you're about to see even more gaming come into prime-time media consumption!
The numbers for online gaming are staggering, especially when you examine the total dollars spent in the U.S. on gaming and the budgets gaming companies spend on advertising to U.S. consumers. Beyond the actual numbers, gaming has become a part of the popular zeitgeist in ways that no one could have expected until the last two years. Consider for just a moment:
The gaming market is growing and fast becoming a part of the mainstream media. Even at the Apple WWDC just two weeks ago, one of the highlights for the new 3G iPhone was the slew of games that were being developed and played on the new model handset using the faster connection than the current model. Gaming is everywhere, and it is growing far beyond the initial borders of men 18-34.
Of course our industry can be myopic and tends not to pay too much attention to ideas and categories we don't fully understand. Gaming does not command a large portion of our ad dollars because the model is not easy to understand nor is it easy to implement. A quick examination of the category will reveal that there are many ways to get your message in front of the target audience using gaming. There are "standard" advertising opportunities for rotating ads into games, whether they're casual strategy games or first-person shooters. There are also integrated, more complex ways to get your message into the game, including embedding into the landscape via advertising or providing tools and content, such as automobiles integrated into racing games, etc.
Advertisers are afraid of the category because they hear the term "gaming" and they think of long lead times for integration and many hundreds of thousands of dollars for development. They also tend to think of skinny, pasty 16-year-old boys who don't leave their rooms and waste away the day playing "Mario Brothers" -- but with the continued proliferation of online gaming, there are many ways to ad-serve into the platform and change creative on a regular basis to reach the audience you are looking to reach!
Don't get so married to the old ways of doing business that you overlook these new opportunities. If the Nintendo DS campaign is any indication, then the business is going to get more widespread in a very, very short time.
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Cory is president and managing partner for Catalyst SF.
Online Spin for Wednesday, July 2, 2008: