The release of Madden NFL 11 this summer will mark the beginning of a new shift in policy for publisher Electronic Arts—they will sell all the in-game advertisements themselves.
Previously the company had relied on third-party in-game ad specialists, such as Massive Inc. and IGA Worldwide reports MediaWeek. EA’s Senior Vice President of Global Media Sales Elizabeth Harz said the move would allow EA to offer more elaborate,” integrated packages to advertisers.”
Greg March, Digital Group Director of the advertising agency Wieden + Kennedy thinks the move will streamline the ad buying process, “I love the idea of being able to talk to only one guy.” He continued, “That’s a logistical, procedural improvement, which should help. EA should be able to sell deeply on every platform.
Massive, which is owned by Microsoft, has estimated that the global in-game ad category could grow to $1.0 billion by 2014. An article penned by Massive GM JJ Richards last year offered that gamers like in-game advertisement because “it adds to the realism.”
GP: I would be shocked if many gamers came out and said they were in favor of in-game ads. The notion that games should be cheaper because of the revenue generated from ads is a bit naive too. Maybe the best case scenario is that in-game ads help offset the growing costs of development and assist in keeping the price of games from climbing any higher than they are now?