Game-ad exec talks up game ads

Massive CEO claims in-game ad spending could approach $1.8 billion by end of this decade; says ads are accepted medium.

Mitch Davis thinks in-game ads are going to mean big bucks for the future. Of course, he'd better think that--he's CEO of Massive, Inc., the largest in-game advertising firm in the world.

At the Advertising in Games Forum held yesterday in New York City, Davis predicted that in-game advertising would become a $1.6 billion to $1.8 billion industry by 2010, reports Mediaweek. In-game ads have been taking off recently, becoming a major topic of discussion at industry events and becoming more and more prevalent.

Massive has led the way, recently signing deals with 2K Sports and THQ. At yesterday's forum, Davis showed off two prototypes of future ads. One featured an interactive billboard that could be peeled back to reveal a code for gamers, and another featured a BP gas station where motorcycle riders could pull into.

Gamer reaction to in-game ads is mixed--most don't mind the ads as long as they don't interfere with play. Like them or hate them, if Davis is right, gamers will have to get used to them.

Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email news@gamespot.com

Did you enjoy this article?

Sign In to Upvote

70 comments
Briantb_2008
Briantb_2008

Not surpising. But I'm wondering how they divi that up among mag. ads and online ads

granitehole
granitehole

if they dont interfere with gameplay and reduce game costs ten i dont mind.

ghostadv
ghostadv

This is one reason why I'm not getting any of EA's games any more

superbrett2000
superbrett2000

LOL. The way these companies talk about putting ads into the game it sounds as if it were something us gamers were demanding. I can handle in game advertising only if it results in a significantly lower retail price. If I had to pull into a BP station to fuel up my motorcycle, then I expect to pay maybe $30 tops for the game. I play games to escape the real world and all the advertising that comes with it. Ads in games is a sure fire way to ruin things for me and I have a nice library of older games I can easily go back to and play. Ad companies are only fooling themselves if they think I'm going to roll over and let my games be bombarded with ads with no compensation for me.

fenriz275
fenriz275

Hmm ... they want me to pay $50+ for a game then have advertising shoved in my face? No wonder some people have no problem with pirating games. Not that I'd ever do anything like that ...

aliengroups
aliengroups

hey i can live wit the ads (and id want the ads if some of em had codes behind them).

CaptainCrazy
CaptainCrazy

I will only start to hate in-game ads if they make it mandatory to sit and watch them when you first turn on the game like with movies. That goes way over the line.

Sundart
Sundart

I don't think ads will hurt if used intelligently. If I am roving around in some war torn city, I don't want to see a huge, bright Coca-cola add because it will take away from the gameplay and immersiveness of the game. An advantage of having these ads is that they will hopefully bring game prices down, but it will allow more companies to stay in business longer. However, if these ads are tacky, overabundant, and just don't fit with the theme of the environment it's in, then I, and every true gamer, will be against it.

Kfoss
Kfoss

i hate advertising...commercials, raido commercials, best buy mangazine offers...not happy..and in game adverts i really hate those...because they often destroy the world that the game is trying to project...i mean MGS3 and a pepsi machine.!!!??..not working for me...honestly im really sick of people trying to sell me things..

ApisBee
ApisBee

Will the Revolution play retro commercials?

Hellisunreal
Hellisunreal

Just don't stuff it into are faces, PLz keep them subtle

ApisBee
ApisBee

Can I have a Pop-Up blocker for my XBOX-360? Will the PS3 have ad blocking capability?

ApisBee
ApisBee

Ads in games? Games should be free if they contain ads, like broadcast television. I don't like the idea of paying $60 for next-gen games and be bombarded by advertisement. What next, Banner Ads?

fluffebunnie
fluffebunnie

**takes up reading** Seriously. The end of gaming as we know it is coming. Prepare to have it ruined. Maybe it's time to start looking into some more worthwhile hobbies...

DeuxHero
DeuxHero

As long as there in a understandable place be it a billboard an order confrmation on someones computer or in a city sandbox a few OMGWTFBBQ's in beliveable places i don't want posters up on walls or every npc talking about OMFGWTFBBQ (aloth a few npcs here and there would be fine if beliveable) I don't want "Buy OMGWTFBBQ" carved into a random rock i don't want a magic "OMGWTFBBQ" sword/axe/mace/spell/ect (replace OMGWTFBBQ with product)

fluffebunnie
fluffebunnie

Ok, let me get this straight: Mitch Davis, CEO of Massive Inc. (the largest in-game advertising firm in the world), thinks that in-game advertising is an acceptable medium? Of course he does! He is in the business of pushing his agenda! Screw you! I don't want your ads ruining my game experience! The ads are ridiculous. But if they keep retail prices down, I supposed it's a sacrifice/trade-off. EA on the other hand, is whoring itself out. The ads DO hurt the gameplay. BWA HAHAHAHA! You think that they are going to lower game prices? Try more profit. Maybe they will lower game prices at first to get everyone to accept the ads, then they will raise the prices back up and you will be double screwed!

Solid_Cobra
Solid_Cobra

Okay, let me get this straight. so in addition to paying more for games next gen, we will also be forced to suffer more advertisments in our games... **takes up reading**

Baowoulf
Baowoulf

"bklapmeyer I have no problem with ads. People pay $60, $80, $100 every month for cable television and they still only get about 10 minutes of non commercial programming every thirty minutes." bklapmeyer I have no idea who your cable providiers were for those amounts but that's a lot compared to mine. For around 80bucks or so I get both cable and High Speed Cable Internet. Heck the first tier of digital cable would only be a bit over 10bucks if they also have like a 5-10 buck fee for the set top box. So that's still around 55 bucks a good 5 bucks less then the lowest amount you gave. Cox Cable bundled services rocks. I've never had an issue with them being too slow either. Also we get more like 15-20 mins of show every 30mins depending on how it's done I think. Probably closer to 15 then 20 most of the time thou. For some reason this thing isn't posting my posts. If it doesn't work this time I'll have to contact help I guess.

Baowoulf
Baowoulf

"bklapmeyer I have no problem with ads. People pay $60, $80, $100 every month for cable television and they still only get about 10 minutes of non commercial programming every thirty minutes." bklapmeyer I have no idea who your cable providiers were for those amounts but that's a lot compared to mine. For around 80bucks or so I get both cable and High Speed Cable Internet. Heck the first tier of digital cable would only be a bit over 10bucks if they also have like a 5-10 buck fee for the set top box. So that's still around 55 bucks a good 5 bucks less then the lowest amount you gave. Cox Cable bundled services rocks. I've never had an issue with them being too slow either. Also we get more like 15-20 mins of show every 30mins depending on how it's done I think. Probably closer to 15 then 20 most of the time thou.

Baowoulf
Baowoulf

"bklapmeyer I have no problem with ads. People pay $60, $80, $100 every month for cable television and they still only get about 10 minutes of non commercial programming every thirty minutes." bklapmeyer I have no idea who your cable providiers were for those amounts but that's a lot compared to mine. For around 80bucks or so I get both cable and High Speed Cable Internet. Heck the first tier of digital cable would only be a bit over 10bucks if they also have like a 5-10 buck fee for the set top box. So that's still around 55 bucks a good 5 bucks less then the lowest amount you gave. Cox Cable bundled services rocks. I've never had an issue with them being too slow either. Also we get more like 15-20 mins of show every 30mins depending on how it's done I think. Probably closer to 15 then 20 most of the time thou.

AcidJiles
AcidJiles

i would pay not to have ads :) unless its relevant say coke machine etc

FourSwordsx4
FourSwordsx4

Ads suck. I dont want to be playing Halo 3 one day, and whenever I turn a corner there's a Pepsi ad, ect.

tremo01
tremo01

Aw crap... now they think I want ads in my games when I most definitly don't...

iscariot83
iscariot83

Yeah...if they're tastefully done and add to immersion, and keep costs down, then fine, go for it. If it's 2 companies have their adds slathered over a game, then i won't buy the game. For that matter, i don't spend money on companies who's advertisements irritate me. And streaming content to ingame ads? No way, that's sucking up system resources that should be going to the game itself. Also...if you're in a destructable environment, they'd better make sure to keep ads destructable. I hope developers keep that much control, where they can determine exactly the context that the ads appear in.

qiwihead
qiwihead

I'm with DragonLord on this one. I played Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory and was very annoyed that every single friggin computer in the game had a "The Longest Yard" screensaver. Yeah, that's realistic! And even if it had only been on a couple of computers, or on a poster on the wall, it still takes away from the immersion because the game takes place in a different time period than when the movie came out. You know while you're playing it that the only reason it's in there is because that movie came out around the same time as the game. It has nothing to do with immersion. And stop making the argument that we deal with it on TV. First of all, I don't, I record most of what I watch so I can skip the commercials. There's no way to skip in-game ads. Second of all, up until the fairly recent onslaught of product placement in TV shows (which, ironically, is partly the fault of gaming's popularity taking viewers--and thus advertisers--away from TV), commercials are separate from the shows. In-game ads are right there in your face, you can't avoid them, and in the vast majority of cases they absolutely do detract from the realism of the game. Do you only see Pepsi cans on your office's cafeteria tables? No, because not everyone drinks Pepsi, so you'll see a Pepsi can, a Snapple bottle, a milk carton. But you'll never see that level of realism in a game because only one drink company is going to sponsor any given game. This is NOT reality, and anything that's not real detracts from immersion. On the other hand, putting ads in sports stadiums for sports games makes sense, because everyone knows that stadiums have ads everywhere. But sports games are about the only ones I can think of where they would be appropriate and not diminish the immersion. Maybe a Pepsi soda machine in an contemporary office, but not in a sci-fi or fantasy game--is Pepsi really still going to be around in 2325? For that matter, will soda machines still be around? And this is just the beginning. Like all businesses, game companies just want to make money. They are NOT going to drop the prices because of advertising. The game publishers see ads as a way to supplement their income, not as a way to pass on savings to the consumer. Think about it, have game prices ever gone down? No, they've always gone up, and ads aren't going to change that. Think of it this way: For years now we've been hearing about great advances in middleware and SDKs, how they are streamlining the production process and bringing costs and development time down. As I said, they've been saying this for a few years now; but assuming it's true and development costs have been reduced because of this technology, why haven't those savings been passed on to us? The answer is pretty obvious--as long as we're willing to pay $50-60 for a game, why would they charge us less? It's the most basic law of economics. So don't be naive and think this will lower prices, it's just going get the CEOs of EA and Ubisoft new corporate jets stocked with champagne, caviar, and booth babes. Finally, I just want to ask GameSpot to stop reporting every time that lying whore Mitch Davis gives a speech or makes a prediction about how much money he's going to make off of us. Who's side are you on, anyway? You should be on the side of gamers, not corporate vultures like Davis who just want to make money by ruining our games.

tenken1983
tenken1983

I like variety in ads in certain games, which you cant see really. In NFSU2 you see Best Buy and Burger King, but what about the competitors Circuit City and McDonalds, I mean its a huge city and there only one fast food place in the entire city. Its just illogical. IMO anyway.

COG_DragonLord
COG_DragonLord

I would just like to say something to all those fools who think that people need to stop complaining about ads. People who watch ads on tv do so because they can't do anything about that, they already lost that fight a long time ago. The thing about this fight there though is that we can still win, they haven't put ads into every inch of a video game and they aren't in most video games as well. So don't say close your eyes while watching the tv or while driving on a highway because any reasonable man knows that those battles were already lost. What we have in front of us is a war, do you really want to see ads in every square inch of a game? Now for those people who are for it because they think it will bring down prices, well it won't. EA provides proof to that statement, they put adds in almost all of their games and their prices haven't dropped at all. There really isn't a reason to support ingame advertising, they aren't going to implement it right, they aren't going to lower prices, but there is something that we can do and that is to stop it before it can spread.

Thanos_of_MW
Thanos_of_MW

Ads don't belong in games, they break the immersion. Thank God for review sites like Gamespot. I won't be pre-ordering games anymore if this is going to be the norm. 2KSports and THQ. 2 companies in my "avoid" list now. I go out of my way to NOT see any ads anywhere (DVR for TV, ad-blocking software for internet) so until someone comes out with an "ad-strip" accessory I'll be avoiding games with ads (PCs have mods, fortunately)

sgt_tickles
sgt_tickles

I think having ads can actually increase the immersion in gameplay or at least add to the realism. As long as they are used minimally and not a load screen full of "buy me now!" crap. Like using Nike equipment in sports games or driving real cars in gta or walking down the street in oblivion and seeing an archaic mcdonalds.... ok maybe not that, but you get me.

the_junk
the_junk

I hate it when people cry and complain about in-game ads. they're not MAKING you buy their product, it's just an ad. what do you do when you freaking watch tv? shut the tube off when commercials come on? what do you do while driving down the highway, close your eyes so you dont have to see the billboards? why dont you try that, run off the road, put yourself into a coma and do us all a favor cuz ya wont be able to complain anymore.

soul_motor
soul_motor

If they are hidden, they're OK. On the field in a sports stadium is a natural spot for them, or on the vending machine in an office (like you would see in Splinter Cell).

dcl1993
dcl1993

Wow that's actually quite smart... Waste of money but smart. I don't think that THQ or 2K need help with ads, THEY USE THEIR GAMES to advertise.( quality of the game )

Maquis_UK
Maquis_UK

It DOESN'T make the games cheaper for the end-user (ie the gamer) THAT IS A LIE. it just makes things more lucrative for EA and all the other software houses that make average games. last time I saw an ad in a Nintendo game was in 2001, so it's not an issue that affects me a lot any more. but would you accept product placement on a cd or live music dvd? would it be ok if the backing singers whooped ''pepsi pepsi'' to the latest Madonna tune? adverts spoil the mood, it's so obviously WRONG.

Gaara79
Gaara79

If that guy could tell me what burger king has to do with boxing that would be great.. Also iall that add space doesnt seem to make games any cheaper either..

Fallout_red
Fallout_red

They kan be good to make a game like GTA more realistic but in a RPG lif Oblivion or WoW???

GaussGoat
GaussGoat

To play Devil's advocate, I have seen something really funny from in game ads pop up. In Fight Night Round 3, the devs actually put the Burger King King (the creepy looking guy in the mask) in there as an unlockable trainer. He walks your character into the fight if you use him... it's pretty damn funny.

chrisdojo
chrisdojo

wow....that's a lot of $$$. the ads BETTER bring the prices of next gen games down to $40 with all those stupid ads going in games.

Jedi_Osborn
Jedi_Osborn

subtle is alright, blarring ads suck.

Jd1680a
Jd1680a

i dont mind ads if they are set in a natural way. maybe in a town or something that the player is in and see a billboard with x product or x company. i dont want it so they will start competely saturating the game with ads everywhere you look. also i dont really want to see a diet coke ad in a fantasy game with dragons and such.

Cheesethrower
Cheesethrower

Honestly, ads in games are fine. As long as the ad doesn't take away from the immersion of the game, they should be legal. Like, don't shove ads in the middle of a mine shaft in say, a fps. A few ads in racing games would be fine, on the other hand.

trick_man01
trick_man01

In things such as sports games or racing game, I don't have any problems with ads on the walls or in occasionaly before/after a replay. But they have no business outside that realm.

microwaveman
microwaveman

if this is going to bring in over a billion dollars, they had better relay some of the prices to us. i go to school most of the day, so i have a weak paycheck unless it is summer time. the 60 dollar next gen price is a pain.

Angel_Belial
Angel_Belial

This idea of ads in games is going to end badly, I'm sure. Once gamers realise the ads are annoying, and seeing them in games actually detracts from the experience, not to mention the fact that consumers won't be the ones to get monetary benefit from this action...well, it's going to end badly. Stop thinking you're going to save a few bob on games if they put ads in here and there...it's not going to happen; it will be the developers and the ad companies saving and making the money. You're still going to have to pay as much as you're already paying. Also, I've noticed people saying they'll be happy so long as there aren't any billboard ads in the game, or as long as they don't have ads on the loading screens. Well, where are they going to put the ads, then? You'll be seeing all those things and more.

maximo1
maximo1

I just don't want to be busting caps into people's domes and all of a sudden have an ad pop up around a corner. There are no burger kings in war; only blood and guts. lol

NightRain
NightRain

As long as I don't get stopped with some loading screen with an ad or anything stopping me as I play... it's fine.

grobe
grobe

I hate ads. The stupid subway banners in CSS on alot of servers were a huge distraction and extremly irritating after awhile.

bklapmeyer
bklapmeyer

I have no problem with ads. People pay $60, $80, $100 every month for cable television and they still only get about 10 minutes of non commercial programming every thirty minutes. So what if EA wants to make a few extra bucks by placing some Cheez-it ads in game. Hey - if you want games to become more realistic than I guess you have to be behind in game ads and product placement.

sudoh_kyoichi
sudoh_kyoichi

We are now paying $60 a game. I don't want ads.