Take-Two exec talks ads, 360, PS3

EVP Cindi Buckwalter predicts product placement via minigames, says the 360 shortage is limiting game sales and the PS3 will also face shortages.

Today, Take-Two Interactive Executive Vice President Cindi Buckwalter presented her company's strategy to the analysts assembled at Citigroup's 16th Annual Entertainment, Media, and Telecommunications Conference. Coming less than a week after the company released a lower-than-expected fiscal-year 2005 earnings outlook, Buckwalter's speech provided little new information. However, she did address some noteworthy points.

First was the use of minigames as a vehicle for in-game advertising. Though Take-Two is responsible for the most infamous minigame of all time, Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas' "Hot Coffee" sex simulation, Buckwalter today said minigames will provide a novel way for brands to surface within gameplay.

She said the in-game ad model is in its infancy, but is one with potential to drive increased revenue for a publisher. Buckwalter reiterated deals Take-Two has already signed with Nike, Pontiac, and Toyota for ads that will appear in the publisher's sports titles. She said advertisers are now expressing interest in putting ads in non-sports titles as well.

"[Games are] attractive to advertisers given the volume of time that people are now spending playing games as opposed to looking at other forms of traditional media. While it's a smaller area for us now, we are looking for [in-game ads] to be an increasing contributor [of revenue] going forward,' Buckwalter told analysts.

Given that her company published three of the 17 Xbox 360 launch titles (NBA 2K6, NHL 2K6, Amped 3) Buckwalter was almost obligated to mention the shortage of the next-generation console. Though she conceded that sales of Take-Two's 360 titles were being limited by "the smaller quantity of hardware," she viewed the 360 as a "big growth area" for the company, and she was "pleased with the reaction to games Take-Two released."

When the subject turned to the PlayStation 3, Buckwalter was circumspect but clear. She said she expects to see "challenges" with the launch of the console "in terms of hardware availability," adding, "There will be hurdles [Sony] will need to overcome."

As a result of those expected shortages, Buckwalter said Take-Two was looking closely at its PS3 launch plans, indicating the publisher would tweak its marketing expenditures to conform to available supply of the console, due later this year. "If the hardware isn't there, do you have to spend so aggressively to promote?" she asked rhetorically. According to Buckwalter, Take-Two would "cut back" where it could, so that ad dollars could be more freely spent when supply wasn't limited.

Written By

Want the latest news about Amped 3?

Amped 3

Amped 3

Follow

Discussion

38 comments
KoyHalloren
KoyHalloren

"Ads in games! whats next GTA: Mcdonalds. The game where you go through clown school to one day become ronald mcdonald. Or Nike the RPG? " We already have games from McDonalds, 7-Up and Skittles out there to name three, this isn't anything new. A few months ago I said the same thing a lot of you are saying, I would be fine with ads in games IF it was subject appropriate (EA Sports being the obvious example), wasn't overly agressive and decreased prices. After spending some time with Fight Night Round 3, you people can take your advertising and cram it up your cornhole. The advertising in the game is as subtle as a screwdriver to the eye, and about as painful. They couldn't get the commentary to correctly depict the current action or events of the fight a third of the time, , guess they were too busy rendering the friggen burger king into the game. Forget it, take my extra $10. Keep your advertising and give me next-gen quality product to enjoy instead of a handfull of greatness and a ton of mediocrity wrapped in a Sunday paper coupon section.

swanlord
swanlord

We wont See the PS3 in america untill late 2007 ...all these publisher dont know when it is commin out ....because the Cell= vaporware!!! .......lol I love my x360!!!

flareside4x2
flareside4x2

caesarbites "Having no ads in games is about as likely as having no oxygen in the atmosphere. They'll be there for good, and they're only going to get worse. I wouldn't be surprised if a few years from now, your game gets interrupted by 30- second commercials. " yeah...and also when that happens, norton will start selling a pop-up blocker securities bundle for game systems. lol.

veeru300
veeru300

If this ingame ad stuff brings the cost of the games down...i am all for it.

HeeroYuy0905
HeeroYuy0905

As long as these ads don't interfere with gameplay, I won't have a problem with them. Especially if it lowers the cost.

tawagivercetti
tawagivercetti

Ads in games! whats next GTA: Mcdonalds. The game where you go through clown school to one day become ronald mcdonald. Or Nike the RPG?

Viquist
Viquist

Ads on tv... good tension breaker Ads on games... good game and console breaker (sees a vision of "we interupt this game to bring you..." and breaks PS and GC)

Khimarhi
Khimarhi

i am fine with subtle ads but no in your face ads.. like a mountain dew sign during a racing game or something like that

terrabreak13
terrabreak13

Ads are not so bad for sports and racing games. As long as they are in the background and don't interrupt actual gameplay. There was a game (I think Headhunter) on Dreamcast that advertised a fake drink it was actually funny. It could ruin the game experience though. They could be discrete and do something like make characters in Final Fantasy drink Pepsi. Or put a concept car in a non-racing game like Audi did in the iRobot movie.

SavoyPrime
SavoyPrime

As long as the ads don't get excessively out of control, I don't mind. Especially if it can get game prices back to $49.99.

Thanos_of_MW
Thanos_of_MW

Just to echo the same everyone else is saying. If any publisher is reading this: You put ads in games, then I won't buy the game and I'll make sure I won't buy from the companies that advertise in them (Thank God for reviews). Keep that garbage on TV where it belongs. I can always skip it with my DVR.

Tainowarrior
Tainowarrior

I keep seeing developer talk about the issues with the PS3. As an ATI rep said I believe the PS3 was rushed they realized the cell wasn't capable of running the graphics code on it's own (remember when they said the cell would do it on it's own) and they had to bolt an Nvidia GPU to it. Besides no matter how powerful the Cell is it is being hampered by the overall layout of the PS3. CPU with it own dedicated memory (like a pc) GPU with dedicated memory (like a pc) communicating thru an express lane (like a pc). The 360 is more streamed lined and does not have this bottle necking layout. The PS3 could have been even better if Sony would not have placed all there eggs on the Cell basket!

decebal
decebal

Their revenue might grow... but the prices won't come down. I simply don't buy games with adds in them! There are so many good games to chose from, I can certainly live without Take-Two and EA's games. Games are supposed to entertain, not to simulate real life. SO NO ADDS! I am certain that I will not see any Pepsi add in WOW, nor any Nike in Legend of Zelda, nor Toyota in Final Fantasy. And that's what I'm gonna buy. Take Two can take three and keep their Grand Theft Auto to their beloved XBOX 360 and keep their adds in that "super cool marketplace." I have alternatives. :)

Autolycus
Autolycus

You can thank EA for your ads in games. I go OUT OF MY WAY to NOT purchase things that are advertised in games. You wont see the prices come down because companies don't care what is best for the consumer(just look @ sony) they care about the green stuff the consumer has...THATS IT

ewjim
ewjim

Shortages at PS3 launch?! I don't care about it, BECAUSE when it comes to Europe there's NO any shortages!!! Newer was with previous PS systems and newer will, i'm sure of it!!! ^_^

caesarbites
caesarbites

Having no ads in games is about as likely as having no oxygen in the atmosphere. They'll be there for good, and they're only going to get worse. I wouldn't be surprised if a few years from now, your game gets interrupted by 30- second commercials.

Irvine78
Irvine78

You can show me a few ads in a game (Provided they don't destroy the atmosphere completely), but you better be passing the savings to me. The developers are the ones making the money here.

robinnwa
robinnwa

I am sick of seeing ads in everything I do. If I find out there are ads in a game that I would normally buy, I will not buy it, flat-out. Can you imagine playing Zelda and in one of the mini games, you see some stupid ad? Oh my gosh, a Final Fantasy game! I won

Poedon
Poedon

It depends on the game and how intrusive the ads are to the game's playability. I don't mind the company banners that line the walls in PGR3, but i don't want to see any ads in a fantasy games such as Oblivion.

Phinster-n-Phinster
Phinster-n-Phinster

The gates of Oblivion can be opened only one way. With a Nokia phone and Sobe Energy Drink!

RLJSlick
RLJSlick

I just hope they don't make ads so "important" that it ruin the game play. It's already hard to watch TV with all those important ads no one watches.

forever_blank
forever_blank

Makes sense, about not having the hardware around, so what is the point about buying a game, when you don't have the hardware. Well I have, I am waiting for the Xbox 360 to be released here. Once it is I hopefully will have 3 other games pre-ordered with it.

pcbm
pcbm

Wouldnt be so bad if they droped a few adds durning a loading screen or when you first start up your game or during the credits at the end of a game. This game made possible by... moutain dew, pizza hut, mcdonalds and so on. You know there not going to put mcdonalds in grand theft auto, you think they will realy let us rob mcdonalds lol

aaronMr
aaronMr

rock790 I don't care about adds if it means paying less. Besides, game are supposed to simulate real life, and we are constantly bombarded with marketing everyday. So adds in games make them more realistic!

I usually play games to escape reality, it's the same reason i watch movies, read books, and listen to music...i don't want burger king to ruin that...COME ON! i don't pay 60 bucks to be advertised to...it's like spam in your e-mail...also, if you think the games are going to get cheaper you're fooling yourself...

fatam
fatam

If it brings down the price of games I am all for it. If not they can go to hell.

rusty_ghia
rusty_ghia

rock790 I don't care about adds if it means paying less. Besides, game are supposed to simulate real life, and we are constantly bombarded with marketing everyday. So adds in games make them more realistic! Maybe for you, but certainly not for me. I play games that are very much flights of fancy. Contra, Metroid, Mario, Castlevania, Mario & Luigi, Freespace, Independence War, Vagrant Story... See a pattern? That's right, all are escapes. And that's why I detest adverts in my games.

ghostadv
ghostadv

I didn't have a problem with ads until I saw some footage of the NBA title for the 360. When you go to a "Power Bar" break or replay, that's too much.

NeoJedi
NeoJedi

If adds in video games means I pay less for them, then hell yeah, put them there.

shockwave04
shockwave04

Lets play mario and Zelda games there are no ads in those.

rock790
rock790

I don't care about adds if it means paying less. Besides, game are supposed to simulate real life, and we are constantly bombarded with marketing everyday. So adds in games make them more realistic!

ghsacidman
ghsacidman

Please no more ads!!!! The ads are getting out of control. If they put more ads in video games, we'll stop buying them. They think they have money problems now.... just wait til we all jump ship once the ads are bad enough.

shockwave04
shockwave04

I'll like adds in games when it bring the cost to buy those game down. And that won't happen because thay are all just greedy.

doomed51
doomed51

no, NO ads....i HATE product placement, it sucks plain and simple....

Donkeljohn
Donkeljohn

Can't play a game if you don't have the system. If you don't have the game, you can't see the ads. No wonder media buyers are hesitant about investing in game advertising.

sj41
sj41

If ads in mini games, gets rid of ads in the real part of games, then that's good news.

EqualPlatinum
EqualPlatinum

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]