Report: Gamers don't mind advertising

GameSpot UK survey finds that most gamers are happy to see adverts in-game, provided that they are "contextual and realistic."

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A survey conducted by GameSpot UK in conjunction with the Internet Advertising Bureau has found that, surprisingly, 73 percent of respondents did not have a negative opinion of in-game advertising. The survey, which was advertised on the site between June 20 and July 11, was completed by 3,575 UK-based gamers. Half of these respondents had seen in-game advertising in the past 12 months.

Forty percent said they thought in-game advertising added realism, and around a third admitted that they didn't notice it. However, 14 percent thought that in-game ads spoil the gaming experience.

As far as brands go, 28 percent said that advertising affected their perception of the brand, and 64 percent of those said it was a positive perception change, compared to 28 percent who experienced a negative perception change--assumed to be because the advertising in question had not been realistic, context-sensitive, or in some other way detracted from the game or gaming experience.

However, there was some confusion over what gamers thought constituted realism. When asked if a character interacting with a brand in-game (for example, drinking a can of Red Bull to replenish energy) was advertising, 63.7 percent said yes. When asked if brand names being shown in games constituted advertising, 77.3 percent also said yes.

One third of respondents said that they would be very or quite likely to buy a product that they had seen advertised in game, whereas the remaining two thirds were not very likely or not at all likely to buy.

More and more companies these days are signing up for in-game advertising, including recently Eidos and Codemasters. Enemy Territories: Quake Wars codevelopers Splash Damage recently announced plans to use in-game advertising to offset the costs of maintaining the online title.

Some 86 percent of survey respondents said that they might welcome an increase in advertising if it meant cheaper games, whereas a third said that they might welcome it if it remained contextual and realistic.

The vast majority of gamers surveyed were male (98 percent), with 76 percent aged between 13 and 24. Most owned multiple gaming platforms, and spent 10 or more hours gaming each week. The survey also found that 58 percent play more games now than they did 12 months ago, and that watching TV was the activity most likely to be displaced to make way for more gaming time.

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