Contrary to popular belief, in-game advertising (IGA) is very much alive and kicking. Many companies place their ads in video games and this method successfully boosts their sales not to mention their visibility as well. Despite some protests from gamers, ad placement in games when done well can leave an impression, thus becoming viral. Static Advertising Most of the advertisements are static, consisting of billboards that present the products to the gamers. The programmers have placed those ads directly into the game so they cannot be altered. This later became a trend starting from the 80s and in the 90s, other methods have been employed such as the use of commercial products as obstacles.
The billboard method is still used though. Remember in the controversial Need for Speed: Carbon game where President Obama was injected into the game? That is just one of the 18 games where he could be seen. In 2012, he was visible again in mobile games and online game sites. Dynamic Advertising Technology has advanced greatly that there are now ads that can be modified by advertising agencies remotely. This allows more flexibility especially if there are location or time sensitive campaigns. Dynamic ads, unlike static ads, are not hardcoded into the game so that advertisers can insert their messages or campaigns anytime they wish.
The Future According to Forbes, in-game advertising will double in the next three years because they see that this ad medium is drastically growing. Not all players are happy with IGA as they could become distracting and remove game immersion. Bobby Kotick of Activision Blizzard and one of the highest paid CEOs in the world, has his eye on gaming quality so players and developers both benefit not just the advertising companies. Modern advertising has adapted to other methods of delivery besides the traditional TV commercials and magazine ads. With many companies now trending towards other virtual methods to deliver advertisements, it seems that advertising in video games will not go away anytime soon. Virtual billboards cannot be avoided, making them a powerful form of marketing. When you play Grand Theft Auto V, look how many billboards can clearly be seen.