Friday, July 11, 2008

Father of Video Games Predicts They Will Drive Much Advertising

We can target consumers so well through casual games. We have all the power of the internet, all the production value of the 30-second spot, which companies spend millions of dollars on to get just right, and then you have the click-through -- it's the perfect storm of advertising.

-Nolan Bushnell, chairman of the board for NeoEdge

In John Godiosi, "Atari Creator Says Games Fertile Ground for Marketers," Advertising Age, July 9, 2008

Bushnell, who many consider the father of video games because he founded Atari, now is chairman of a company that runs an advertising network focusing on putting ads around and in video games. NeoEdge is certainly not the only company doing that. Microsoft, for example, owns Massive, which is also working to push ads in video games. But Bushnell has taken to hype the activity of his firm quite loudly. Working with in-game advertising firm Double Fusion, NeoEdge has made a deal with Yahoo Games to place videos into Yahoo's casual-games. Stressing that the casual game user is typically a woman 25-54, Bushnell opined that advertisers should be rushing to take advantage of what his outfit can offer:

"We know no one is TiVoing through our ads, and we know they're not taking bathroom breaks because there's not enough time. . . . Estimates are that 80 million consumers play casual games on a regular basis. We think this means 20 to 30 billion hours a year," Mr. Bushnell said. "We look at this as a staggering multibillion-dollar opportunity. I think there are still a lot of advertising budgets that are driven by legacy thinkers and they're going to get it one day, and then all of a sudden it'll be like a dike breaking."

Some marketers agree. According to Advertising Age, "EMarketer reports that web-based game ad spending will jump 133% between 2007 and 2012."

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