RSS feed Get our RSS feed

News by Topic

BizReport : Trends & Ideas archives : January 23, 2008

Major game title ad-supported, free-to-play

In-game advertising gained momentum in 2007, and Electronic Arts have jumped on the bandwagon with the announcement of a major game title to be distributed as a free-to-play, ad-supported online game later this year.

by Helen Leggatt

electronic%20arts%20logo.jpgThe increasing acceptance of the in-game channel, especially from those advertisers seeking a young, male audience, is providing the revenue to give major titles, such as Electronic Arts' “Battlefields”, the confidence to distribute the game for free.

Instead of paying approximately $20 for a new, boxed copy of a video game, gamers will be able to download games free via the Internet. All that is asked in return is that gamers tolerate in-game advertising, and perhaps go on regular in-game spending sprees for elements designed to improve their gaming experience.

Battlefield Heroes”, a specially produced version of an existing popular game series, will be offered free online, but will employ two means of revenue generation for EA – selling advertising and micro-transactions. In-game micro-transactions occur when gamers are offered a selection of items that they can purchase for small amounts, but that will improve their game – either visually or by increasing the players performance, such as speed and agility.

"It is like giving every little girl a Barbie doll that is naked and hoping she will accessorize," said Michael Pachter, a gaming industry research analyst at Wedbush Morgan Securities, in a BusinesWeek article. "While you can still play with a naked Barbie, it is not as much fun as dressing her up."

EA first experimented with micro-transactions with the launch of a free-to-play, online version of soccer game “FIFA” in the game-obsessed country of South Korea. Those particular micro-transactions, which not only could improve user experience but also increase agility, speed and performance, generated over $24 million in the two years since its launch.

eMarketer predicts that in-game advertising revenue will grow 23 percent annually over the next four years, and research firm Yankee Group forecasts the market will grow to $732 million in the same period.

Tags: gamers, in-game advertising, micro-transaction, online advertising, video games

Subscribe to BizReport



Copyright © 1999- BizReport. All rights reserved.
Republication or redistribution of BizReport content is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent.
BizReport shall not be liable for any errors in the content, or for any actions taken in reliance thereon.