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Advertising in Video Games Keeps Growing

Boot Camp feature for Tuesday, May 9, 2006

Advertising in video games. Bloomberg Boot Camp, a report on today's technology. The concept of using advertising in video games continues to grow….as game makers try to offset the higher costs of development….or to make games available to consumers for free. At Wild Tangent….which publishes 250 online games….chief executive Alex St. John, who headed Microsoft's gaming strategy back in the mid-nineties…says the key is making ads a natural part of the content…

"Today we take the top content from not only our own studios but many others and wrap it with advertising technology so that consumers who go to our Web site to play these games see advertising in the free demo play of the games, both in the outside when the game launches and in our games…inside the game played… live Web advertising served on billboards and walls and so forth. If you play a game on WildGames.com like Final Drive Nitro, you'll a Honda Civic car served into the game. You'll see live Web advertising from major advertisers served into the billboards in the city as you play it. So anybody can see that in content available today from our studios."

How big will games get as an advertising medium?

"That's a good question. I think a Yankee study came out recently saying it would be 768 million was the estimate by 2008, for in game ad serving."

Microsoft and Viacom recently announced acquisitions of companies in that business….and St. John says more purchases are likely. Bloomberg Boot Camp, I'm Fred Fishkin.