Advertising in video games is no longer a novelty. The emerging category reached a new benchmark last month when Sony Computer Entertainment America launched a new in-game ad unit led by Darlene Kindler.
Kindler was most recently vice president of publishing for in-game ad company Adscape Media and formerly worked at Nintendo of America. Despite the high-profile hiring, in-game advertising is still a tiny fraction of overall ad spending. But recent projections by Yankee Group and JupiterResearch estimate the market will more than double to between $733 million and $1 billion by 2010.
One of the obstacles to expansion of in-game advertising is the lack of third-party measurement. To that end, Sony Computer last July announced a partnership with Nielsen Media Research to develop measurement standards for game network advertising.
As director of network advertising, Kindler will oversee Sony Computer's in-game ad strategy across all PlayStation platforms. The move pits Sony squarely against other in-game ad networks including Microsoft-owned Massive. The Yankee Group predicts major game companies such as Microsoft, Sony and Electronic Arts will dominate the market by taking over in-game ad serving from independent networks.