Seeing an ad in a videogame could become a fate worse than death for some video-gamer players, but not at Artix Entertainment. The company has built a free multiplayer gaming community of nearly 33,000 members who potentially get served ads each time their character dies during game play.
Adam Bohn, CEO and founder, has been known to joke around about the timing of the ads, but the videogame advertising trend toward the fantastic seems to fit nicely into online gaming. With game developers beginning to push the envelope on advertising throughout entertainment platforms, players could begin to see more ads in and around games. But that won't stop consumers from spending. Analyst firm Gartner expects consumer spending on hardware, software and videogame play to rise 10.4% this year, reaching $74.4 billion.
Online gaming will rise from $11.9 billion in 2011 to $28.3 billion in 2015. Spurred by mobile devices, revenue from pc and mobile game software will reach $56 billion in 2015.
At Tap.Me, developers designed software code game developers can inject in games to create sponsored content. Game developers can set specific goals that brands sponsor, such as playing for an hour to get rewards redeemable in either the physical or the virtual world, explains Christopher Carlson, Tap.Me Co-founder and chief revenue officer.
"The sponsorship can change six weeks later and have contextual relationship with the context in the games," said Joshua Hernandez, CEO of Tap.Me. "The brand can send messages to the players that gets them to participate in out of game stuff like checking in or tweeting."
Coupons for 50% off Nike shoes might become the real-world reward; in the virtual, that reward might become downloading a secret level of the videogame. Advertisers can send messages and notifications throughout game play. For example, one notification could encouragement the game player to tweet a message on Twitter, and everyone who retweets that tweet will win the same prize.
Game developers can create sponsored content on the fly from a database Tap.Me produced for "just about every game action and object across all videogames." The platform takes the principals of search engine marketing, keyword driven events and metadata, making them as "turnkey as possible." It monitors each jump and action in the game to match them to brand attributes in the real world, similar to Google AdWords.
These might include jumping higher, virtual currency or translating actions or goods with anything in which the game developer wants to link. A small snippet of code gets wrapped around the action to track and sponsor the event.
Tap.Me also set up an advisory board, a team of heavyweights in the agency and gaming industries. Board members include Brandon Berger, chief digital officer at Worldwide at Ogilvy & Mather; Tim Harris, co-founder of Denuo, and founder of Seven Lights; Dave Knox, chief marketing officer at Rockfish Interactive; Saneel Radia, who heads North American operations at BBH Labs; and Tom Weigman, partner at The NextGen Marketing Group.
The board will solve experiential issues for the company, as well as address how media is bought and campaigns get measured, Hernandez said.