Cranial Inversion

A blog about personal views on Internet Search, SEO, Gaming and the Gaming Industry

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Advertising in MMOs

This is a hot issue for me. On one hand, I am a professional online marketer. On the other, I am a serious gamer. So you can see my problem. I have had several discussions with friends that are in a similar situation about this topic and they agree with me when I say the marketers have a very difficult road ahead of them.

Let me first address the gamer in me. I see advertisements in MMO (or any other game) as heresy. In my opinon, the vast majority of gamers dive into their virtual worlds to escape the harsh reality of life and all of it's problems associated with it. In their games they can be who they want to be, do what they want to do and act how they want to act; all without having to worry about how they will be judged by those in the "real" world. It's almost like therapy for them.

So when they are trudging along in some god-forsaken dungeon, fighting hordes of the undead and dodging traps to acheive their goal; they don't want to be reminded that they can get smoother skin by using some moisterizing cream. This will remind them of the world they are trying to escape and it will ruin their game play. Now, this example is a little extreme, granted, but it could very well be the "reality" if marketers are careless about how they market products inside a game. There will no doubt be a backlash of anger towards the marketers for ruining their game time, but also at the game developers for allowing this heresy to happen in the first place. This could cause problems for both the developers and the marketers, both financially and their reputation. Gamers are a unique sub-culture that communicates very freely with their brethern (and sisters :) ).

Now on the marketing side of my persona. I can understand why the industry is aching to have a strong marketing campaign in MMOs. It is a great avenue to a dynamic demographic that may be susceptible to a plethera (hefe?) of products. The only problem, which my good friend JP wrote about here, is how they are going to market said products. Subtlety is the best approach here. They have to figure out how they are going to get the advertisment to the gamer without ruining the gameplay. There are many ideas out there, but we all know that good ideas don't neccessary mean good execution. This is probably that largest hurdle the marketers are going to have. Not only do they have to worry about how well their buisness will do, but also how it will affect the company that owns the game. The game companies also have to be very picky about who and what they allow into their games. If done well, it could be the best thing since Star Wars (well....maybe not that good).

I'm going to keep on top of this subject and post any other news, grips, or ideas I stumble upon.

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