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Game - IGN
Entertainment, a unit of Fox Interactive Media,
Inc., is a leading Internet media and services
provider focused on the videogame and entertainment
enthusiast markets. IGN's properties collectively
attract more than 31 million unique monthly users
worldwide. Our network of videogame-related properties
(IGN.com, GameSpy, FilePlanet, TeamXbox, 3D Gamers,
Direct2Drive and others) is the web's number one
videogame information destination and attracts
one of the largest concentrated audiences of young
males on the Internet. We also own and operate
the popular movie-related website, Rotten Tomatoes,
and one of the leading male lifestyle websites,
AskMen.com. In addition, we provide technology
for online game play in videogames. (Credit:
creepers, it's game on in the battle for ads, by Simon
Canning - 3rd August 2006
When News Corporation announced it was plunging more
than $850 million in to online gaming operator IGN
Entertainment last year, media observers across the
globe were stunned.
But the move signalled the shift of old media operators,
used to broadcasting, print and even telephony, into
the booming online gaming world where users are forming
global communities, often at the expense of the time
they spend with old media. For News, IGN represented
not just the web destination where gamers got their
news but more than 70 community and gaming sites used
to chat, download games and compete in live online
has also begun investing heavily in online games through
its website, while Telstra's BigPond has a dedicated
gaming area called The Arena that its subscribers
can use to play live online.
game manufacturers and advertisers are bracing themselves
for an explosion in online gaming as the medium emerges
from the darkened bedrooms of teenage computer geeks
to take pride of place in the lounge room.
launch, in November, of Sony's next generation PlayStation
3 is expected to be the catalyst for online gaming
to begin serious inroads as a channel in its own right,
coming in the wake of Microsoft's Xbox 360 earlier
this year and after years of entrenched online gaming
through computers. Both Sony and Microsoft have offered
primitive online gaming with the original Xbox and
PS2. But gamers are now being greeted with dedicated
broadband connections, exclusive games, movie trailers
and, of course, advertising with the new generation
spokesman Mark Lenyszyn says since the launch of the
360 in the US last year, more than 50 per cent of
all owners have signed their consoles up to Xbox Live
within days of purchase. Locally, Xbox Live is believed
to have about 50,000 subscribers -- the majority of
them considered hard-core gamers.
weeks ago Xbox Live launched what it has dubbed as
"Arcade Wednesdays" when gamers can download
classic arcade games such as Frogger, Galaga and Pac
Man. Globally, Xbox 360 owners have downloaded more
than five million games, suggesting live online play
and downloading is quickly gaining traction.
May Microsoft spent $500million to buy in-game advertising
pioneer Massive and this week in the US, Massive announced
its first interactive deal that will see ads for the
2007 Toyota Yaris appear in the online game Anarchy
it is the launch of the PS3 that, along with the 360,
is expected to lead to an explosion of console owners
connecting their televisions to Sony and Microsoft's
live sites in Australia. Michael Ephraim, head of
Sony Computer Entertainment in Australia, believes
the online component will be pivotal to the success
of the PS3.
the take-up of the ability to play against other competitors
on the PS2 online has been limited, Ephraim says nearly
40,000 PS2 owners have bought the network adapter
that allows them to go online.
is off a base of about 1.8million PlayStations,"
he says. Xbox's numbers come off a base of about 800,000
first-generation consoles in the market.
online offering for both of us was pretty limited.
It was just online gaming and there was very little
community aspect. PlayStation 2 online was, if anything,
a dress rehearsal."
is coy about many of the offerings for the PS3, but
admits the broadband capabilities of the new unit
will be an important part of the decision by consumers
to buy. "Definitely the vision is to create an
online community for online gaming and I'm very excited
about the potential for what we can do with it."
interest in the online component of gaming for both
Microsoft and Sony seems a given, what remains to
be seen is the impact advertising might have in the
admits that Microsoft's PC background gives the company
a sense of what may be possible through the 360, but
he expects third parties such as game developers to
be the first to try turning online gaming into a marketing
think compared to, say, the music or movie industry,
there has been a finite revenue stream that could
be gained from a game release. Taking it online could
many developers have struck deals with advertisers
to insert ads in game environments. Racing games such
as Sony's Gran Tourismo series and Microsoft's Forza
Motorsport are examples where real world advertisers
have made the transition to the cyber world.
shift to real-time online gaming through consoles
plugged into TVs heralds the first opportunity for
advertisers to gain television-style impact with gaming
December, software developer, Activision, teamed with
research company, Nielsen, to gauge how acceptable
online gamers would find in-game advertising. The
results suggested rather than being angered by such
marketing, ads that were deemed relevant and appropriate
would be welcomed by gamers.
have finally found a pipeline into the 18-34 male
sweet spot," says Nielsen Entertainment chief
executive and president Andy Wing.
to the findings of the study, advertisers could take
hints about real-world choices from in-game decisions.
"The colour of a Jeep a gamer chooses says a
lot about how they might act in the real world,"
Nielsen's Michael Dowling says. "This is invaluable
information to advertisers."
Walsh, of online specialist agency NetX says the Massive
deal may prove an important moment in the history
of online game advertising, with the global market
already valued by some at more than $1 billion.
have to remember that the generation under 25 is spending
as much time playing games online as they are using
the internet," Walsh says.
Ephraim says the online experience is the most important
element for the next generation PlayStation in the
short term, although he could not rule out software
developers writing games that would be open to real-time
advertising when players went online. But he described
the potential of advertising as "the icing, not
need to make the cake first, then build the eyeballs
and then start looking at the advertising revenue."
Chang, head of News Corp's IGN, says gamers are cashed
up and willing to spend. He says working with hardware
companies such as Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo, as
well as software developers such as Electronic Arts,
Activision and THQ is paramount in future development.
says the allure of IGN for a company such as News
Corp was the ability to tap into consumers who were
spending their free time playing games online rather
than with old media. "Across our readership globally
the average household income is $US67,000," Chang
noted that vehicle manufacturers such as Honda, Volkswagen
and General Motors were extending their online presence
with games websites, and this could easily shift into
says the serious potential of online gaming advertising
may not be reached until the PS3 had five to 10 million
users and that getting people used to the new environment
is the key.
the commercial side of the digital download we see
this more of an evolution than a revolution. We see
packaged goods and digital downloads complimenting
to any early success will be making sure the early
adopters embrace the system, as Microsoft found with
will be communicating with our core group of consumers
(some 40,000 owners of PS2 and PlayStation Portable)
who will probably be the pioneers of PS3 online,"
of their competition, both Ephraim and Lenyszyn agree
that with the launch of the PS3, the console battleground
will move from the living room to cyberspace, with
companies such as News Corp, PBL, and Telstra following