Double Fusion Eases In-Game Product Integrations

The lead time required for deep integration into video games has been shortened with a new offering from Double Fusion. The in-game ad firm plans today to unleash fusion.runtime, a technology for publishers and developers to implement advertising at any point in a game’s development or retail life.

Product placement and deep integration within video games has always required several months, and sometimes over a year, since coding soda bottles, cars or shaving cream into an environment means working on the game publisher’s development timetable. Marketers have struggled with the early campaign planning requirements. Additionally, the product then remained static in the game for its entire shelf life, a less than ideal arrangement from the point of view of some brand managers..

The introduction of fusion.runtime allows game publishers to integrate products closer to a game’s launch, or even after a title is on retail shelves. It also gives Double Fusion the freedom to create 2D and 3D ad units, either by placing a new object in the game, or providing a skin over an existing object — typically one the player doesn’t interact with.

Double Fusion CEO Jonathan Epstein said fusion.runtime allows ads to be placed in games using an “injection” process. Ads include IAB standard banners, often deployed in game menus, interstitials, wall-mounted and freestanding billboards, and 3D objects. Car models can be added or updated each year, or changed to a different make. Soda flavors or brands can change each time a gamer enters a café. Ad units can even be created out of thin air: An advertiser can create a blimp bearing the brand logo to fly overhead during the fourth of July holiday, or the weekend of a product launch. Double Fusion also added clickable functionality, which takes gamers out of the game environment and to a landing page on the Web.

Additionally, the new platform operates in game categories not previously available to the Double Fusion ad network. The platform is compatible with retail games, massively-multiplayer online titles (MMO), casual games, virtual worlds, and even back catalog titles. Category launch partners include Ubisoft for retail, NCSoft for MMO, and Oberon for casual games.

“It opens a variety of game inventory, and inventory of existing games sold at retail,” said Michael Cai, director at analyst firm Parks Associates. “A lot of gamers are still playing games that were released a year or two ago.”

The fusion.runtime platform doesn’t replace fusion.SDK, the existing platform which requires months, and sometimes over a year, for developers to hard code branded objects into a game. It is meant to fit in where the SDK platform hasn’t worked effectively, said Epstein.

“The significance of a technology like this is definitely [advantageous], now you don’t need to integrate an SDK,” said Cai. “Obviously the renderings have to be similar to the graphics of an SDK. The SDK solution will be still superior if you choose to integrate in the development process.”

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