In-Game Ad Reach Includes Pass-Along Effect

Retail sales are one of several factors determining the video games’ advertising reach. The “GaMeasure” report, released by Interpret, outlines a discrepancy between sales numbers and a game’s actual reach.

“Retail sales capture only a portion of the total audience playing individual game titles, suggesting current in-game advertising deals, which are primarily tied to these sales figures, under-value the medium,” said Michael Dowling, CEO of Interpret.

When the impact of social gameplay, rental, used game sales, and pass-around numbers are considered, the number of impressions is raised. Activision’s “Call of Duty 3” sold 2 million units in the U.S. as of February 3 of this year, according to NPD Group data. Yet the study estimates the game’s reach at nearly 9 million gamers, or 4 percent of the total U.S. population. A game requiring multiple players, such as EA’s “Madden NFL 2007,” sold a reported 6 million units, though interpret data say 14 million have played the game, or 7 percent of the total U.S. population.

The in-game advertising channel is expected to see growth as the installed base grows on the current generation of game consoles: Sony PlayStation 3, Microsoft Xbox 360, and Nintendo Wii. “I think that’s part of the reason why there is opportunity for in-game advertising to take off later this year or next year,” said Dowling, pointing out an opportunity to expand.

The GaMeasure quarterly reporting uses an online panel of 5,425 participants, split evenly between male and female. Data are weighted to U.S. Census data, and extrapolated to the greater U.S. population, which includes non-gamers.

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