Questions for Phil Rosenberg on Sony’s In-Game Ad Plans

SCEA_Phil Rosenberg.JPGEarlier this month, Sony Computer Entertainment America (SCEA), Sony’s gaming unit, revealed plans to allow in-game advertising on the PlayStation 3. The announcement included a non-exclusive partnership with gaming ad network IGA Worldwide.

The move comes months after Sony’s formation of an in-game advertising group, led by senor vice president Phil Rosenberg. In his role, Rosenberg concentrates on developing new opportunities for growth and building strategic partnership initiatives. The in-game advertising group is responsible for SCEA’s in-game advertising strategy across all PlayStation platforms, including the PlayStation Network.

In a recent e-mail interview with ClickZ, Rosenberg discussed SCEA’s approach to ad sales, both in-house and through ad networks. Among the insights: Rosenberg said Sony’s in-house team will sell ads for first-party titles, where Sony’s game developers create the games, and second-party titles, where Sony publishes a game created by another developer.

Q. Can publishers work with the in-house unit directly, or do they have to go through an in-game ad network such as IGA? What will be the balance and how will it work?

A. Publishers can work with both SCEA directly as well as with in-game ad networks like IGA Worldwide. SCEA will sell static and dynamic ad inventory for first-party games and for any third-party publishers that decide to use SCEA’s advertising sales team. For other third-party titles, dynamic ad inventory is sold by the licensed ad distributors, and static ad spaces are sold either by the publisher or their ad distributor, subject to their agreement. [Sony Computer Entertainment Europe] will be using third party ad distributor partners to facilitate ad sales in first party games. SCEA will be able to facilitate ad sales for first-party games [Sony’s own titles] in North America and other licensed third-party publishers in North America.

Q. What has been the process since November, when the business unit was formed?

A. We have been working on the technology and service needs, as well as Software Developer Kit integration into the games with some select participants and our internal studios.

Q. How soon will ads appear on the PS3?

A. “PAIN” will be releasing with ad functionality soon, and there is potential for more later this year. We expect several third-party titles launching this fall will have the capability of displaying dynamic ads.

[ed. note: “PAIN” was originally launched with the capacity for dynamic advertising. It was publicly launched as one of the first games on the PlayStation 3 to support this feature.]

Q. Is this worldwide? U.S.? Or U.S. and Europe?

A. It currently available in North America and Europe.

Q. Will there be opportunities for advertisers and marketers within the PlayStation Home virtual world environment?

A. Yes, for the [North American] region, SCEA will be responsible for ads sold within PS Home. Other regions may vary. For [the European] region, ad sales into PS Home are still to be decided.

Q. Since Sony is willing to work with multiple in-game advertising networks, are you open to working with Massive? What about Google?

A. There is tremendous growth potential in in-game advertising and we are always open to considering any opportunities that would benefit the developer and create a richer experience for gamers.

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