The commercial potential hidden in the ever growing online gaming market has been known to marketers for a long time. It is known that millions of people around the world are playing different types of online games. The wide range of available games – from single player trivia, puzzle, sports and casino games to classic multi player games such as backgammon and chess to massive role playing and strategy games like World of Warcraft and Lineage – attracts diverse variety of players.
Recent surveys show that online gaming is not an exclusive territory of 25-35 males. More than 50% of women at the same age are playing online games on a regular basis, plus a decent percentage of older (and of course, younger) men and women are also preoccupied in the internet gaming world. For marketers, these numbers mean unique opportunity to expose all kinds of products to millions of potential customers.
Marketers use variety of online marketing techniques to approach the massive crowd of online gamers including traditional advertisements and more creative and advanced types of online marketing tools. From chewing gums to automobiles through anti-depression drugs, it seems like everyone is after the online gamers’ attention.
One of the most common ways to promote a brand is by online games. For example, the Chrysler Group, the owner of the Dodge brand, has an exclusive game website dedicated to racing games, in which the player can drive the company latest models, and if played well, the players are rewarded with a HEMI® Power Bonus!
Online Pool as a Test Case
Let’s say that you want to shoot some pool online. By clicking “online pool” on one of the biggest internet search engines, you will find two major food manufacturers battling for the opportunity to promote their brands on your virtual pool table.
The giant chewing gum company Wrigley’s is the sponsor of the popular gaming portal, mostly known for its online billiard games. Once you’ve entered Candystand virtual pool room, you will be asked to customize your playing able from a selection of three designs, each one represents a different chewing gum brand, which its logo is spread all over the pool table. Will you consider chewing an Ice Breakers later?
You will be facing the same dilemma if you choose to play at Nabisco World. However, if you go for the most popular choice today, Yahoo! Pool, you won’t be able to escape advertisements as well; right after you’ve registered and before entering the desired game room, you’ll be hit by Yahoo! Games’ sponsors’ messages.
As you can see, today’s marketers have learned how to take advantage
(not necessarily in the negative meaning) of the increasing interest in online games. From industries tycoons to small, local businesses, most of them came to the conclusion that online gaming marketing is far more affective and profitable than advertisement campaigns.