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Big software corporations have long pined about the current video game landscape, especially regarding home consoles and mobile devices; according to any one who runs a massive corporate entity, the way forward is mobile... only mobile. Well, it turns out that the best way to make money from some mobile titles – utilizing in-game ads – doesn't work out so well for the target audience.
In a completely unsurprising bit of news, it turns out that gamers actually hate when companies interrupt gameplay with forced advertisements.
According to a new report by MediaSpike, only 11% of gamers said that they were okay with advertisements that break the gameplay. On the opposite end of the spectrum, 36% said that they were not okay with ads that play during the gameplay – or rather, interrupt the gameplay in order to show the ad. Even more than that, 29% of participants mentioned that they prefer banner ads to in-game ads that interrupt the play session. 21% even mentioned that they would more likely interact with a banner ad than one that breaks in on their session, as only 9% felt that they would interact with an ad of the altter sort.
John McCrea, chief marketing officer of MediaSpike, commented about the results, saying that...
“Tapping mobile to reach target audiences is critical for today’s marketers, and gaming represents the most promising frontier,”... “Unfortunately, this research shows that today’s most common approaches, such as serving ads at breaks in gameplay, are missing the mark.”
The entire mobile gaming market is missing the mark. It's based around selling in-app purchase and putting tap or click-worthy obstacles in the way in order for players to attempt to access mechanics that could enable them to have fun. This issue has been persistent with games like Dungeon Keeper, which caused consumer advocacy groups to intervene on behalf of consumers because a company certainly isn't going to stop content gouging if they're not forced to.
While mobile spending is expected to continue to skyrocket, a lot of it is done via using gambling-esque tactics – oftentimes referred to as clickbait – to goad gamers into spending money to either unlock full access to the game or to maintain their gameplay “performance”.
As noted above, gamers aren't keen on interacting with ads while they play, and they've shown that they're awfully finicky when it comes to these things, as evidenced with Square's attempt to leverage that model with their cloud-streaming game service, Core.
Nevertheless, MediaSpike's John McCrea is confident that there is a way to tap the growing audience of mobile gamers, saying...
“While the research results may come as a surprise to some, they make intuitive sense,” ... “Gaming commands more intense focus than any other medium, making it really difficult to connect using conventional approaches. But the great news is that if you integrate a brand natively into actual gameplay, you create advertising that people see, interact with, and actually like.”
Yes, the alternative is to potentially attach more ads into the game, natively, as opposed to interrupting the gameplay with ad-breaks. The native game ads could see popular brands popping up on billboards, signs or other ways to maintain engagement without interrupting the play session.
The survey was conducted with 200 male and female gamers aged between 18 and 49 years of age; it was conducted in collaboration with Interpret. You can see the full results over on the MediaSpike website.