Chris Morris wrote and interesting article for CNN Money about online game advertising. In the article he lines out some plans that major game companies have in the arena of online game advertising. I recommend you to look it up, good stuff. It got me thinking few ideas like:
Nothing will get your fantasy immersion down like an ad for snack bar while playing some fantasy game. Therefore ads can be safely placed only into a game with current or future theme. It is cool to crack some heads in some pop and ultra violent game from criminal genre and then smoke a cigarette of some specific brand. It is also cool to play some distant future space simulation and notice that there is still some well-known brand existing at that time. Fantasy? Nah, I want my high quality sword from local blacksmith Barnes, not from International Steel.
To me this means that in order to get more revenue out from the games by introducing growing product or advertisement placement, publishers are going to start producing more games with concurrent issues. Good example comes from UbiSoft, which has tied in Clancy books and video games. That is a believable setting for advertising. We see the advertising trend also in the frenzy in which publishers are licensing franchises as fast as they can - the more commercial, the better. Sports are the best as they already are fiercely commercial and players actually expect to see some advertising, it makes the games feel more real.
Virtual realities and communities like Second Life are excellent base for virtual and real advertising. These environments are less game oriented and people have other reasons for their existence than collecting experience points. Those environments will see advertising become an integral part of the setting and important vehicle in achieving objectives.