What is Advergaming?

Published: 14th December 2006
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Advergaming is a term used to describe the use of computer games as a promotional aid. In theory, the advergame's main goal is to attract new and repeat visitors to websites. While playing an advergame, users are exposed to and interact with brands.

The advergame industry is currently experiencing a boom. In 2004, advergames generated $83.6 million in revenue. According to the Boston research firm Yankee Group, it is expected that by 2009 the industry will generate $228.6 million more than it did in 2004.

Advergames are easy for players to use and offer uncomplicated installation for web site owners, making them a simple addition to most websites. Advergaming normally falls into one of three types:

1. The Revenue-Generating Advergame. A company places an advergame on their website with the goal of enticing visitors to spend longer amounts of time on their website. The longer the advertiser spends playing the advergame, the more aware of the website's products they will become, as most company advergames prominently feature the company's logo, slogan and/or products within the game. Most often, this type of advergame will resemble ?arcade' style games.

2. The Attention-Generating Advergame. This type of advergame is created in the same way and placed on a company's website, but does not necessarily focus on revenue generating alone. Advergames that are created for this purpose will serve to educate visitors about things like environmental issues, political movements and military organizations. This type of game allows the player to learn more about the topic being covered as they enjoy a leisurely gaming experience.

3. The ?Stealth' Advergame. When a company includes their brand, logo, company colors or products as a part of the actual advergame, brand interaction can occur with the player, but in a more subtle fashion. For example, a racing advergame might place a company's logo or colors onto the player's vehicle or on banners around the game's race track. However, this type of advergame can be somewhat controversial, especially if there is a fee associated with the game. Some players are of the opinion that, in exchange for the advertising revenue earned by the game's creators, a lower game cost is in order.

Along with providing the player with a fun ?escape' from the trappings of daily life, advergames can also serve to alter the way in which a player perceives a particular company or brand. In fact, playing an advergame can affect that player's awareness of the brand, how they associate the advergame with the company message being conveyed and even alter the level of their intent to purchase that company's product or service. Overall, advergames do not seem to have lost their validity or relevancy to consumers. As long as the advergame is fun to play and advertising messages are properly integrated and displayed, advergames will continue to provide players with many and varied interactive cultural experiences.


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