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Effectiveness of Advertising in First Person Shooter Games

Effectiveness of Advertising in First Person Shooter Games

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Published by Stef Cobelens
Effectiveness of Advertising in First Person Shooter Games,

by: SAH Cobelens,

Master Thesis, MSc. ICT in Business, Leiden University, The Netherlands
Effectiveness of Advertising in First Person Shooter Games,

by: SAH Cobelens,

Master Thesis, MSc. ICT in Business, Leiden University, The Netherlands

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Published by: Stef Cobelens on Aug 10, 2010
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04/09/2011

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Effectiveness of Advertising in First Person Shooter GamesS.A.H. Cobelens
Leiden UniversityMaster Thesis
Abstract
In-game advertising is a rapidly developing advertising channel. For examplecompanies like Apple, Regain and Sony are active in product placements incomputer games. Many in-game advertisements are placed without any supportfrom user studies or similar research. An advertisement implemented in the rightway can lead to an increase in sales and brand reputation. This researchcontributes to the field of in-game advertising by looking for different ways toincorporate advertisements in a First Person Shooter (FPS), testing how effectivethe advertisements are and if they affect the game experience. A short levelincorporating various types of in-game advertising was built for the FPS gameHalf Life 2. The participants in this study were asked to play the level and answera questionnaire regarding brand recall, intrusiveness and general comments.
Keywords:
In-game advertising, First Person Shooters, brand recall,intrusiveness, realism
 
Motivation
Video gaming is now one of the most popular leisure activities for adults (aged18-34) (IGA 2009). Fifty percent of the adults (18+) have a videogame consoleand 97 percent of teenagers (aged 12-17) play computer, web, portable, orconsole games (PWE 2008). The game market is eating TV time from consumers.Marketers want to know if spending their budget on in-game ads is an effectiveway of reaching their primary target market. They also want to know what theadvertisement opportunities are in-game and how consumers respond to them.Game developers consider in-game advertising as another potential revenuechannel. They are interested to see how they can incorporate advertisementswithout affecting the gaming experience and incurring consumer resentment.Nowadays the costs of producing a next-gen game can be tens of millions of Euro’s. Therefore game developers might want to generate another channel of income to ensure continuity of the development process and to keep the price of the game level. Independent small game developers, who don’t have the budgetto release and market a game, might want to consider generating revenue solelyby in-game advertisements. The reason why this research focuses on a FirstPerson Shooter is that this genre is popular. There are many FPS titles releasedeach year. A FPS uses a 3D Engine to render a virtual world. Other game genresalso make use of similar 3D engines (like tactical shooters or stealth games) sothey might find this research useful as well. There have not been many studies on the effectiveness of advertising in games.Only one study was found which focused on first person shooters (Chaney et al.2004), but it only focused on fictional billboards in a fantasy world and in amultiplayer setting. A study about recall of brand placements in Computer/Videogames (Nelson 2002) suggested that these experiments may have a differentoutcome in another game genre than the racing genre such as First PersonShooters.
 
Research Questions (RQ)
 The aim of this research is to find out whether in-game advertising in first personshooters is a valuable marketing medium. In order to do so it tries to answer thefollowing research questions
RQ1: Which types of advertisements are most effective in a first personshooter?
In order to determine in which type of in-game advertisement to invest, it mustbe known what kind of advertisements are effective and thus worth putting in thegame or not. Different forms of in-game advertising are derived from thetheoretical background and a subset of these will be tested on effectiveness.
RQ2: Which types of advertisements are intrusive in the game-playprocess?
Advertisements that annoy the gamer and are intrusive may lead to badpublicity, negative brand associations for the ad and the publisher and eventuallycan lead to a loss in sales. Therefore we must know which types are moreintrusive than others and what the attitude of the gamer is towards the forms of advertising in their video game. There are many areas regarding in-game advertising that need to be identifiedand researched. This research will focus on first person shooters. To visualize theresearch question and give a clear overview of which variables are involved andhow they are interlinked, the research idea of this thesis can be visualized in aConceptual Framework seen below.

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