Spelling the Coming Era of Advertising in a Virtual World
As an Online Marketing Agency we manage Google and social media advertising; seeing the power of tools like re-marketing and personalised online adverts. With the recent purchase of Oculus Rift by Facebook for $2BN we initially questioned the motives.
- Why would a social media website purchase a virtual reality piece of hardware that was essentially developed for gaming?
- You don’t spend $2BN just to annoy the gaming community…right?
- What is the angle?
For one reason: Monetization.
We predict social media, search engine habits and gaming colliding: seeing social media and search query profiles being accessed from games themselves and personal data passing between the two. Facebook already has this: See those ads in your news feeds and over to the right? – Those are personal to you, based on your ‘likes’ and searches. Expect to see that on a grand level in the future:
“The line between reality and the virtual world is blurring.”
We can see an irony arising here, with many people using the medium of computer games for escapism and yet this may be the future of advertising. Oculus Rift could spell the ‘next generation’ of adverts surrounding you in 360 degrees of visual rotation!
Advertising in Games: Personal to You
Our prediction is personalised ‘live’ ads appearing in the gaming world: Tailored to your searches & interests in the same way that Google Re-marketing works: view a product on a website and the advert for that product or service then follows you around the internet on websites that support Google’s display ads. Only there will be no escape it you’re in a game that permits this advertising!
Gaming will become an extension of real life. As technology develops, people expect graphics to be more realistic, more physical sensations and more sensory ability. Over the last few years we’ve seen this already with next-gen consoles and developments like ‘vibration’ controllers, body mounted tech (not just Oculus Rift) that means you can take your game character with you… Like the Tamagochi craze in the 90’s. Only in future your character will be an online extension of your persona: Looking the way you choose, following the pursuits you may not be able to afford and doing the things you may be unable to do… But your interests will be the same and in-game adverts with be specific to you!
The Final Frontier: For Advertisers
This leads us to believe there may even be scope for in-game ‘notifications and emails’ from companies and services to earn points in the virtual world for using their products in the real world. Life may imitate art here: with promotional codes on products in the real world for in-game un-lockables. Loyalty points would be awarded to benefit your game character in the same way that real life products currently have codes to win a car, money or holiday: only these items are virtual in the same way the Bit-Coin is online currency. Got a smartphone or computer in the game? (Grand Theft Auto & Saint’s Row 4 being examples) – Expect companies to contact you with promotions!
Gaming companies would be paid by advertisers for featuring them on in-game versions of billboards, TV’s, adverts on buses and vehicles, appearing in the virtual world, mirroring the real world: all specific to you… All tailored to your real life interests on social media, your search queries and online buying habits. Recently searched for a new guitar amp? – There it is… On a billboard, in the game. Maybe even with a promo code to get a discount if you buy today.
Oculus Rift Opens New Doors
Imagine Battlefield for example, in a virtual world: 360 degrees of action within the game, only now there are adverts on the surroundings. Other players may not even see the same adverts that you’re seeing because their interests are different from your own. This is the era of ‘live’ advertising and untapped potential for the games industry to capitalise on this virtual real estate. Oculus Rift is the technology that may take this to the next level.
We know Mark Zuckerberg will have a monetary angle with his purchase of Oculus Rift. We just question how far his interest and reach into the virtual world will go and what his vision for the future of gaming will be.