Friday, August 31, 2012

Advertising and New Media

Discuss the phenomenon of digital media convergence in relation to Advertising & New Media

Digital media convergence has changed the face of gaming, and it has also taken the world of advertising and new media to unforeseen heights. A clear demonstration of this convergence is found within MMO style games and games that now require a social network interaction site in order to launch the game. Firstly, this paper will explore why advertisements are becoming abundant within these new forms of media including in-game advertisements, and how this directly relates to convergence. Secondly, we will analyse specific examples of these advertisements and discuss how they compare to more traditional advertisements in other mediums. Lastly, the notion of digital media convergence will be explored, and an understanding of what this actually means for the video game market will be highlighted. Advertising within present and future mediums of gaming consoles is growing. The convergence of gaming consoles with other forms of digital media is the reason why this is a growing trend.

The convergence of online market places with gaming has opened up a whole new revenue stream for gaming companies. In-game advertisements are becoming increasingly common throughout most mediums of video games. What started as simple banner ads featured on the main menu of such consoles including the Xbox 360 or the PlayStation 3; has now evolved to being displayed directly in game, such as those featured in mobile gaming. Advertisements within gaming are becoming more abundant because game companies want to attract more consumers to their games. This is effectively highlighted by Spurgeon, C. He denotes that some form of social games generate their revenue by providing incentives to existing customers to recruit new members. These rewards include in game currencies and bonus items not otherwise obtainable through more traditional means of playing. He also refers to this notion as 'Advergaming'. We can see this is hugely apparent within MMO style games found on the computer. World of Warcraft also incorporates this 'recruit a friend' style ‘Advergaming’, which is being adopted massively by other gaming companies. This directly highlights the growing trend companies are utilising to get the most out of their product and their consumers. Through these examples we are able to see the successful convergence of online market places, and online based rewards with traditional video games resulting in this whole new form of social interactivity.
Advertisements within this medium of video games share their similarities and differences with more traditional types of advertisements in other forms of media. Traditional advertising and 'Advergaming' both share the ultimate goal of selling a product or a service to its respective customers. Depending on what platform, game or even the genre of game a particular user is playing, companies are incorporating 'behavioural advertising', (Wilken, R. 2009). This are more tailored or targeted in game advertisements which are what these particular consumers should be interested in. Wilken, R. again points out the shift towards these style advertisements in mobile devices, but similarities can be drawn to ‘Advergaming’. A notable example is the implementation of the 'Battlefield Premium' service by DICE and Electronic Arts, which when first released, almost overwhelmed the user with banner ads and videos on the ‘Battlelog’ website, needed to launch the game. This would not be technically feasible without the incorporation of a web-site/social media hub for battlefield, which is at the hands of the convergence of social media and gaming. This can be directly comparable to another social network, Facebook, which in some cases can be flooded with ads - and even these Facebook apps and games can contain in-game advertisements. This demonstrates to us that advertisements in completely different mediums can follow the same general method of getting to the consumer.

According to Jenkins (2006), convergence is the 'flow of content across multiple media platforms...' Digital media convergence is rapidly changing the way we can purchase video games, play video games, and even be persuaded by other products through in-game advertising. It is through this convergence of social media, online market places and interaction across multiple forms of video game mediums that these styles of advertisements are even possible. It was through the implementation of game market places, directly accessible on video game consoles including the Xbox Live Market Place, The Wii Shop Channel or the PlayStation Store, that displays direct ‘Advergaming’ to consumers from their own console. This has changed the video game market. Jenkins (2006) points out this flow of varying content, which are directly available on these market places ranging from full games to music and TV shows. It is also strongly shown on Battlefield 3’s social interaction site ‘Battlelog’ which features its own store for one specific game and includes game expansions and soldier upgrades. Gaming, through digital media convergence, has changed the way consumers perform all their gaming related shopping, it is through social interaction and ‘Advergaming’ that this is possible.
Digital media convergence has changed the face of gaming, advertising and new media, specifically those of video game mediums have also reached new social interaction heights. It is through the implementation of social networks for certain games, incentives and ‘Advergaming’ that the true extent of this convergence is apparent. By demonstrating the types of advertising we see within these new forms of social media, comparing them to other contemporary types of advertising in other mediums, and by highlighting what it will actually mean for the gaming community clearly shows this phenomenon of convergence has changed the face of gaming.

 Albert Latham


Spurgeon, C. (2008) Advertising & New Media Oxon Routledge, pp 24 – 45

Wilken, R. (2009) 'Waiting for the Kiss of Life' Mobile Media and Advertising University of Melbourne, Australia pp 428 – 445

Jenkins, H. (2006) Convergence Culture: Where Old and New Media Collide NY university press

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