updated 01:30 pm EDT, Fri July 11, 2008
Sony to sell ads in games
Sony today revealed it will begin selling virtual advertising space in PlayStation 3 games in order to help the company offset the losses it suffers with each sale of the console. The ads would appear on billboards, posters on walls, shopping bags, TV screens and soda cans in games where they wouldn't seem to be out of place. The company teamed up with in-game advertisement companies Double Fusion and IGA Worldwide in the undertaking, which would target advertising per game genre, said a Sony spokesperson.
The advertisements will be in games sold in Japan, North America and Europe and should be especially common in online games, where advertisers have more flexibility, being able to control when, where and how long to advertise, while exposing many users at the same time. The idea of in-game advertising in not new, as titles such as Need For Speed: Pro Street saw billboards from car manufacturers lifted from real life and countless product placements from aftermarket companies that produce automotive performance parts.
Sales of the PS3 are behind competitors, despite the company's victory in the high-definition wars and the subsequent market share spike. Sony hopes to return to profitability in its game division in the current fiscal year.