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Brand Strategy Gaming Marketing

Forget the metaverse, The Drum explores how gaming is the real advertising opportunity


By John McCarthy, Opinion editor

May 16, 2022 | 4 min read

The world's 3 billion gamers are fragmented across millions of games that scratch every need on almost any device imaginable. Meanwhile, in the shadows, brands are jealously coveting the attention, dwell time and interactivity of these spaces... Ads are coming, but will gamers accept them? The Drum’s Gaming Advertising Deep Dive explores.

Hyper Scape

Ads are coming, but will gamers accept them? / Ubisoft

Our metaverse Deep Dive earlier this year showed that marketers are excited by the opportunity to advertise in immersive digital worlds and spaces. It was lost on many that these wondrous feats are already possible in video games – technically. Many marketers are using ’metaverse’ as a short-hand for ’gaming’ and it’s doing a serious disservice to an industry that, I shouldn’t have to remind you, is the biggest entertainment medium in the world. So why is ’gaming’ such a dirty word?

Perhaps ’metaverse’ is the buzzy word that will spark the gaming goldrush and we should live with it. Or perhaps, at boardroom level, marketers were burned by gaming when they first experimented with it in the pixel era. Or, even worse, they think its a niche nerd thing decades after that belief should have been dispelled.

Either way, instead of future-gazing and speculation, The Drum is here to celebrate and explore the opportunity in gaming. We’ve rallied the industry’s best and brightest to help chart your course into this space.

And don’t rest on your laurels – a recent study found that 93% of media buyers are planning to buy some in-game ads by 2025. That’s great, and probably the correct move. But I’ve went all-in on the fact that there’s a vast gulf of knowledge here and an entire raft of assumptions to dispel, so it’s my immense pleasure to set The Drum editorial team to task doing just that in the coming week (and beyond).

So, we’re going to explain the industry (minus the jargon and the spin). And in the spirit of that, if you are at the beginning of your in-game advertising journey (and there’s absolutely zero shame in that), allow me to start you off with my in-game advertising cheat sheet.

And finally, here’s just a little taster what you’ll get from the Deep Dive:

  • How to buy in-game ads

  • Media agencies explain how they are reorganizing to buy in-game ads

  • Lego’s gaming brand-building strategy

  • A guide to recruiting gaming talent

  • The lessons consoles need to learn from mobile when introducing ads

  • The resurgence of advergames (games made by advertisers)

  • The biggest in-game advertising fails

  • Why you shouldn’t call gaming ’the metaverse’ from James Whatley

  • An explainer of the 2022 esports opportunity

For more on all the different ways brands can advertise in gaming, from virtual billboards to product placements, social lenses and even games of their own, check out The Drum’s Gaming Advertising Deep Dive.

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