Media Brand

Future of Media: Metaverse potential, ads in games, agencies now plugging in


By John McCarthy | Media editor

May 27, 2021 | 9 min read

I hope you are enjoying the first week of our Gaming deep dive. I'll talk you through some our features and op-eds.

We're one week into our Gaming deep dive, which gives us lots to talk about in this week's newsletter. So put down your controller, turn off the Candy Crush and let's explore why the marketing industry needs to wake up to what is now the world's biggest entertainment medium.

The Foundations of the Metaverse

Gaming's just a stepping stone in the formation of the metaverse. What's that you say? We knew you'd ask that. Chris Sutcliffe explored this new frontier, a brain-bending mix of gaming and social in the virtual, all the more tangible now we can hang NFT artwork we bought with digital currency in our pixel-homes.


Future of Media: Metaverse potential, ads in games, agencies now plugging in

Your scepticism is founded, but just imagine what happens to the world of marketing when the digital world offers almost infinite reach and creative possibilities. This is what it's all leading to. Learn more here.

It's all a lot to keep up with, I know. Separating gimmicks from mass future habits is the tricky part, which is why Havas Media Group's Marek Wrobel's put together this handy explainer on some of the latest gaming tech innovations.

Financing the Foundations

I explored how ad tech companies are monetising games, and everything that'll follow (cough *metaverse*).

Virtual out-of-home stock is now biddable on the open market. If you've got a billboard creative, you can fairly easily plaster it into a bunch of games. You can even target to an individual which real billboards cannot do. But, I learned, this is the means, not the end. These adtech firms are more excited about integrated product placements and branded experiences. A programmatically placed Pepsi power-up could help you on your gaming journey. Adidas cleats make your Fifa player run a little bit faster. Perhaps you could you access a Call of Duty map for free when its emblazoned with Mountain Dew decals. I don't have enough space to outline the opportunities. BUT I do it here.

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2.5bn gamers = a sleeping Facebook, one exec told me. Can they awaken the beast?

Hopefully, because people are being influenced by in-game ads, and in some cases even like them according to our YouGov data. The interruptions are decreasing, in favour of integrations.

What agencies need to know

We know there are more of you out there, marketers specifically tasked with activating in gaming. There's been a series of launches this year.

Sam Bradley interviewed five of the new agency players in gaming, some of whom are part of the biggest networks in the world. This who's who is a good grounder, and shows how no two agencies are really doing the same thing. Yet. The experimentation continues.

Meanwhile, I had Essence's Clare Chapman explain WHY gaming boomed last year and why now's the time for marketers to plug in. This was the first piece launched this week and did a very good job of explaining the basics of the space (almost like it is Clare's job). If you're a brand marketer considering where to start... you're welcome...

Reddit told us everything it knows about gamers, and apparently, the metaverse is being dreamed up and delivered in its forums. But there are scores of diverse niches being built. There's no single type of gamer.

While gaming is trying to show its utility to advertisers, advertisers are using gaming to sell other things. It will sell the public on 5G, which will, in turn, enable the next generation of gaming. Think of all those fancy metaverse graphics streamed over the cloud. And don't forget how ad agency Engine used Fifa recently to tell a touching story about a young football star who lost his life.

And that's probably enough gaming explaining for now, get reading them instead. And come back next week for more op-eds, features and interviews.

Not Gaming

That's you all caught up. If you missed the last installment, read it here. You can subscribe to our other briefings here. And if you want to talk to me, I'm on Twitter, Linkedin and email.

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