NeoEdge Networks Introduces Way to Splice
Ads Into The Middle of the Action
October 22, 2008
Most casual game ads are predictable. They run a
30-second video in between levels in a game, or roll the
video after you’ve finished. But NeoEdge Networks has
introduced a way to make those the placement of ads much
more flexible — and possibly quite annoying to gamers.
NeoEdge Networks allows game companies to insert ads
into their downloadable PC games and it finds
advertisers who want to put ads into those games. Today,
it is announcing that it will be able to insert ads —
dubbed NeoEdge Brand Overlays — into any part of a game.
It can thus be just like a TV advertiser that sticks ads
into shows just after a cliffhanger.
Nolan Bushnell, chairman of Mountain View, Calif.-based
NeoEdge, says this isn’t about maximizing annoyance for
gamers. Rather, it is about making the ads as effective
in games as they are on TV. There is potential here,
since the amount of time spent with games is approaching
that spent with TV, yet the ad dollars associated with
TV are far greater, Bushnell said.
“Advertisers are figuring out they’re getting screwed
with TV ad rates,” Bushnell said.
Chief Marketing Officer Ty Levine says that it’s an
innovation that will help set the company apart from the
pack. That’s important because NeoEdge is surrounded by
While NeoEdge dominates the market for ads in 20-minute
casual downloadable games, competitors are moving in
around the edges. Google last week entered the market
for in-game ads for casual Flash games, which take a
shorter time to play. NeoEdge also plays in the Flash
in-game ad market.
There are rumors the online advertising giant plans to
expand into NeoEdge’s market. With new technology,
NeoEdge could offer more opportunities for advertisers
to get their message across in each game. It will face
competition from others, including IGA Worldwide, which
just announced it has reached 30 million gamers with
in-game ads, as well as Double Fusion, Microsoft’s
Massive, and Mochi Media. (The latter does Flash in-game
Levine said that game developers don’t have to plan on
having ads in sections of the games. Rather, NeoEdge
wraps its own proprietary layer of interactivity around
the game so that it can insert ads anywhere it likes.
The good thing is that NeoEdge doesn’t need game
developers to do anything to their games in order to add
the NeoEdge Brand Overlays. This is significant to
advertisers, since it means they can wait until after a
game comes out before they decide to do an ad campaign
with the game. The advertiser can wait to see if the
game is a hit first; if it is, the advertiser can launch
a NeoEdge Brand Overlay campaign quickly.
The action of the game doesn’t pause unless the gamer
clicks on the ads. Testing shows that well-placed ads
inside the action of the games can have significantly
higher click-through rates, Levine said, while there is
no measurable impact on gamer satisfaction.
“We realize that we can’t have ads intrude on the
intensity of the action, but there are many parts in
games where the action is arrested,” Levine said.
Sometimes the pauses in the action aren’t long enough
for a 30-second spot, so a shorter ad has to suffice.
Levine said there are usually about six regions of a
screen where it’s OK to put an unobtrusive window for a
logo, product, or other kind of ad in a game screen.
This makes the ad model even more viable, since the ads
are more effective and more plentiful. That’s important
because there is a flood of casual games being launched,
but the revenue associated with those games is being
stretched thinner and thinner.
NeoEdge has the ability to insert ads during game
production. But so far, NeoEdge isn’t going to take its
technology to console games or to games where the game
developer has to bake the ad into the game ahead of
time. That turns out to be costly and it has yet to pay
off in spades, Levine said.
NeoEdge rolled the new ads out to its advertisers a few
weeks ago, and almost every advertiser has responded
positively, Levine said.
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