Sign up for our daily briefing

Make your busy days simpler with Axios AM/PM. Catch up on what's new and why it matters in just 5 minutes.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on the day's biggest business stories

Subscribe to Axios Closer for insights into the day’s business news and trends and why they matter

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Stay on top of the latest market trends

Subscribe to Axios Markets for the latest market trends and economic insights. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sports news worthy of your time

Binge on the stats and stories that drive the sports world with Axios Sports. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tech news worthy of your time

Get our smart take on technology from the Valley and D.C. with Axios Login. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Get the inside stories

Get an insider's guide to the new White House with Axios Sneak Peek. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Axios on your phone

Get breaking news and scoops on the go with the Axios app.

Download for free.

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Denver news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Des Moines news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Twin Cities news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Twin Cities

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Tampa Bay news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa Bay

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Charlotte news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Charlotte

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sign up for Axios NW Arkansas

Stay up-to-date on the most important and interesting stories affecting NW Arkansas, authored by local reporters

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

After months of testing, marketers are finally going to be able to start running video ads within console and PC games.

Why it matters: In-game advertising, a linchpin of mobile gaming, could be very lucrative for console and PC developers. But studios have been hesitant to adopt them, fearing that a clunky ad experience would mess with user engagement.

Driving the news: A first-of-its-kind in-game advertising platform called playerWON launches this week, allowing big-name marketers that are used to running splashy TV ads the ability to target younger demographics with similar types of spots that will run in video games.

  • The platform, which is owned and operated by Simulmedia, a TV ad tech company, will let users determine whether they want to watch a 15 or 30-second video ad in exchange for being able to unlock exclusive gaming perks.
  • Simulmedia has struck deals with some of the world's biggest gaming studios, including Electronic Arts (EA) and Tencent's Hi-Rez Studios, its EVP, Gaming and OTT Dave Madden told Axios.

How it works: Simulmedia, which has been testing console gaming ads for over a year, collects and vets ad spots from big brands that would typically run on TV.

  • Using Simulmedia's technology, developers can code those ads into their games. They then can decide which rewards to provide to gamers in exchange for them to agree to watch an ad.
  • Through its ad server, Simulmedia is able to see whether an ad is completed. It then sends a notification that you can release rewards to the player. Rewards can vary from in-game currency to skins (costumes) for gaming avatars.
  • In its research, Simulmedia has found that players are willing to watch up to 10 ads per day in order to unlock free perks. The company is able to calculate how much video inventory it needs to provide gaming companies by multiplying a games daily active user (DAU) count by 10.

Be smart: "The acceleration of Free-to-play (F2P) games across Console and PC, like Fortnite, Apex Legends, Call of Duty Warzone and Roblox, means that audiences and play time have seen explosive growth, yet the vast majority of players, over 90%, never spend money F2P games," Madden said.

The big picture: Marketers need a way to reach younger gaming audiences ages 18-34 that are mostly cord-cutters. In-game ads are cheaper and more efficient than brand integrations, which is what advertisers have working with to-date.

  • Because that audience is so highly sought-after, streamers are able to charge a premium for digital TV ads that target younger consumers. In-game ads, which are controlled by the gamer, are much cheaper, per Madden.
  • Data from one of Simulmedia's pilot campaigns with Smite, a F2P multiplayer battle arena game from Tencent's Hi-Rez Studios, shows that players were much more likely (22%) to play a game and spend money within the game (11%), if they watched in-game ads that gave them access to more gaming perks.

By the numbers: A 2020 analysis from Morgan Stanley finds that that reward-based console advertising could reach $2 billion even if only 45% of gamers opt-in

  • Ads that run twice per hour would have an average cost per thousand (CPM) of roughly $20 — which is dramatically cheaper than what most marketers would pay for to run ads on TV or even via some streaming services.

What's next: Madden said the goal is to contiune building out a network of advertisers and games that they can connect through its platform, growing the nascent in-console ad market.

  • It plans to launch in-game ads in roughly a dozen more games by the year's end.

Go deeper

Why some young people aren’t gaming

Expand chart
Data: Generation Lab's GAMING tomorrow prospectus; Chart: Will Chase/Axios

Time is more of a barrier than money when it comes to why some young adults don’t play video games, according to a new poll from Generation Lab, shared with Axios.

Why it matters: There are more entry points to gaming than ever, but there’s no guarantee that young people will embrace games simply because they’re more commonplace.

Jul 29, 2021 - Technology

Ad boom rains billions on Big Tech

Data: Company filings; Chart: Axios Visuals

Advertising growth was the chief driver of tech's blowout quarter, as the economy snapped back from the pandemic and a long-term shift to digital went into overdrive.

By the numbers: Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube and Google all posted record ad revenue growth rates in earnings reports for 2021's second quarter.

Flurry of gaming releases boosts slow season

"Microsoft Flight Simulator." Screenshot: Team Asobo/Microsoft

Summer is often considered the slow season in gaming, but notable releases have been abundant this July — helped by a widening array of games managing to generate attention.

Why it matters: Consolidation of game-making resources may narrow who can make the biggest-budget games, but other factors, including COVID-19, are offering a counterweight.

You’ve caught up. Now what?

Sign up for Mike Allen’s daily Axios AM and PM newsletters to get smarter, faster on the news that matters.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!