UPDATED: 01 Jun 2018

Act natural: Five reasons why PC game developers should consider integrating thoughtful advertising in their games

Written by bidstack

Making a PC game profitable is tough. With so much competition on the market, service driven games like Overwatch eating into player’s time, and prices diving downwards, it can be tough to find a way to keep your game business going.

That’s why we think it’s time for the market to start putting quality advertising into their games. Having integrated our native ads into games like Football Manager 2018 to help successfully hit a targeted audience of players, we’ve been able to provide value developers and advertisers without causing backlash.

But why should you think about adding adverts to your game? Here are five reasons that we think are worth considering.

1) Increasing competition will force developers to monetise in other ways

In 2017, PC Gamer reported that 6000 games were released on Steam. As a point of comparison, 6000 games were released on PC in the decade between 2005-2015.

This glut of releases will inevitably lead to a reduction in overall game prices. Developers and publishers will be forced to drive prices downwards to stay competitive in an increasingly ferocious market.

And whilst lowering prices may lead to an elevated player base, reduced spend per user will need to be made up elsewhere. By integrating adverts into their games, PC developers can begin earning back that lost up-front revenue from players.


2) Service based games require constant revenue streams

While the number of games on PC is going up, the level of commitment to keep most games going is also increasing.

As it becomes increasingly challenging to fully return investment on a release at launch, developers increasingly have to run in-game services. And while these can prove lucrative, running costs – such as cloud server hire – can prove financially challenging for emerging services.

Running native adverts helps with these challenges because they provide consistent returns to any games with a healthy player base. Provided a game is engaging, provides regular reasons to play and retains its players, it will likely offer enough “eyeballs” to make display advertising work.


3) Players don’t mind thoughtful, natural in game ad placements

Everyone hates intrusive advertising. Screen blocking interstitials, autoplaying video adverts, web page crashing copy and even overly noisy TV ads are massively annoying and turn people off.

However, that doesn’t mean that all adverts throw consumers into a rage. Well-written ad campaigns on the Tube engage readers bored of their commutes; ad hoardings at football have been an non-intrusive presence for years; podcast advertising that fits the tone of the show and the interests of presenters work.

In essence, consumers are happy to be advertised to provided its done in a respectful and natural way. This makes native advertising and its emphasis on blending with its surroundings perfect for developers, especially those who think hard where exactly an advert will work.


4) Broadcast friendly games receive an extra boost

Naturally integrated advertising is also a helpful revenue stream for PC developers because it taps into the platform’s natural tie in with video streaming platforms.


While adverts run in a mobile game will likely only be viewed by one player at a time, any advert running in a popular PC game that has a streaming audience will likely get a boost through online viewing platforms.

For example, over 150,000 people follow Football Manager channels on Twitch. This means that any campaign ran through the in game billboards generates additional uplift on the daily audience. This means that ad spend goes further, benefitting the game publishers who run campaigns.


5) It can act as a foundation for esport success

Finally, native ads are a great counterpart to PC games because the ability to run in game adverts will help them monetise if they go down the competitive gaming route.

Tying into the point above, esports rely increasingly upon advertising, commercial partnerships and rights sales to monetise. Newzoo estimates that 77% of the near $1bn industry comes in this way, which is a serious amount of cash.

Therefore, PC games that feature native advertising in game from an early stage position their businesses nicely to tap into this revenue stream. And while it might not be a make or break approach in the short term, any games that do manage the transition into a viable esport will reap significant rewards if their in game adverts gain a significant viewership.

Conclusion: Advertising won’t be right for every PC game out there. But for developers looking to make up revenue lost at the point of sale, for companies running in game services and for those attracting streaming audiences, it could be an important addition to the revenue mix.

If you’d like to integrate bidstack’s programmatic advertising into your PC game, contact the bidstack team at [email protected] for more information.

Written by bidstack | 01 Jun 2018