Contextual advertising

At my presentation for “Medievaner 07” and in Tønsberg the week before I talked a abit about in-game advertising. And the possibility that in the future we could see companies like Google and Facebook – who knows a lot about their customers – connect with the gaming industry. So when you play “Project Gotham Racing 4” on the Xbox360, you see ads along the road for products you actually like. Because the game pull fit them to your profile on Facebook or Google.

Putting ads in context is very important. TV tries this, by showing beer ads in football games. Or shampoo ads before “Desperate housewifes”. But they don’t know, do they?

They don’t know if you’re a man that doesn’t like beer. Or a woman that is allergic to shampoo and only use special brands.

But Facebook and Google know your interests. So if you connect your profile with the ads, you get ads for stuff that you both like and are interested in.

Spy for us

The Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), Britain’s intelligence listening post, understands the concept of contextual ads. So they are buying ads in “Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell: Double Agent” (reported by Yahoo! and Engadget):

“We find increasingly we have to use less conventional means of attracting people … to go beyond glossy brochures and milk-round stalls,” a GCHQ spokeswoman told…

The advertisements will not be written into the games themselves, but will instead be fed into them while they were played on personal computers or Microsoft Xbox 360 consoles connected to the Internet.

Excellent thinking, even if they don’t know much about the people using the game, except that they are playing a spy game.