weekly roundup Reuters last week unveiled it had opened another news bureau. The announcement isn't anything unusual, especially when you consider the news wire service already has 196 bureaux in 91 countries worldwide--except that, this new facility is located inside an online game.
Reuters now reports and publishes news concerning the real physical world for the gamers community in "Second Life", and also publishes news of Second Life for real-world readers. In the game, one can create characters, buy property and interact with other players. Apart from Reuters, a range of companies including music label Sony BMG, IT vendor Sun Microsystems and car manufacturer Toyota, can also be seen by the Second Life user community in the game.
I'm a huge fan of role-playing game The Sims, and all its other affiliates including The Sims 2 and Sims City. It was in 2004 that I started noticing McDonalds and Intel branded products showing up as play items in The Sims. Even celebrities such as Hilary Duff, Cameron Diaz and Jon Bon Jovi, have made appearances--albeit only in virtual forms--in the various releases of The Sims. McDonalds had reportedly signed a multimillion-dollar agreement with The Sims game manufacturer Electronics Arts, to place its products in the game.
According to U.S.-based Parks Associates, this idea of using new media as another advertising platform is catching on--hardly surprising, especially since the online games market is projected to be worth US$4.4 billion by 2010.
In fact, Parks Associates projected that in-game advertising will grow from US$80 million in 2005 to an excess of US$400 million by 2009. In-game ads are typically carried out as virtual billboards and product placement within the game itself.
Now that there is technology such as TiVO and Personal Video Recorder, which allow consumers to fast-forward and skip through TV commercials, retailers may seriously want to consider product placements in online games as a part of their ad campaign.
In other news this week, find out how one U.K. pub chain handles violent customers and why the coming year-end festive season will bring extra cheer for some Windows users.