Marketing 3 min read

HTC's New in-Game VR ad Service Knows When You're Watching

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xiaorui /

Whether in-game VR advertising would be introduced was only ever a matter of time. HTC has launched a new service that will show ads in Vive and track whether the user has viewed them or not.

In-game advertising (IGA) is the insertion of ads within a video game and lately has taken on many forms.

In-game ads are part of the game environment, from static ads like stadium banners to streaming video ads on in-game screens and even ads that pop up and interrupt gameplay.

HTC launched a new VR in-game and in Viveport ad service.Click To Tweet

As these ads evolve, organically integrated ads are much more effective. Blending into the scenery, these ads actually help the game to be more realistic. Afterall, when in contemporary life are you not bombarded with advertisements? There’s also what is called “product placement”, already used in films, TV shows, and music videos. The player, as the protagonist in the video game scenario, would, for example, ride a car model or enters a brand store.

There’s also what is called “product placement,” which is already used in films, TV shows, and music videos. As it exists in games, the player, as the protagonist in the video game scenario, would, for example, ride a particular car model or enter a real life brand store.

HTC’s VR Ad Service

VR games offer unique opportunities for ad placement with regard to in-game ads.

HTC held the Vive Ecosystem Conference 2017 from March 27 – 28 in Shenzhen, China, where it made some strategic partnerships and new announcements including the new ad service we’ve focused on here.

The VR Ad Service enables the display of ads in their VR content. The system is designed to help developers integrate several types of advertising into games listed in Viveport. Besides the integration of effective and immersive ads, the system tracks impressions and shows if the user considered the ad or immediately clicked away.

Advertisers would benefit from precise re-targeting after gathering initial impressions while maximizing their ad profits because they pay only for ads that have been viewed by the user. The ads take many formats and styles: loading scenes, 2D and 3D placements, recommended app banners, 3D model ads, end game references and in-game screen video.

At the moment, the VR Ad Service applies to games hosted on HTC’s distribution platform, Viveport, which will reserve some of its own space for ad content.

Video Games as an Advertising and Communication Medium

Video games are a real social phenomenon, offering advertisers and brands an opportunity to get into these virtual worlds to communicate with their customers, improve their image and increase sales.

In-game advertising can also bear political messages to get more ballots from younger voters. Already in 2008, the Burnout Paradise video game integrated a billboard promoting the Barack Obama presidential campaign. Since the message only concerned American voters, the ad could not be seen by players outside the United States.

HTC’s new service could boost VR advertising, but it is still faced with skepticism and reservations. A study by Yes Lifecycle Marketing reveals that only 8% of marketers are using VR in advertising.

As we’ve covered before, VR is still not mainstream here in the U.S. Are VR ads going to help or harm that fact?

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Zayan Guedim

Trilingual poet, investigative journalist, and novelist. Zed loves tackling the big existential questions and all-things quantum.

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