What is Happening?

TV ads are finding their way into console videogames as part of an experiment to reach younger audiences who are watching less TV.

The format being tested offers players in-game rewards in exchange for watching 15-to 30-second ads. This is similar to the ad experience already found in mobile gaming where users watch ads in return for rewards.

Brands like Experian, WarnerMedia and Dollar Shave Club, have all have tested this format within EA's mixed martial arts fighting game "UFC 3".

What Does it Mean?

Brands experimenting with this format are hoping to reach US console gamers, a growing audience (+28% year-over-year) that is forecast to reach 93 million in 2020.

Despite the new format, taking something that has worked for free-to-play mobile games does not necessarily mean that it will work well across consoles.

Historically the ads that have appeared in console games more often shown up on virtual billboards. For example, the NBA's console games have featured signs from league sponsors in their virtual arenas.

A key piece of this type of integration will be creating an ad experience that the highly engaged gaming audience accepts.

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