July 16th, 2011

Sony PlayStation Network injects engaging ads into games

Media Post

Sony’s PlayStation Network, an online entertainment hub for all Sony PlayStation platforms—original programming, game integration, and Home, a social network—is getting creative with in-game ad opportunites.

In the battle for in-game ad dollars with Microsoft Xbox, there are about 35 Sony partners building content for PlayStation Home. About 20 million players worldwide have access to 8,000 virtual items in the site. The average time spent in Home stands at 70 minutes. Popular spaces in Home have about 900,000 engagements per week.

In one of those popular spaces, Unilever ran a campaign for AXE body spray for men, called “Angels Will Fall.” The consumer products goods company took its broadcast campaign, modified it for game play, and put it in Home on PSN, according to David Winding, PSN director.

When avatars spray themselves with the cologne in the game, angels fall from the sky. An angel drops from the sky and the player must catch her with a pillow without allowing her to touch the ground. Each angel caught earns the player points. Points earn the player Axe products from the CPG company. It’s working for AXE.

The “Angels” campaign in PlayStation Home created buzz, and home users accounted for more than 1 million engagements with the AXE brand during the past two weeks. Since the debut of AXE’s mini-game in Home’s Central Plaza on June 23, more than 500,000 consumers have directly and interactively engaged with the AXE brand by first applying AXE Body Spray to their avatars via the “Pit-Pit-Chest” move.

In fact, during the next five years, online will become the fastest-growing segment in video games. Online games should drive $11.9 billion in revenue this year, Gartner estimates. Consumer spending for subscriptions and micro-transactions will clip at a compound annual growth rate of 27% through 2015, according to the research firm.

All the games that appear in Home are built by the Sony PlayStation group, Winding said. “A game similar to AXE can take around 60 days to build, but some more involved games take up to six months,” he said.

Aside from Unilever, brands such as Ford, Spring, Toyota, and Wrigley advertise across PSN. In June, Ford became the first U.S. automaker to develop a “space,” similar to a virtual area in Second Life, for PlayStation Home. The Ford showroom gives players an opportunity to view the vehicles in an environment where most people wouldn’t expect to see Ford.

The PSN combines free online game play, social networking capabilities, access to movies, TV shows, music, and sports programming. It has a continuously updated package of partners and services on one entertainment platform.

Brands advertising across PSN, which operates in more than 59 countries, have access to about 77 million registered accounts and 1.57 billion pieces of content downloaded worldwide. The average monthly download volume on the network exceeds 30 petabytes, equivalent to 6 million units of single-layer DVDs.

More than 70% of registrants use PSN and make at least one purchase weekly. Two-thirds play one of the 1,116 available online games. There are 4,800 pieces of add-on game content available in North America.

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