From the editor: Game on for brands

Colin Grimshaw

The stereotype of a gamer – a spotty, introverted, geeky young male, closeted away in his bedroom playing Grand Theft Auto – is no longer valid. Today's gamer is just as likely to be a housewife karaoke-ing along to Singstar, or a silver surfer tending to his virtual crops and cattle on Farmville.

In America, 68% of households play video games, gamers spend an average of eight hours a week playing online games and 40% are female. In China, online gaming is a $4bn industry with 70 million regular players, half of them paying to play. And in Korea, gaming has become a TV sport replete with sponsored teams, leagues, high earning star players and adoring female fans.

Online games can be served with addressable dynamic advertising, which forms part of the game -for example, a stadium hoarding in a football game or a car in an auto game. This provides a brand with an opportunity to become immersed in the entertainment experience and engage with players in a fun environment when their attention is devoted entirely to the gaming activity. A brand can be served into the game for a fixed period to fit with broader advertising campaign schedules.