Video game ads expected to soar by 2011

New York (NY) - The relatively new medium of in-game ads will mushroom from a $700 million industry to a me of nearly $2 billion in the next four years, according to eMarketer.

By 2011, the firm predicts that $1.94 billion per year will be spent on ads that are placed inside video games. About $344 million of that will be devoted to "advergames", games that are released solely to promote a product.

The eMarketer report points to Burger King as a key example into where this market is headed. During the 2006 holiday season, a trio of inexpensive games featuring Burger King characters and products reached mass success with sales of over two million units .

In addition, other games will become packed with sponsored spaces like product placement, virtual billboards, and car decals. According to eMarketer, more than half of in-game advertising, or nearly $1 billion, will come from the US in 2011.

"When you look at advertising overall, obviously TV dominates - but that’s changing. It’s clear that if people are spending four or six hours a week playing video games, that’s time robbed from TV viewing or something else," said eMarketer senior analyst Paul Verna.

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