General Manager of Nielsen Interactive Entertainment

Michael Dowling, General Manager of Nielsen Interactive Entertainment, sat down with us to share his insights on the burgeoning video game industry and its opportunities for advertisers and marketers.

Dowling talks about the effectiveness of product integrations into games, the different types of gaming, expanding demographics, how in-game advertising works, how brands can create an effective branded entertainment video game strategy and much more.

Scroll down to read Interview Highlights

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Brandweek Video Gaming Equipment Report

Highlights of Interview

  • Since 1995, the entire video game business has more than doubled.
  • The video game industry (including software and hardware) is a 10 billion-dollar business in the United States and about a 25 billion-dollar business globally. The video game software portion in sales alone in the United States is at 7.4 billion dollars.
  • 248 million units of video game software were sold in 2004.
  • It’s not just 18-year-old boys sitting at home playing video games. 24% of gamers are over the age of 40 and largely dominate casual gaming online, puzzle games and card games.
  • Prime time television usage among 18- to 34- year-old males has declined as a result of gaming.
  • According to a Nielsen/Activision study, 75% of households with 18-to 34 year-old male have a video game system of some sort.
  • 18-to-34 year-olds will spend an average of three months playing a game. Over those three months, they will play that game for a total of 40 hours.
  • Most games do not have advertisements in them. Out of 1300 video games that were released last year that at least sold one unit, less than 20% of them had some form of product integrated or advertisement into the game.
  • The video game industry goes through a relatively predictable five-year hardware cycle. Where new hardware is introduced, it takes the developers time to better understand that technology.
  • Gamer demographics are becoming broader. We are seeing a lot more mainstream and casual gamers coming into the mix, which will open even greater opportunities for branded entertainment companies.
  • There are low to high levels of integration into a video game. Low integration is considered product placement and high integration is when a brand significantly integrates into the game play itself.
  • If a brand advertiser wants to get their product into a video game, they should work with the publishers and the developers as early as possible so that they can be part of that creative process. They should also educate themselves more about this opportunity.
  • Video games and films may have some similarities in the way they look at building properties and franchises, but their development and production processes are very different.
  • Music is providing a great enhancement to the overall game play experience. Musicians, music labels and music publishers want to reach video gamers, because they are consuming media at the highest levels.