PlayerWON™ Is Ready to Give Gamers Control of Advertising

Dave Madden
Dave Madden  |  EVP, Gaming and OTT
Published: Jul. 06, 2021

Over a decade ago, as an executive at WildTangent (a pioneering games platform company), I helped create BrandBoost™, an advertising platform that provided brand marketers the opportunity to reward gamers with complimentary gameplay and virtual items in return for brand engagement. It was the first of what became known as “watch to earn” ad products in the business, migrating to social games, massively multiplayer online games (MMOs) and virtual worlds to become the foundation for the booming mobile game ad business of today.

Now it’s time for advertising in video games to take another evolutionary leap forward.

And just as Simulmedia began reimagining TV for marketers, brands and agencies back in 2008, we’re now doing the same for video games, which we see as well on the way to becoming the dominant tech platform in our society and the world.

We call our offering PlayerWON™. It’s the first opt-in-only, player-controlled, full-screen, in-game advertising experience to reach and reward Free to Play (F2P) PC and console gamers.

Emphasis on player-controlled and opt-in-only. As Simulmedia’s CEO and founder Dave Morgan has said, “The introduction of advertising into these massive and fast-emerging media platforms will require managing a delicate balance centered on a single, simple and unbreakable precept: The gamer is in charge.”

To that end, with PlayerWON, gamers will never see an ad unless they choose to, under their own agency and control -- and even then, they will always be able to skip through an ad if they decide they don’t want to watch it after all.

But gamers who do opt in and watch the ads (which will run only during down time in games) will receive rewards that enhance their personal experience without giving them an unfair gaming advantage over players who opted not to watch the ads.

We didn’t design PlayerWON like this just because we love games (though we do), but because it’s what gamers themselves told us they wanted. We conducted extensive surveys of players of the most popular F2P games and found an overwhelming desire (77%) by gamers to have an option to earn free in-game content in exchange for watching 15- or 30-second advertisements. And unlike the “watch and earn” ads that become standard in mobile F2P games, PlayerWON will deliver TV-quality brand advertisements – premium, fully immersive creative, as opposed to the app-install style ads that are typical in the mobile space.

But not only do gamers benefit from PlayerWON, it’s also a win for the game developers trying to keep them satisfied.

After all, with the massive proliferation and popularity of game titles, developers are competing for gamers’ time and attention more than ever before. By giving their players increased choices for how to “pay” for all the game content they’re creating, PlayerWON helps developers make the games more engaging for their fan base.

Plus, given the fact that the majority of F2P players on PCs and consoles never spend any money in the live service area of those games, we’re providing a way for developers and publishers to help their loyal players get access to all the additional content that’s being created, while maintaining their games’ economics.

PlayerWON is already available in several PC and console games, and we’re happy to report that the metrics for actual player sentiment engagement (not to mention retention for advertisement viewers) are nothing short of spectacular.

Having spent over two decades as a leader in this industry, I’m actually amazed that the PlayerWON model didn’t take off sooner. All of us at Simulmedia are thrilled that the network of games adopting the PlayerWON platform is expanding even as you read this.

Indeed, we expect our model to become the de facto new standard for console, PC and cross-platform games in the next 12 to 24 months.

Ready? Game on.

Want to learn more? Contact me at Linkedin.com/in/DavidCMadden.

Find out how PlayerWON can bring TV advertising budgets to games in your portfolio.