In the past month alone, Take-Two Interactive acquired Zynga for $13 billion, Sony PlayStation bought the game studio Bungie for $3.6 billion and Microsoft dropped $69 billion for Activision-Blizzard, its largest acquisition ever.
For major platforms and hardware players like Sony and Microsoft (which owns Xbox), this trend is driven by the same strategy we’ve seen play out among online walled gardens, which are now growing into content fortresses. The idea is to amass a media and entertainment bundle on one side of a log-in or subscription service.
For mobile-first companies, the consolidation spree is also about tying together game developers with the advertising and performance marketing technology that monetizes their apps.
But the optimism for in-game advertising still must be realized. For now, gaming ad revenue is fairly basic – like opting to watch a video ad in return for an in-game boost. Eventually, dynamic ad insertion could make it possible to target ads to wall (a banner, if you will) in games or place items in the scene.
How far will game developers go? Brands are hungry for online attention around video content, with so much media consumption disappearing into advertiser blackholes like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video or HBO.
Gaming might be the next-best option – Netflix CEO Reed Hastings notoriously dubbed sleep and video games the company’s main competitors, notes AdExchanger managing editor Allison Schiff on the episode – if developers (and gamers) will stomach the intrusion.
And what’s new for SSPs?
Nothing new emerged in terms of a challenger to Google, which dominates as the majority leader in the category. But publishers work with 5.8 SSPs on average – though that’s down from the seven average SSPs Advertiser Perceptions expected to see during its recent publisher survey. Associate Editor Anthony Vargas has the story there.