Holy Hotsticks! $5 Million in In-Game Advertising Over Christmas?

Electronic Arts is going to make more than $2 million this holiday season using dynamic advertising. Or, at least, so EA spokesperson Jeff Brown told the Wall Street Journal today (subscription required).

Based off what Brown is saying, EA expects to pull somewhere between $4 million and $5 million in advertising revenue from placements within its “Need for Speed: Carbon” racing game. Just under half of that revenue is expected to come from dynamic advertising placements powered by recently-Microsoft-acquired Massive Interactive.

Just under half of Need for Speed: Carbon’s advertising revenue will come from ‘dynamic’ advertisements, which are regularly transmitted over the Internet and inserted into the action of the game, a source of revenue that hasn’t existed in previous EA games.

Dynamic in-game ads are stirring considerable excitement among industry executives, who see games evolving into a new medium for Madison Avenue to reach a highly desirable audience. Number studies have shown that 18- to 34-year-old men are spending more time playing games, at the expense of conventional media like television.

Well, yeah. And advertising in games is important, because the accelerating cost of producing a professional video game has skyrocketed beyond the pace of game player growth. According to Takeo Takasu, president of Namco, modern high-definition games can cost more than $8.6 million to produce (Just FYI: Takasu also said that games for the Playstation 3 must sell at least 500,000 units before they can make a profit). While video game prices have been increasing, they haven’t matched pace with production costs, so advertising revenue, especially if it’s going to account for nearly half the cost of producing a game, is a really attractive prospect for a lot of developers.

Anyway, I think it will be pretty interesting to see if EA actually meets their in-game advertising goals. If it actually works, maybe people will start talking about quantifiable results instead of broad qualitative statements.

(Photo shamelessly stolen from the Lousiana State Lottery)