What Can Brands Learn From In-Game Advertising In Final Fantasy?

As a franchise, Final Fantasy is one of the most storied in the gaming industry. It has a legacy of influential and iconic games in its lineup. Like any series with a long history, you can see how the gaming world has changed and grown. An example is Final Fantasy XV and how in-game advertising is handled.

The central concept of Final Fantasy XV was “fantasy based on reality.”. This was best captured in how it featured real-world brands rather than fictional ones. Cup Noodles, Vivienne Westwood, and Coleman are the most notable brands in the game’s world. When you look at a series with Fantasy in its name, it does sound like having real-world objects would break the immersion. In truth, it all depends on how it’s integrated.

For example, one of the first brands that gamers see in Final Fantasy XV is Coleman. All the tables, chairs, tents, and tableware in the camping scenes were Coleman branded as an essential way to deliver on its central concept. It’s an excellent example of non-disruptive in-game advertising as it blends into the game’s world seamlessly as it’s a road trip story for most of its playtime. Additionally, the four main characters never explicitly mention the brand or its products by name, which means the ads don’t come across as unnatural to the player.

On the other hand, the in-game ads for Cup Noodle and Vivienne Westwood are not as subtly handled. Each of these brands gets a dedicated sidequest in Final Fantasy XV. While product placement being this blatant in video games wasn’t out of the norm back in the early noughties, this style of in-game advertising quickly fell out of favor with many gamers due to how it can break game immersion.

However, it’s important to remember that this game came out in 2016, and intrinsic and non-disruptive in-game ads have come a long way and are now more commonplace in AAA games. The number of people playing console games is rapidly catching up with mobile gamers. Our UK report found that 49% of gamers aged 25-44 play games on a Playstation console, and 34% on Xbox and handheld consoles like the Nintendo Switch.

What advertisers need to consider is in-game ads have to be relevant. The learnings in our UK and US reports showed that the golden rule for advertisers is the content of ads shown in-game must suit the environment they are in, and they must be targeted to the right audience. Students, business owners, grandparents, and young kids. Young kids all play video games, so it’s important advertisers work with the right partners to reach their desired audience in the right way at the right time in the right place.

If you want to see what opportunities a well-integrated in-game campaign can have for your brand, contact us today.

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