Navigating the Complex Terrain of Brand Safety in the Booming Gaming Industry

Posted by Victor Z Glenn • Nov 17, 2023 9:00:00 AM

The gaming industry is undergoing unprecedented growth, with Canada emerging as a significant player, boasting a 35% surge in the sector between 2019 and 2021. As video gaming expands, so does the realm of video game law. This niche within entertainment law is becoming increasingly relevant, reflecting the dynamism and complexity of an industry that Canada proudly claims as its own, being the third-largest video game producer globally. With 937 companies contributing to this surge, the landscape is ripe for exploration, offering unique opportunities and challenges for brands seeking a foothold.

In a related but potentially surprising move, fossil fuel giant Shell is stepping into the gaming arena, hiring staff to promote online games and sponsoring influencers in virtual racing events. This initiative is part of a broader trend where traditional industries are seeking to connect with younger audiences through gaming platforms. However, this foray into the gaming world by industries traditionally associated with environmental concerns raises questions about the ethical implications of such advertising. Climate campaigners are calling for regulatory scrutiny, drawing parallels with the regulations imposed on tobacco and alcohol companies. As the gaming industry evolves, the intersection of brand safety and responsible advertising practices becomes crucial.

A glance back at the history of in-game advertising reveals fascinating instances of brand collaborations, such as a 1980s game tied to a popular burger chain, and the PlayStation action game Pepsiman, featuring the Japanese mascot of the Pepsi company. Fast-forward to today, and advertising in the gaming world has reached unprecedented levels of sophistication and scale. Programmatic platforms are unlocking new realms for brands within the gaming universe. Forecasts predict that gaming-related advertising will soar to $17.6 billion globally by 2030, emphasizing the immense potential this dynamic landscape holds for brands.

While the gaming industry offers unparalleled opportunities for brands to connect with diverse audiences, it also presents challenges in terms of brand safety. The evolving landscape of video game law, ethical concerns surrounding certain industries' presence in gaming, and the expanding realm of in-game advertising necessitate a nuanced approach. Striking a balance between innovation and responsibility will be key for brands navigating this booming gaming industry. As the sector continues its meteoric rise, staying attuned to legal developments, ethical considerations, and emerging advertising trends will be essential for ensuring a safe and successful journey in the gaming realm.

Topics: Brand Safety, gaming, digital advertising, mobile gaming, advergames