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By 7 April 2011 | Categories: news

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We all know that big name games require big budget marketing to make themselves heard, but EA and Activision may be taking things to the extreme these days, spending more money on ads than other developers spend on actually making games.

Speaking at an Ad Age Conference keynote presentation, EA CEO John Riccitiello said that the marketing bills for EA's upcoming Battlefield 3 and Activision's next Call of Duty title could easily surpass $100 million each, Gamasutra reports.

Riccitiello said we can expect, “a couple hundred million dollars marketing against these two products”. He also made the more militant CoD haters cheer by stating that Battlefield 3 is, “designed to take [Call of Duty] down.”

Speaking on a range of topics concerning the gaming industry, Riccitiello noted that the worldwide game industry now includes 1.5 billion players and predicted that this could rise to 3 billion players within three or four years, surpassing global TV ownership.

He emphasized the power of advertising within games themselves by noting how current US president Barack Obama purchased ads in several EA games to try and reach out to younger voters. During that time of the presidential race he was in second or third place, with Riccitiello quipping, “I guess it worked”.

The EA boss stated that getting ads into games doesn't necessarily mean plastering in-game billboards over every inch of your favourite shooter map. Instead he estimated that around half the time spent playing online today is actually spent in pre or post match game lobbies where, “today's consumer is very much expecting advertising… we didn't have that understanding a few years ago.”

While that last point may be contested by some, the fact remains that increased ad penetration will be coming to games in the future. Riccitiello even urged advertisers to get into the market while it's still relatively young so as to avoid a “bidding war” for premium title ad-space.

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