As interest in VR continues to grow, it was only a matter of time before the topic of in-game advertising came up. HTC is tackling it head-on in way, so to speak, with a unique twist—the company's new "VR Ad Service" knows when you're looking at ads.
That's the big pitch HTC is making to developers.
"Ads that appear in immersive VR environments can not only provide more effective impressions, they can also track whether the users have viewed them or have turned away their gaze. Accordingly, the multiplied effect of effective impressions and verified viewings will bring you higher advertising revenue!" HTC explains.
Advertisers will only pay for ads after they've been viewed, according to Business Insider. Some of the formats they will use include loading scenes, 2D and 3D in-app placements, app recommendation banners, and big screen video.
This will be an opt-in ad service for developers. HTC notes that by opting in, "all of your free apps would be automatically put on the list which can be used to integrate VR Ads."
News of in-game ads coming to VR isn't exactly the sort of thing that will excite gamers. If there's a silver lining here, it's that ads are more likely to relevant to the viewer's interests over time, at least in theory.
"Compared to ordinary ad impressions, ads that are seen by users in a immersive VR environment can not only meet the user’s needs by means of precise re-targeting, but can also be detected if they are viewed effectively by users," HTC states. "Therefore, promotion of your applications would have much more effective impression, which not only arouses the attention of potential users and enhance brand image, but further attracts interested users directly to download your apps in the VR environment!"
The in-game advertising program applies to games hosted on Viveport, HTC's digital distribution platform.
If only there was some sort of highly acclaimed, dystopian science fiction that had explored this thoroughly. Oh well.