Exploring the virtual worlds of advergaming

Thursday 5 October 16:00 - 16:30, Green room

Chris Boyd (Malwarebytes)

The games market was worth $90+ billion in 2016, and with an estimated billion hours a month globally spent playing mobile games alone (not including consoles and PCs), there has never been so much opportunity for making money where advertising is concerned. However, that desire for profit also comes with problems for device owners who are frequently at the mercy of poor disclosure and intrusive advertising.

As adverts in gaming (advergaming) ecosystems continue to become more sophisticated - while the game networks themselves have effectively become social networks - so too do the potential complications for parents, children, and gamers, who just want to play without worrying about where their data is going (and how it is being used). Attempts at blocking ads on closed gaming networks, tablets and PC games have started to turn into the same type of turf-war as seen on PC desktops, and forays into VR gaming have only made this more of an issue - the more potentially realistic the game experience, the harder it becomes to disassociate product advertising from the world around you.

This presentation will explain: the different types of in-game ad (static, dynamic, through the line, below the line), how adverts have effectively broken formerly simple processes for good, which specific types of advertising are used on certain platforms, and the gamification of people in the real world. It will also illustrate some of the tricks and techniques used by advertisers to ensure that gamers can't avoid adverts as part of their gaming experience, and will compare the oldest forms of advergaming with the newest techniques, looking at how gamers trying to block ads have led to unskippable ads which form part of gameplay, and at what the future holds for VR/augmented in-game advertising. Attendees should come away with a greater understanding of the types of advertising used in the systems they engage with on a daily basis, how that advertising may target family members in specific ways, which types of gaming are least/most susceptible to advergaming, how game developers manipulate gamers into seeing ads at specific times, and the informed choices available to reduce or eliminate forms of advergaming ads they may feel uncomfortable with.



Chris Boyd

Chris is a seven-time Microsoft MVP in Consumer Security and former Director of Research for FaceTime Security Labs. He has presented at RSA, Rootcon, VB and SecTor, and has been thanked by Google for his contributions to responsible disclosure in their Hall of Fame. He has been credited with finding the first rootkit in an IM hijack, the first rogue web browser installing without consent, and the first DIY Twitter botnet kit.







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