Mihir-ShahI got the first glimpse of what advertising within a VR experience might look like when I saw a demo of some ads playing on the Immersv platform. I was within an movie theater similar to Oculus Cinema watching a 2D video screen where there was a 30-second video of a VR game being advertised. It’s still early days for advertising in VR, but Immersv co-founder & CEO Mihir Shah expects that VR has the potential to become a content marketing platform on steroids once it becomes easier to produce 3D spherical videos of VR gameplay, movies, and tourist destinations.

With the amount of immersion and engagement that virtual reality provides, Immersv expects that VR advertising will eventually draw some of the highest CPM rates as compared to other mediums. I had a chance to talk to Mihir at GDC about their initial per-view ad rates, how much VR developers are getting per view, their plans for growing the number of VR developers using their platform, and how they’re initially targeting causal VR experiences.


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  • Zobeid

    No. Just no.

  • Scott Nebeker

    You can’t just dismiss this by saying “No. Just no.”. You will be advertised to wherever you go. I’ll assume that’s the argument being made.

    Face it, you’re here, with me, on this website, discussing this topic — with an ad directly to the right side of the box you’re reading this in (on desktop). Because I read the article above, I now know something I didn’t before AND I now know about a really cool pair of 3D headphones that is moving along the Kickstarter conveyor belt pretty quickly. Because of that ad, I have an itch to put my money into the project.

    This whole thing is immensely complex and has been studied time and time again. I’m sure there was a some poor caveman that had to return to his cave all depressed because the other guy had better rocks than his. If he had the wherewithal to think retrospectively, he’d find better rocks than his competitor and scream louder the next day. Although personally, I like imagining him bludgeoning his competition with the rocks. That would totally push some product.

    Trust me on this one simple fact (yes, “fact”): If an advertisement annoys you and forces you to lose the experience the designers want you to have, the ad and sometimes the designers will die. There’s a dance being… …danced right now. Once things settle, the ads will seem relevant to what your interests are and won’t be intrusive.

    It’ll seem like the real world.

    • crim3


    • Sam Illingworth

      I don’t agree with the “No. Just no.” because it’s not really a statement of anything, but I don’t agree with your “advertising is inevitable” argument either.

      I don’t see adverts on mobile because I don’t use free apps, I don’t see adverts in games because I don’t play free games. I wouldn’t see adverts on websites if they’d let me pay them directly. I imagine I’ll be able to avoid adverts in VR just like I do in non-VR.

      • Scott Nebeker

        Okay, I see that point. I too avoid free apps. But there’s a problem that a lot of publishers have needed to solve and actually have whether people notice or not (not noticing is best of course).

        What I’m referring to is the fact that sometimes the cost to produce a game (for instance) outweighs the predicted revenue if the game is sold for the going-rate. A case for that is the Forza Motorsport franchise. You purchase the game for what, $60? Then, while racing the hell out of your Ferrari 458 Italia, you see ads on the sides of the track and on the bridges that you barrel-under at ridiculous speeds. The game developers and publishers increase their revenue that way, even though you’ve put up a fair amount of money to buy it.

        I’m not against these ads whatsoever. In fact, I prefer them. To me, they add to the immersiveness of the game. If I were watching the real-life equivalent on TV, I would see these exact ads, placed in the exact spots. To not have them would be a jolt from the realism of the game.

        BUT, that is one of the very few examples of product placement within gaming that works. Like I wrote before, soon the dance won’t be so awkward and we’ll find the happy medium.

        • Sam Illingworth

          I agree that adverts within a sim are a good thing for the reasons you mentioned, but I doubt that such sums actually cost more to make than games which cannot logically include such adverts, and therefore I’d rather just see such games cost enough to make back the money. This needn’t be exclusive – they can have a free version that has adverts, and versions in between (pay more, get fewer adverts), I just don’t see any reason not to have an advert-free version, even if it’s expensive.

  • Sam Illingworth

    So, it’s in VR, it’s advertising a VR product, but it’s displayed on a virtual 2D screen? That’s a bit pants isn’t it (or have I misunderstood something)?

    • Scott Nebeker

      From what I got out of it, is that the ads are only currently 2D simply because, lets face it, advertising agencies are full of dumbasses and this is too new.

      I run a sole-proprietorship, so I’m my own ad department within my own company. Trust me, I’m as big a dumbass as they come.

      • Sam Illingworth

        Well, I’d certainly hope it’ll improve in time. If 2D adverts are the best thing they can come up with they’d be better not displaying it on its own, but putting it up on virtual billboards within other VR experiences.

  • cjdew