There's still much work ahead for Nielsen Entertainment President-CEO Andy Wing and his team as they must also solicit the support of players such as Electronic Arts and THQ to make a syndicated service a viable proposition. Wing expressed confidence that he would be able to get the other players on board and roll out the product within the next year. "We're in preliminary talks and the Activision announcement should be read as a signal of our commitment," said Wing.
Nielsen Entertainment, which offers metrics for various showbiz sectors, including film, music and book publishing, has created a multipronged strategy for the video-gaming arena, which includes measurement of product placement; retail-sales measurement and tracking consumer intent.
"In order to sell [this space] to brands, you have to get to a common currency," said Wing. "If you're wasting time debating what the real valuation is, that's trouble."
%%PULLQUOTE_RIGHT%% Wing said that Nielsen will employ a technology that's similar to one that the company uses in the measurement of outdoor billboards. The technique would require video-game publishers to agree to embed a "watermarking audio code" into different scenes or products within a video game.
"The Nielsen/Activision announcement helps to further legitimize the overall space and I expect that it will only help quicken the pace of money flows out of other media into games," said Dave Madden, exec VP-sales and business development at WildTangent, Redmond, Wash., a PC-based online gaming developer.
Another video-gaming insider, who requested anonymity, wasn't as sanguine about Nielsen's prospects to create an industrywide standard. "There are plenty of top-selling retail developers who have no interest in having ad placement in their games."