Just another ad buy

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If you think video games don't matter to the average consumer, you don't know too many teenagers. Or college boys. Or Gen X women. Or senior citizens.

Marketers, take note: They're all playing, and the next generation of video gaming consoles, along with the increasing growth in portable gaming, will engage users in more interesting and dynamic ways than ever before.

"It's so much more now than just paying money for real estate in a game," said Marco Brambilla, creative director, Medium, a New York-based company focused on innovations in gaming and advertising.

The Yankee Group estimates revenue from advertising in games to rise to $800 million by 2009, up from $120 million in 2004. While those numbers are small in comparison to say, last year's $22 billion broadcast TV market, it is gaining quickly even as other traditional media decline. So while it may take months or even years, one day marketers will consider video games as just another ad buy.

Mr. Brambilla's group, in fact, has a deal with JWT to do video game placements for all its clients, including Unilever and Ford Motor Co.

"You can go for the cliches and say, `You're a gamer, so you must like Mountain Dew, Red Bull and T-shirts.' But a lot of us aren't in high school or college anymore and we're much more than that," said Ricardo Torres, senior editor for online magazine Gamespot.

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