There is big money to be spent in the new wave of in-game advertising. Could this lead to more money for voice actors in games with in-game advertising placements?

Will corporate advertising in video games translate into bigger budgets for game producers? As reported in Business Week, Nielsen Interactive Entertainment is providing marketers with metrics measuring the impact of product placement on video games. The study only yields results on a case-by-case basis, but marketers are already lining up to get in on the action.

Last year, Nielsen added measurement where there had been none before, which the ratings company expects will kick-start the $79 million industry to more than $1 billion by 2010. Perhaps no one will be more excited about this than game publishers, who desperately need the added revenue stream as video game production costs rise and the price of games stays the same. A handful of big companies such as McDonald’s, Coca-Cola and Nike have been putting their products in games for several years now, and the trend is catching on fast.

For instance, you might see a character in a video game drinking a Fresca, driving a Ferrari, or visiting a Planet Hollywood… These in-game advertisements, though not as obvious as a television commercial or printed sponsorship listing, are subtle enough to entice consumers, reminding them that their product is both omnipresent and relevant – as well as props that generate excitement, add familiarity, and move the plot, of course.

Since big name companies are jumping on the in-game advertising bandwagon, there’s no harm in speculating that the significantly higher profits reaped from advertisers would allow for higher budgets to be allocated to production and post-production costs. One could then insinuate that voice actors could see a rise in their pay as well…

he next step for Nielsen, will be standardizing ad units and impressions; the company plans to offer universal measurement metrics for the entire game industry–although the expected delay of the PlayStation 3 will likely scale back Nielsen’s plans to late next year. Just to throw this out there: Do you think that voice actors are paid sufficiently for their video game voice acting work?
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Stephanie Ciccarelli is the Co-Founder and Chief Brand Officer of Classically trained in voice, piano, violin and musical theatre, as well as a respected mentor and industry speaker, Stephanie graduated with a Bachelor of Musical Arts from the Don Wright Faculty of Music at the University of Western Ontario. Possessing a great love for imparting knowledge and empowering others, her podcast Sound Stories serves an audience that wants to achieve excellence in storytelling. Stephanie is found on the PROFIT Magazine W100 list three times (2013, 2015 and 2016), a ranking of Canada's top female entrepreneurs, and is the author of Voice Acting for Dummies®.


  1. “One could then insinuate that voice actors could see a rise in their pay as well…”
    Yes, one could insinuate that, but I wouldn’t.

  2. Thanks for your comments, guys. How can we as a marketplace help to change the status quo?
    Do you have any suggestions as to how the current perception could be swayed to favor pro voice actors who make their living from voice acting in video and computer games?

  3. Frankly there needs to be a way to screen “voice pros” at IV.
    Consider a rating system for VO talent. The higher the rating the better quality talent and that talent gets higher paying gigs. Simple.

  4. Well I think that with lots of help and promo’ing from such great supporters as G4 TechTV and a few good gaming magazines, the voice over community in the gaming world has grown by leaps and bounds.
    I know for a fact that on X Play (a TV show on G4) interviews and introduces the voice over actors for many games and anime to the television audience.
    I think that looking at the GIANTs out there is a massive waste of time. Concentrate on those that aren’t so big. those are the ones that care a little more about the actors they employ.


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