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Sony, Nielsen collaborate on in-game advertising metrics

The new system will mesh with Nielsen's new GamePlay Metrics to provide data on in-game advertising on Sony's PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Network games.

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Sony Computer Entertainment America has joined forces with ratings mogul Nielsen to develop a measurement system for the nascent in-game advertising industry, according to a joint release from the two companies on Monday.

Sony will now share its game network data from the PlayStation 3 console as well as the PlayStation Network (which encompasses its new virtual world, PlayStation Home). Nielsen will then combine this with its game usage data, which currently encompasses the activities of more than 12,000 U.S. households. Then, beginning this fall, Nielsen will begin tracking audience statistics and user activity through its GamePlay Metrics system, incorporating in-game advertising figures into the final product. Later this year, we'll see the first reports from this new project.

Nielsen, still best-known for its TV ratings, has been gradually expanding into newer forms of media. It's operated its NetRatings online metrics system for several years now, and first announced GamePlay Metrics last year. Earlier this summer, Nielsen expanded into tracking mobile media use.

In-game advertising is seen as a lucrative and untapped sector of the advertising industry; Microsoft and Google have both acquired in-game ad firms in the past two years, but it's nevertheless still getting off the ground. Sony and Nielsen's goal with the new in-game ad metrics is to help make it a more competitive field by providing some numbers for the oft-amorphous business.