TOKYO — Ad agency Hakuhodo DY Holdings will become the first company to sell metaverse advertising in Japan, tapping a market that is forecast to skyrocket as the technology takes off.
Group company D.A.Consortium Inc. intends to sell ad space in virtual worlds created on Roblox, a game-building platform with 50 million daily players. Advertisers can display still images or video on in-game buildings and billboards, and change the content based on a user’s demographic profile.
DAC will partner with U.S.-based Super League Gaming, a company that connects American advertisers to metaverse platforms, on marketing the service to Japanese businesses. A two-week ad posting will be priced around 800,000 yen ($6,300), depending on the size and location.
The starting price “is similar to or a little cheaper than” a banner ad on the top page of a popular website, said DAC, which will consider expanding to other platforms in the future. The company also plans to develop new ads that let viewers virtually experience products using 3-D graphics.
Canada’s Emergen Research forecasts the metaverse market ballooning to $829 billion in 2028, nearly 20 times its 2020 size, and advertising demand is expected to grow accordingly.
Roblox has been a pioneer in virtual advertising among big-name games, with Walt Disney, Nike and Universal Pictures among those running ad campaigns on the platform.
Competition is heating up to develop ad technology and business models for this emerging corner of the market. Facebook parent Meta said during June 2021 it was testing ads displayed within virtual reality headsets.
In Japan, Dentsu Group partnered with Tokyo-based startup Ambr to develop a system for hosting big events virtually, which has been used for the online edition of the Tokyo Game Show expo. CyberAgent in February launched a subsidiary specializing in virtual stores.
Large-scale metaverse spaces are now used mainly for online games, but projects are underway to create metaverse malls, offices and streets.