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Bushnell sees inefficiencies in game advertising

Nolan Bushnell thinks that advertising support for the videogames industry can be about 25-30 times greater

Atari founder and Pong creator Nolan Bushnell has noted the inefficiencies in advertising support for the videogames industry.

Speaking at Wedbush Morgan Securities' annual Management Access Conference, Bushnell said that there was a huge disparity between the current situation and what it should be.

"If you really look at the advertising support of broadcast media, it's over USD 100 billion," Bushnell said.

"People in the US watch about 27-28 hours of television per week and they play about 7-8 hours of games per week - which, on a parity basis, says that there should be somewhere between USD 25-30 billion of advertising support available for the game business.

"Clearly, it's less than a billion dollars now."

As chairman of the board of NeoEdge - a company providing 30 second spots to the casual games market - Bushnell says that there is a massive opportunity to get rid of that inefficiency with a lot more advertising-supported gameplay.

"With TiVo and channel surfing, we can actually show that the advertising opportunity around games is significantly better. So, not only should we be getting more revenue on a per game basis, but the gameplay should be significantly more valuable to an advertiser."

The games industry veteran - who joked that he had five year ADD, so every five years he has to do something a little different - is also working on social games with a restaurant called uWink which allows customers to order food and drinks, check out, and play games against each other using touch screens at each table.

"Social games aren't sitting in your boxer shorts in your basement. It's being out, having fun, being able to 'high-five' people around the table. And its a bridge between traditional board games, which are a highly social experience in the home, and a videogame."

"The idea is to create games in which the conversations among the people are as important as the gameplay itself," Bushnell said.

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