I can hear Dr. Evil now, “one billeeeon dollars”. Yup, $1 billion is what the in-game advertising market is expected to be in 2012. In 2007, the number was half that, of which $295 million was spent on in-game ads, versus games that were built around brands (advergames is the term of choice in the industry).
Luckily for the hardcore console or PC gamer, most of that in-game advertising is going to be in Web-based games. Personally, I don’t find in-game advertising in the more ‘serious’ console games to be that intrusive. It’s not as if they stop the game to shove an ad in your face. It’s more of a brand-awareness type of advertising, and well, let’s face it, you just can’t avoid that.