PreShow Interactive is giving gamers a new way to earn in-game currency in exchange for watching ads — a concept that’s become familiar in mobile games but hasn’t really made much headway on PCs or consoles.
The startup is led by MoviePass’ founding CEO Stacy Spikes. When I spoke to Spikes about PreShow two years ago, he was beta testing an app that provided users with free movie tickets in exchange for watching ads. But obviously, theatrical moviegoing has taken a big hit in the past year.
Spikes told me yesterday that he’d always hoped to bring the PreShow concept to four categories — theatrical movies, gaming, subscription streaming, and video on demand — but the pandemic forced the startup to shift focus more quickly than expected explore what a gaming experience might look like. This summer, the current plan is to launch a new PreShow Interactive app, where viewers can connect their in-game accounts and identify how much virtual currency they want to earn. Then they watch a package of ads, and PreShow will automatically transfer the money to their performance — in other words, it’s buying the money for them.
Users will have to download a separate app to watch the ads and get the benefits. Still, Spikes said this is better than trying to integrate advertising or branded content into the game itself, which can be a slow process for the developer and the advertiser while also distracting the players. And this means PreShow Interactive should be able to support 20,000 games at launch across PCs, consoles, and virtual reality.