Nielsen, a company that measures television ratings, on Monday announced a partnership with Sony Computer Entertainment America (SCEA) to establish a measurement system that would accurately and transparently evaluate the performance of in-game ads, providing enough information about the market to attract advertisers.

As part of the agreement, Sony will provide traffic data from PS3 games, PlayStation Home, and the PlayStation Network. Nielsen, for its part, will work with Sony on methods to selectively target in-game advertising to specific audiences.

"This gives us an opportunity to validate video games as an advertising medium," said Phil Rosenberg, senior vice president of Sony Computer Entertainment of America, the division responsible for PlayStation. "It will help present the value of games to advertisers against other options they have, such as TV, Internet and print."
The agreement is likely to help the Japanese giant sell a wide variety of ads on its online game platform, PlayStation Network, as well as within each game it publishes. Microsoft, maker of the Xbox 360 console, is also after a piece of the pie. Little over a year ago, the company paid more than $200 million to acquire Massive Inc., one of the biggest in-game advertising companies.

The market for in-game advertising is projected to increase exponentially in the coming years. According to Michael Cai, a Parks Associates analyst, spending on advertising within games will grow to more than $800 million in 2012, up from $90 million this year.