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Thursday, October 05, 2006

This Game Brought To You By

EA Sports partnered with Burger King on Fight Night Round 3, which is available for all systems and ships for PlayStation 3 in November. EA Sports' Chicago studio created an unlockable boxer named Rey Mo.

"Not only do players discover Rey Mo in the game, but if they win a Burger King-sponsored event in the game with their own fighter, they unlock the King himself who joins your entourage as they enter the ring," said Lange.

Another current example of rewarding players with a brand occurs in Atari's Xbox 360 game, Test Drive Unlimited. Set in Oahu, Hawaii, gamers can enter Ben Sherman stores and buy authentic clothing for their in-game avatar.

"With games we can inform the company the size of the ad on screen, exactly how long it is was seen for and even from what angle it was seen," said Justin Townsend, CEO of in-game advertising company IGA Worldwide, "thus allowing brands visibility and accountability for every ad dollar spent. Unlike other mediums such as TV, the brands only pay for what is seen."
-- In-Game Ads Burrow Deeper

The big question here is (of course) ... how much did you pay for that game again? Does anyone actually find the Burger King as an unlockable character a good thing? Rehashing ingame aderts as "rewards" is just tossing a fancy coat over an ugly problem. While I'm sure modern settings and sports games while revel in as much advertising dollars as they hedge their massive budgets ... but I'm just afraid gaming is heading quickly for what I would like to call its Dr. Pepper moment.

The distinction here being an otherwise decent product being essentially scarred by product placement. The day I have to solve an adventure puzzle by spelling out "Bud-Weis-Er" on talking frogs is when I know things have gone way too far.

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

In-game advertising can do a lot of good when it allows the funding of innovative projects, I'm thinking of ones that include real world items as part of a contemporary setting. You can imagine the play of consumerism and related social dynamics.