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Games Entertainment

The Rise Of Adverts In Videogames 45

Thanks to Evil Avatar for pointing to a brief Fortune article discussing the rise of advertising placement in videogames. A particular example discussed - Intel have struck a deal with EA so that "..when characters on The Sims Online use their PCs, players see the Intel logo and hear the company's signature musical bong." How insidious is too insidious? Mind you, advertisers would have to push to find licensing as plain bizarre as Skittles' product placement in Darkened Skye.
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The Rise Of Adverts In Videogames

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  • Enter the Matrix (Score:3, Informative)

    by Yrd ( 253300 ) on Monday May 19, 2003 @03:45AM (#5990102) Homepage
    Intel also got their paws on Enter the Matrix, there are various points in the game with big Pentium 4 advert posters in (such as the airport). Thankfully they left out that irritating tune.
    • Re:Enter the Matrix (Score:2, Informative)

      by Donimo ( 565227 )
      I also saw an nVidia advert on a wall beside the Intel logo...
    • Not to mention those damn Powerade vending machines everywhere.
    • Quite right: this is why we, the movie-going public, need to rise up and demand that these kickbacks be passed along to the end user. If Intel wants me to watch their commercial within the movie, I will require a quarter. I don't even need the quarter, the theatre can just subtract it from my ticket price. Here's an idea: a megaplex that shows the regular run of the mill Hollywood movies but before they are shown, commercial images are branded onto them locally. Of course, digital film would make this much
      • Just like since we pay for cable, there are no commercials!

        Oh wait.

        If they do that, no way are they going to reduce ticket prices, they'll just stick the commercials in and make more money for themselves.
  • Mc Donalds (Score:2, Informative)

    by riotous ( 113418 )
    Somewhere between 1993-1995 (it ain't gonna get much clearer than that I'm afraid). The lovely people at McD released a game on the amiga (and possibly the atari st as well) based on Ronnie and themselves. Yes you help Ronnie clear up the environment by collecting golden arches.

    ==
    Do you want to change your name to Homer Junior? The kids can call you Ho-Ju!
    ==
    • by Wuukie ( 47391 ) on Monday May 19, 2003 @03:58AM (#5990146)
      Hmmm, help clean up the environment by collecting golden arches? You mean cleaning environment by removing McDonald restaurant? Sounds like feasible solution.
      • "Hmmm, help clean up the environment by collecting golden arches? You mean cleaning environment by removing McDonald restaurant? Sounds like feasible solution. "

        Ever look at a McD's wrapper and notice the phrase "Please put litter in it's place"? Doesn't that mean you should throw it anywhere but in a trashcan? It ceases to be litter once you throw it away. Maybe that is what the game is about.

  • Flashback (Score:2, Interesting)

    Back in 1992, Ocean Software released a game on the Amiga and PC in conjunction with Smiths Crisps in the UK to promote Quavers [corpex.com], that tied in with their current Lenny Henry voiced mascot Colin Curly. The game [amigagames.com] wasn't a half bad puzzler either.

  • by ColaMan ( 37550 ) on Monday May 19, 2003 @04:13AM (#5990176) Homepage Journal
    Far out man, pass the intel musical bong.

    I knew those guys were on something.
  • Even if it seems to be a matter of last 5 years, products placement in games as been here for a while : remember Zool [strayduck.com] ? Well in this game, the brand Ch*ppa Ch*ps was strongly present.
    • Re:long time... (Score:5, Informative)

      by lightspawn ( 155347 ) on Monday May 19, 2003 @04:34AM (#5990234) Homepage
      Here's some "prior art" for you (EGA / CGA / 8-bit micros)

      Domino's Pizza - Avoid the noid [gamesdomain.com]

      Ford - Ford Simulator [gamingdepot.com]

      Dunlop - Dunlop 911 TS [vgmuseum.com]

      KP skips - Action Biker [f9.co.uk]

      The last link is to a review. A few choice words:
      Action Biker signifies a depressing trend to link grotty software with expensive advertising campaigns. Let's kill this off instantly by refusing to buy such garbage.


      Software like this gives junk food a bad name.
      • Don't forget pac-man plus' Coke Can, circa 1982.
      • Action Biker was a reasonably decent game on the C64 - then again was a completely different game to the ZX Spectrum version.

        http://www.gamebase64.com/gameofweek/4/gotw_acti on biker.htm

        My first exposure to this commercial junk was Ocean's 1983 release Mr Wimpy on the ZX Spectrum:

        http://www.iarmst.demon.co.uk/new/game/mrwimpy.h tm
    • Yep... weren't there a bunch of these sort of games for the Atari 2600? I remember one Koolaid branded game, and I seem to recall others.

      So, while this may have taken a rest during the late 80's/early 90's, it is by no means revolutionary (as others have pointed out)
      • You're probably thinking of Kool-Aid Man [intellivisionlives.com], released in 1983 by Mattel Electronics for Intellivision and Atari 2600. There were some others, like a Chuck Wagon dog food game for Atari (that is apparently now a hugely prized collector's item).
    • Let's not forget Wipeout 2097 (aka Wipeout XL) with its extensive ads for Red Bull.

      (I just happen to be wearing a Red Bull T-shirt right now. I tried the stuff out of curiosity after seeing it in the game, and now I'm an addict. I guess video game advertising works.)
  • What's the deal with the nVidia logo at the beginning of UT2003?
  • Coolspot on the snes (a game by virgin interactive) was 7up sponsored....
    • Re:Coolspot (Score:2, Informative)

      by zudo ( 307075 )
      The most bizarre thing was that they removed all the sponsership for cool spot in europe because 7-up isn't/wasn't advertised by cool spot over here and they didn't want to confuse the market.

      We ended up with a pretty cool platformer with an unexplainable (to those that didn't know about American 7-up advertising) bonus section where you are suddenly transported to the inside of what appears to be a large green bottle of fizzy drink. I assume there where 7-up logos on that bottle in the American version?
      • no im from the UK too - But the emulated version i have on the pc must be US beacuse it has 7up on the loading screen and little 7up logo's to collect (as well as the cool spots) i cant remember if the UK version of this i borrowed off my friend about 10 years ago had / didnt have the 7up stuff in. but im pretty sure there were 7up logo's to collect???
        Ah the good old days of fido dido - i think i have a
        t shirt with him on somewhere :-)
  • McKids for the NES had two guys saving the world by helping ronald and his friends by getting burgers and fries, at the time i thought is was awesome as i was renting it and was 6 years old...
  • ET anyone? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by mezo ( 674348 ) on Monday May 19, 2003 @08:39AM (#5990971)
    whoa whoa whoa... i cant believe no one has mentioned the unholy ET and M&M atari game. not only was it blatant advertising, but the damned game was imposssible to play
    • Re:ET anyone? (Score:2, Informative)

      by mechugena ( 311767 )
      It was Reese's Pieces. M&M didn't want to have their candy used in the movie.
    • Re:ET anyone? (Score:3, Informative)

      by lightspawn ( 155347 )
      i cant believe no one has mentioned the unholy ET and M&M atari game. not only was it blatant advertising, but the damned game was imposssible to play

      E.T. was impossible to play because the only developer had to complete the thing in 6 weeks to cash in on the movie premiere. Now, licensed games are completely different than in-game ads, please don't confuse the issues.

      And if you're willing to go back as far as the Atari 2600, you'll find stuff like Kool aid man [atariage.com], Ralston-Purina's Chase the chuckwago [atariage.com]
  • by wowbagger ( 69688 ) * on Monday May 19, 2003 @08:59AM (#5991106) Homepage Journal
    OK, so now somebody needs to make a booster pack for the Sims that:
    1. Puts a little Windows icon on the poor sim's computer.
    2. Shortly thereafter, replaces it with blue.
    3. Then the Sim curses, jumps up and down, and hits the computer. The Sim's happiness goes down.
    4. Some Sims get a little fruit, or flightless waterfowl, or demonic icon. They don't have these problems.


    (/me waits for MicroAstroTurfers to respond....)
  • Two observations. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by NetDanzr ( 619387 ) on Monday May 19, 2003 @09:22AM (#5991240)
    1. Unlike the TV, which is virtually free, people pay for PC games. The advertisers' argument against TiVo or skipping commercials in general is that watching commercials is a way to pay for the free programing. With advertisments in games, will we get the games for free or at least cheaper?

    2. What will prevent rogue advertisers to advertise in on-line games? For example, a spammer in The Sims Online can create a character and simply walk around, telling users about the product he advertises. Or, if you can create your own house in the game (don't know whether that's possible; never played it), what prevents you to build a non-sanctioned Burger King right next to a McDonald's, which paid for product placement?

  • anyone remember spot's adventure for gameboy? this is the first instance of product = videogame i can remember. Not a good game, but not terrible. It was just more generic side scrolling and jumping.
  • I find it disturbing (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward
    I find it disturbing that even in the games we pay for have advertisements in them. There are good examples though. Like most real-life sporting events have major sponsorship and advertisements all over the place, the same is done as well in the game. The advertisements don't only earn the gane company some nice cash that can be invested into the game and create a realistic atmosphere inside the game world as it carries advertisements like the event they are simulating.

    But advertising is a dirty business,
  • I still have the CD that came in the cereal box from Chex(c). It was built on the DOOM engine, the original BSP engine.

    You went around thelevels blasting the green slime guys back into space/time. You didn't actually kill them, this is kid friendly. You had Chex shields and could eat fruit to get your health back. Had all of the weapons, most impressive total conversion for a commercial I've seen.
  • when characters on The Sims Online use their PCs

    I want to see the Sims Online fighting popups on their PCs using a popular alternate browser and drowning in mountains of Sim-spam as their happiness plummets. Think of the possibilities....

    Sims Online Linux (heh, the acronym for that one cracks me up).

    DRM - Sims style: Your Sim buys a CD and then can't listen to it. Adios, happiness.

  • Does anyone remmber Pepsiman? I never played the game, or heard much about it, but apparently you played as a superhero whose powers come from pepsi, on a mission to get, er, more pepsi. Basically the game was a big ad, but I hear it was quite fun.

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