This article (own work) was originally published in the gaming magazine 2old2play. Read other articles

Advertising has been a way to promote and sell products for centuries, although only now is it starting to make its way into the gaming industry and our video games. Yes, our beloved gaming industry is becoming bogged down with advertisements. Not just sidebars advertising in online games now, but actual merchandise and trademarks of brand name companies and products appearing in games, such as Coca-Coal and Sprite in Splinter Cell Chaos theory.

In upcoming games, would you be happy replenishing energy by drinking a can of Coca-Cola or eating a brand name product? How about walking into a McDonalds in Grand Theft Auto 5, or being able to purchase Nike shoes? Advertising in games is likely to appear a lot more in the not so near future, with several games, such as Splinter Cell Chaos Theory and Anarchy Online already having showed featured advertising, and how it can be subtlety implemented. Splinter Cell Chaos Theory implemented the advertising in such a way, that many will not have noticed it, subtle advertising such as posters and soda machines, all bearing trademark names and products were shown. I actually enjoyed seeing brand name soda machines in Splinter Cell Chaos Theory, and felt that it added a little more realism to the game.

Massive Incorporated claims to be ‘the world’s first gaming network’ in which it implements advertising into video games. Massive incorporates advertising generally in the form of Billboards and Posters, Vehicles, Pizza Boxes, Soda Cans, Screensavers, and TV Screens. It claims to have successfully incorporated subtle advertisements into over 40 games, including Major league baseball 2K6 and the online game Project Entropia. It caters mainly for the 18 to 34 male gamer, which is the focal point for their advertisements in games.

The idea of using brand name products in games is a novel idea at first, and may entice gamers, just because it’s different, but where is the line drawn on in game advertising? At first, it may seem “cool” to replenish health by eating a brand name burger, but after a few times, the subtleness wears thin, and the advertising becomes just annoying. Would it be suitable for game characters in a game suitable for younger people to drink brand name alcoholic drinks?

Companies are paying big money to advertise in our games, and since it is the consumer who will be viewing the adverts, should that benefit not be passed onto the consumer in the form of cheaper video games? If games were released at a cheaper price to the consumer, as a result of a corporation advertising in the game, would it be so bad? One possible thought is how it would be possible for a game to have two versions, one being the normal version at RRP (without in game advertising), and the second version being cheaper at release as a result of it including in game advertisements.

The gaming industry is becoming more popular and more profitable every year now. It is now large enough to be attracting the attention of advertisers, and if it helps to make the games and future games I play better, and cheaper, then in game advertising is a great concept. So long as adverts are kept realistic, and relevant, in game advertising seems to have great potential, and will surely be seen in more upcoming games.

In Game Advertising

In Game Advertising

Sprite and Coca-Cola both appeared in Splinter Cell Chaos Theory.


This article (own work) was originally published in the gaming magazine 2old2play. Read other articles