A Game Changer: Product Placement in the Gaming Industry

Gaming has changed. Over the last twenty years the gaming industry has grown considerably along with its audience. Gamers no longer fit the stereotype of lonely, virginal, and perhaps overweight geeks. Video games can now be found in the homes of families, single women, bankers, and lawyers alike. Chances are your friends have played a video game at least once.

The standard has been set much higher to impress and the gaming industry has delivered time and time again. Each year these artistic ventures have become more technologically advanced, more pleasing to the eye, and more realistic than ever. It’s no surprise that with all this greatness, there has to be a few bad apples in the bunch, right?

With unimaginable success, there is usually one annoying (but sometimes necessary) aspect to follow in any major money-making industry. You guessed it – advertisements.

Product placement has become essential in this new economy for many companies to stay afloat. It’s understandable that subtle changes or a teeny placement here or there may need to be tolerated. Although lately, more not-so-subtle (more like screaming in your face, look-at-me-baby) breeds of such strategic placements have been rearing their ugly heads.

Take my own example for instance:

Wtf
Click image to view larger. Once you arrive at the attachment page, find where it says “Full Size” and click for the largest, close up(high res) version.)

Just last week I was browsing the PlayStation Store when I was slapped in the eyes with this atrocity.

 

Really Sony? You guys allowed this piece of garbage in your store? I understand big brands need to keep raking in money but, really? You think this is going to pour in the green for you?

I know I’ve been known to tell my readers not to judge a book by its cover. However, there are exceptions to that rule. If the cover of said material has a rather slutty provocatively-dressed woman with her legs spread wide open and a bucket of chicken in between, that may just be an exception. (The clear brand name plastered unmistakably across it. Click the image to view larger, I refuse to give the brand any more exposure than that screenshot.)

How could anything about that “game” be enjoyable? While I do feel it’s a bit unfair I’m saying so, I challenge any of my friends in the gaming world/industry to give that gem a test and let me know. On top of all that, they have the nerve to charge twenty US dollars for that steaming pile. I’ve played indie games that were a quarter of that price and worth ten times that amount.

Personal examples aside, there have been tales of placements like this becoming more frequent. If that’s true, what’s next? Will Lara Croft be carrying a popular soda? Has Solid Snake traded his Solid Eye for Google Glass?

Fans can accept and understand a subtle change. I refuse to believe people will entertain big brands being shoved in their face.

The industry is moving towards another milestone. Perhaps it has already reached it. The arrival of new consoles brought about even more massive changes. Games seem to be moving into the digital era and everything else is slowly fading. What will this mean for our beloved game stores if disc games become a thing of the past? Will we start to see an increase in advertising for other third parties with that huge market absent?

These thoughts are harder for an old school gamer gal to swallow than that between- the-legs chicken pictured above.

Ultimately, it’s up to the consumer. Will you buy pieces of crap like this or will you take a stand? Gaming has changed. It could be for the better. Let’s not let it be for the worse.

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9 thoughts on “A Game Changer: Product Placement in the Gaming Industry

  1. I’ve noticed this going on for years. Especially in sports games. I play Madden often and there are ads on the stadium walls. The “halftime show” is sponsored. As are the highlights. Of course, that’s how sports is IRL, so I guess if it’s in the game, it’s in the game. Still, though, I loathe ads.

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      1. Yeah, I’ve noticed it in other games, billboards and such. But mostly in sports games. I’m not sure a scantily clad woman sporting a bucket of KFC is going to accomplish anything.

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  2. Yuck – that’s pretty revolting. I’ve not seen it as much in games as in movies. The big companies pay millions to have their products in the hands of the stars and on billboards behind the stars (as for it being between their legs? I haven’t seen that one before!)

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