Joi Ito's Web

Joi Ito's conversation with the living web.

first sighted on BoingBoing posted by Cory

Reuters on MSNBC

Happy Meals, Pentiums coming to video game world

Detailed terms of EA’s multimillion-dollar deal were not available but it will allow Intel’s familiar jingle, its product logo, and computers using its Pentium 4 processor to appear in the game.

Players in the game also will be able to buy a McDonald’s kiosk and sell the company’s branded food products, earning ”simoleans,” the game’s currency. Eating that food will also improve their standing within the game.

I remember when I was on the Sega "dream team" to think about how to set up the network for the Dreamcast, (I guess that was a bad dream...) I was pushing very hard to get product placement inside of the games. We tested things like sending objects such as a Christmas tree into Sonic the Hedgehog. Everyone always comes up with the idea of product placement in games in the desire to get advertising revenues, but this Sims Online deal seems to have been executed elegantly and it sounds just great. Hats off to the EA team for this. The integration into the game sounds cool too.

Product placement in movies has been going on for a long time and movies like Wayne's World did a great job of making fun of it...


Product placement (in the form of ads) has been around forever. I helped program the first arcade game to have product placements (I believe) which was in a game called 'SpyHunter' - which also had the first licensed music soundtrack in it (the Peter Gunn theme.) Billboards popped up along the race course, which were paid ads that some mkt guy at Bally - has figured out how to hustle. This was 1982-83.

But the Sims deal (you're right) is brilliant - and typical of Will Wright's genius - as it goes beyond product placement. Every Sim needs to eat, and why not a Big Mac?

What I REALLY want to do - is embed multi-player games in our 'networked environment' (Legend, Ultima, Everquest, Sims, etc.) - to not only garner commisssions for us - as we send new subscribers to EA or whoever, but ALSO so we can pass blog, web services or whatever dynamic data INTO the Sims. Can you imagine seeing and interacting with your face, your name, your girlfriend's bad habits or whatever (stock prices, weather, sports scores, debate issues, current news?) It would be like your life becomes Sim-ified!

Or better yet - how 'bout if the Sims passed US info - so a Sim character could have a blog, communicate (ala some AI 'bot) or 'come to life' - in the real world. We'd be the 'gateway' - the Stargate :-)

It's just about passing XML-RPC or SOAP calls.

Marc! I loved SpyHunter. It was my FAVORITE game. It was sooo cool.

Actually, there was a guy named Pavil Curtis (sp?) who was working at PARC on making a MUD interface for everything you do. It was a GREAT idea and I worked a lot in the MUD objected oriented programming environment and I do think that gaming environments as front ends make a lot of sense.

It would be pretty cool to have some company run by a Sim or something. I know some people who would probably work just fine reporting to a Sim. ;-p

'Wherever people spend time, ads will follow.' -- Anonymous

product placement in games should be avoided or someone should write some laws to regulate it now. I know it seems a bit harsh but because of a few factors like piracy and the ease in which that is done in todays gaming world will encourage something like advertising in games to take over.

Who seriously wants to be playing their first person shooter with billboards and surprisingly whole bits of packaging all over the place. Or your next rts could end up with shopping malls on each stage, each one apealing to this that or the other.

I'm a graphic-design student in SA and I know a bit of the advertising environment and therefore know it's not all bad, but I don't want it in my games. So either it should be avoided (which maybe it can't be for long) or severely limited so that it ends up small and unobtrusive.

Don't get me wrong because certain genres sometimes benifit from advertising to enhance realism such as racing games or sports but those genre's were commercial to start with. Realism should be the focus of game advertising.


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