EA's Need for Speed: Underground 2 (pictured above) received Gamespot's dubious award for Most Despicable Product Placement. Gamespot explains: "When you're trying to create a realistic city, inserting actual businesses can make an area feel a little truer to life. Need for Speed Underground 2 not only includes actual businesses, but it also makes sure you know where they are by putting things near them and then sending you messages that say things like, "The hidden parts shop is marked by a red light near the Burger King(TM)." Next time, work out your legalese ahead of time, instead of having to insert trademark symbols directly in the game."
Equally badly received were the SpikeTV's Video Game Awards 2004, blasted in a recent Slashdot's editorial: "As far as I could tell, the show had little to do with games, and everything to do with advertising. "Most Addictive Game Fueled by Mountain Dew"? Come on! If the Oscars had categories like "Best Comedy driven by Ford" or "Best Female in a Leading Role with makeup by Revlon" would you take them seriously?"
Journal of Interactive Advertising publishes a special issue on gaming and advertising. Papers include:
- Advertainment or Adcreep? Game Players’ Attitudes toward Advertising and Product Placements in Computer Games
- The Effect of Billboards within the Gaming Environment
- Experiencing Interactive Advertising beyond Rich Media: Impacts of Ad Type and Presence on Brand Effectiveness in 3D Gaming Immersive Virtual Environments
Round Up: In-Game Ads
Nielsen to Audit Game Ads
Use Of In-Game Ads Grows
Unexplored: Deus Ex Machinima
Advertising in Video Games: Problems
(Social) Advertising in Computer Games
Future: Product Placement