Image: screenshot from Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas
Alpha Mediaworks uses game-like virtual environments to model and demonstrate effectiveness of outdoor advertising campaigns. From their website: "Outdoor DRiVE PRO is a virtual environment that enables you to easily input planned outdoor advertising into a module and view the art as if in the driver’s seat. The program gives advertisers the ability to assess the impact of a design through a variety of simulated environments that judge billboard readability with distance milestones." Media Post writes: "[The program] allows users to drop up to six different ads in standard digital formats to simulate a campaign using outdoor spaces, including billboards and bus kiosks. Formats include 8 sheets, 30 sheets, bulletins, and shelters, all viewable in day and night settings. The interface, reminiscent of urban shoot-'em-up video game "Grand Theft Auto" (without the gore, of course), may also be useful for selling clients or senior execs on campaigns."
Here's a bit from my conversation with Behavior Insider: "Contextual and behavioral advertising would be much easier to do in the virtual world than it is here in the real world... Even if you place a billboard in the real world, it's really expensive to measure how many people see it and how many people act on it. In the virtual world, you can also place a billboard which would look exactly like it would here on Massachusetts Avenue here in Boston. But in the virtual world there are many more, much cheaper techniques to measure the exposure."