Despicable Use of In-Game Advertising

Gamespot's Dubious Honors Awards for despicable use of in-game advertising:

2004 (Need for Speed Underground)
2005 (SWAT 4, where the dynamic in-game ads made one of the first appearances)
2006 (Fight Night Round 3, a boxing game with the Burger King's King in it)
2007 (Need for Speed ProStreet):

"Need for Speed ProStreet isn't exactly an example of in-game advertising restraint. Playing the game offline isn't all that offensive, but as soon as you jump on to Xbox Live, the deluge begins. The game has dynamic ads that start downloading the very first time you get online. What's worse and even more ridiculous is that the game's Xbox Live achievement points have ads attached to them. That's right, even the achievements in this game are brought to you by a commercial sponsor." Video review of the game below.

Also note the readers' choice selections as well as nominees.


  1. I must admit I have not seen these awards before.

    However I don't consider any of them to be over-the-top rally. Well maybe the Burger King bit. :)

    Sure there does look like a lot of ads in ProStreet but it is simulating race cars. I am sure at the equivalent real life car racing there are more adverts.

    We have all seen the cars and the drivers.

    I am always on the lookout for sensible discussion on in-game ads but I don't think I would get one from the people at gamespot.

  2. Gamespot editors have been fairly reasonable in their complaints about ads, although I don't always agree with their choice of games. The problem with the latest Need For Speed, they say, is that it's about much less commercialized street racing, so ads don't really add a lot of realism as they did in other racing titles.

    Their major problem with SWAT was that the ads were dynamically served into a game -- the first year when the tech appeared -- but I think they got over it with time.

    The King in the boxing title was gratuitous but charming, but I don't think that was the worst placement ever. Battlefield 2142, a futuristic setting with present-day ads for Pepsi, was much worse and the game got the Readers' Choice for that year.


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