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I kinda like product placement in games. Like my piece here ages ago about how Project Gotham 2 felt so very real since they got not only the licenses for the buildings, but for other buildings (like Walgreens, Dunkin' Donuts, etc.) that are "corporate identities," much like the Best Buys in Need for Speed.

As far as bringing the cost down, I think that's slightly true, but don't look for those costs to be carried over to the consumers. Games are getting more and more expensive to make as the demands for better graphics, and larger more immersive environments take their toll on development. Companies maybe get 1/2 to a few million dollars total for all of the products or corporate logos placed in their games, and when the bare minimum game budgets these days is in the teens of millions (people are speculating for instance that the new EA title The Godfather is going to cost them $39 million to make, as an example on the high end), it's not like the product placement monies really represent a large enough savings to be passed on to the consumer.

In many ways, the savings is in the fact that the company is able to make a profit, stay in business, and bring us more titles.


I think as long as advertising is handled tastefully, there's really no problem with it. Unfortunately, since this whole advertising-in-games thing is fairly new, developers are still trying to figure out how to do this intelligently.

My favorite EA game, SSX3, has advertisements for several different things, but it fits right in because sporting competitions in the real world have sponsorship. However, Gamespot gave a dubious honor to Need For Speed Underground 2 for their not-so-subtle product tie-ins. Of course, adding corporate sponsorship to an "illegal street racing" world requires a bit of developer judo.


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