I think my first encounter of a recognisable product placement was a Dell XPS laptop in F.E.A.R.
I’m not car loving game player but a I guess the most blatant product placement in-game appears in the whole Need for Speed (NSF) series and in fact most, if not all the car games out there. I recently saw a doc*mentary around the launch of the new Nissan GT-R in the NSF Undercover game and how Nissan placed special emphasis on letting the gaming community see the first images of their new G-TR before the public seeing it at an official car show. This I understand was a first for the company and why would they do that you ask? Their reasoning was too show their appreciation to all the gamers who have bought and supported the NSF game, thanking them I guess for their loyalty.
The game developers of the car enthusiast games do put in the hard yards to produce as close to life as possible the look and feel of these cars in to the ‘flat’ intangible screen of the gamer. But by doing so does the actual car manufacturer get any benefit out of it? I mean the gamer can’t touch it, kick the tyres, smell the rubber and certainly can only experience the sound of what their Creative Labs 7.1 surround sound will pump out. But it’s nothing like the real thing. I’ve seen a couple of the new GT-R’s on the roads and they certainly turn heads, but I can’t say that if I saw it on a screen during a gaming session I would be as impressed. They look mean in real life especially from the rear.
More and more in-game product placement is creeping into the gaming space, but whether a gamer whose busy being pinned down by a mob of AI baddies is going to notice them is another story.
They say it’s a huge business this in-game product placement, a lot of ‘Benjamins’ and marketers representing the product owners are queuing up to place their product in-game. I’d be interested in finding out whether this works. Would you buy a Dell XPS just because you saw it in F.E.A.R?
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