Why is there advertising in video games and what is behind it?

Why is there advertising in video games and what is behind it?

What do Ax, Pepsi, Doritos and Intel have in common? They are all brands with a young, male target group and a large advertising budget. What could be more obvious than advertising in video games? From poster advertising to vending machines, every gamer has probably already made the acquaintance of such in-game advertising. But not every advertising in video games is annoying and there is more to the advertising market than you might think at first glance.

Recommended editorial content Here you will find external content from [PLATFORM]. To protect your personal data, external integrations are only displayed if you confirm this by clicking on "Load all external content": Load all external content I consent to external content being displayed to me. This means that personal data is transmitted to third-party platforms. Read more about our privacy policy . External content More on this in our data protection declaration.

Gradations of advertising

In product placement, consumer goods are shown and / or named within the video game. Instead of acting as pure decoration, some products are also integrated into the plot and the player has to interact with them in the course of the story. The display of advertisements on the loading screen almost feels like a commercial break. An occasional shit storm among gamers regularly reminds advertisers that we're not going to put up with everything. Source: Square Enix

Conversely, this means that the product placements of a large corporation can definitely influence the plot of a game - whether we could get a Porsche in Cyberpunk or the side mission for it would even be available was, in case of doubt, a pure question of money.

Ubisoft seemed to have real financial difficulties with the appearance of Rainbow Six Vegas, in which the poster advertising changed up to once a day depending on the region. At that time, Ubisoft tried new advertising concepts, which were accompanied by constant game updates - today you only see the permanently implemented Ax deodorant.

In fact, advertising on this scale is actually not allowed. But where the Telemedia Act and the Interstate Broadcasting Treaty apply to television and radio, only the law against unfair competition and the consumer's general personal rights apply to video games. In plain language this means: No false statements may be made about the products mentioned and games with excessive advertising content should be labeled. The latter is the case when more than 20 percent of the budget is financed through product placements and the game is equipped with a corresponding product penetrance (according to the judgment of the BGH itself).

Breeding and order

It is thanks to the manufacturers that we still cannot find any labels on games. Because they squirm with the fact that advertising is something natural, which only makes the game world more authentic - and so product penetration turns into an "enrichment" for the game world. Advertising was the last chance Gremlin Interactive had to complete their game. The price is that the Chuba-Chubs logo is stuck on several surfaces. Source: Gremlin Interactive

In order to put the rigorous advertisers in their place, an occasional shit storm is required. Namely, when advertising appears on the loading screen like with Deus Ex 3. The initially small evil would only have been the first step towards a branded industry, the effects of which have long been felt in browser and mobile games. Commercial breaks, upgrades for watching ads and ads that have to be actively pushed aside - every gamer's nightmare.

But product placement in video games is not a newfangled juggernaut, because the first in-game advertising was already there 1978 released game Adventureland, in which the developer advertised the continuation of the title. And in 1990 the game Zool - Ninja of the Nth Dimension only made it onto the Amiga, because the manufacturer Gremlin Interactive entered into a cooperation with Chuba Chubs to get the last bit of money for the development. The unspectacular Sonic clone is only known today for the fact that its first level is paved with the gigantic logo of the lollipop manufacturer.

In Sunny Shine and the Sunny Side of Life, we can discuss why L&M is the best brand of cigarettes ever. Source: Rainbow Arts

Kippen and Scotch

At this time, so-called advergames or adgames were also established: video games that were only produced for advertising purposes. One of the first German advertising games was produced by former game journalist Boris Schneider-Johne under Rainbow Arts. Commissioned by Philipp Morris, a game that advertises cigarettes in such a way would be unthinkable today and even then the game didn't win any prizes for good looks or even fun. The original grouse hunt was created as a swipe at Johnny Walker's greatest competitor The famous Grouse - the famous grouse. Source: Ravensburger Interactive Media GmbH

A real cracker among the adgames was and is the grouse hunt by the German developer Phenomedia. In the case of the arcade shooter, the brand behind it, Johnny Walker, did without bold advertising banners and instead decided to choke on its biggest competitor at the time. The grouse to be hunted is an allusion to the scotch manufacturer The Famous Grouse (the famous wood grouse or grouse). A few years after the free shooter appeared, a study found that although the image of Johnny Walker was perceived in a more modern way, the brand has not gained a bit of awareness. Incidentally, these results never made it to America, where one of the most dubious advertising games of all time is sold.

Recruiting meets marketing

The first part of America's Army was published around 20 years ago, a highly acclaimed one Shooter, developed by none other than the America's Army, is a free online shooter that aims to bring young Americans closer to life as a soldier in CS: GO / Call-of-Duty style. Source: Ubisoft American Army itself. For recruiting purposes, a game was to be released that, as a CS: GO and Call-of-Duty blend, should bring young people closer to living and working in the army. Rumor has it that very successful players even received recruitment requests directly - but there is no doubt that the first-person shooter was used in recruitment offices and schools to convince young people that quickscoping is a real war tactic. Perhaps it is consolation to know that part of the huge US military budget goes into the entertainment industry, which only demands virtual sacrifices.

To answer the big question of what this kind of advertising does in games to the player himself , we have to dig a little deeper, namely in communication psychology.

Read also 0

Propaganda games: Interactive brainwashing by the army, politics and industry

Governments, companies and organizations have been using for many years Video games for spreading their messages. A market overview in the big special report. var lstExcludedArticleTicker = '1369189,1211408';

How did you feel about it?

What sounds dry at first, ultimately determines how we find games; why we like them and what bothers us about them. When you look at some games, you ask yourself what the advertisers thought of getting such explicit product placements, although they are annoying and often give us a bad feeling.

An example is the still popular title Alan Wake called: The American communications company Verizon advertises in the game on billboards with a commercial and a film sequence in which the Verizon logo is more than prominent. This content is really intrusive through the achievements linked to it, such as actually seeing the TV commercial, which is hardly conducive to the immersion of the thriller. Why this advertisement is an example of bad in-game advertisement was only revealed in later studies. Good advertising is characterized by three characteristics: the brand fit (how well the product fits into the game), the interactivity (I use the product) and a certain reluctance to name the brand (how often the brand is mentioned). When Alan Wake's cell phone falls on the floor, we are amazed at how intrusive product placement in games can be. Source: Remedy

If we stay with Alan Wake, we will also find the prominent advertising partner Energizer - a manufacturer of batteries. His logo can be found on the flashlight, which is essential for the game. Because only when the eponymous protagonist Alan shines his flashlight on opponents can he shoot them. As it is, the flashlight quickly runs out of juice, which is why it is essential to keep finding new batteries that happen to be from Energizer as well. In fact, the product makes sense in the game.

We need the batteries to progress in the game and interactivity is there too, after all, we are actively collecting the batteries. Although one can hardly speak of economical use, the developers adhered to the most important rule for product placements. We players should associate positive feelings with the product. And when we find batteries, we experience a similarly positive feeling as when we find ammunition in The Last of Us: Salvation.

Recommended editorial content Here you will find external content from [PLATFORM]. To protect your personal data, external integrations are only displayed if you confirm this by clicking on "Load all external content": Load all external content I consent to external content being displayed to me. This means that personal data is transmitted to third-party platforms. Read more about our privacy policy . External content More on this in our data protection declaration.

Bad Practice

What sounds so simple, even the big brands regularly fail. In the remake of Bionic Commando, Pepsi placed some drinks machines with their logo on them, which looks quite appropriate in an office building. But although the main mechanics of the game is to pepper objects around with our bionic arm, we are denied that with the static drinks machines. Maintaining the advertising space is too important to allow the players the fun of smashing it, and the advertising quickly becomes annoying instead of us being happy to have more projectiles available. If you want to drive a Porsche in Cyberpunk, you have to make the right decision in the right side mission - but you have to earn the sight of the coveted car yourself. Source: CD Projekt Red

A real knack for cheeky product placements is proven time and again, especially developer legend Hideo Kojima. While Solid Snake was able to dress up a number of promotional T-shirts in Metal Gear, the Japanese version of Metal Gear Solid: Peacemaker even went so far as to replace one of the power-ups with a floating Doritos bag.

Here in Germany we shouldn't experience this aberration of taste first hand, but with Death Stranding they handed us an advertising campaign that is like a slap in the face. Cans of monster energy drinks keep pushing into our field of vision and although we can interact with the drinks and they give us a stamina boost, the inflationary presentation of this product is downright outrageous. Not least because the design of the can does not match the muted and rather bleak colors of the game, but rather resembles a glaring anomaly that has sprung from another world.

Monster Energy is symbolic of what is going on Advertising in games goes wrong: Instead of aligning the brand with the game in order to maintain immersion, the product becomes uncomfortable. In games like this, the positive emotions that we feel are only there to ensure that we associate a good feeling with the brand being shown and the developer is not interested in the game, but only in the money.

Powered by Blogger.