Ever since developers figured out multiple ways of adding new stuff to video games without a performance penalty, people in the marketing divisions got the idea to add advertisements to video games. Now, that by itself is not a bad thing, especially considering that the developers need to earn money and most of the time, the publishers, too.
In-game advertising is present in almost every video game today, and it takes on different shapes and forms. Here are the types of in-game advertisements you can expect to find.
Dynamic In-game Advertisements
This is a fairly recent addition to video games, one that is present in multiple online multiplayer video games. The reason for this is that online video games are always updated and that the dynamic content can be planned for as time goes by, so that when a new product or service is available, players can be notified of it. This allows both the things advertised to earn more money, as well as the publishers, which gain a lot from the ad placements. This also allows placements in very popular games and on multiple devices, from mobile phones to console and PCs, as well.
Static In-game Advertisements
On the other hand, static in-game advertisements are not as customizable as dynamic advertisements. The reason for that is that the content cannot be changed once it is placed in the game. These campaigns have longer planning periods and more resources is invested, but likewise, the ads are far more strategically placed and they often do not really come as an eye sore. A simple example would be billboards in any game. A quite notorious example of static advertisement can be found in Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory, when the main character pulls out a pack of Airwaves gum. Airwaves can be seen multiple times throughout the game, as well as Axe deodorants.
If properly placed, these products can gain a lot of attention.
This is the pinnacle of advertising as it means a game which was specifically designed to advertise a product. The 90s saw a bunch of such games, many of which are actually great games and interesting to play, even though they still blatantly just advertise a product. The two memorable games are Zool and Cool Spot. Zool served as a marketing tool for Chupa Chups lollipops, where you had the branding at the start of the game. It is still a very difficult game.
Cool Spot is a great platformer, still serving as a pillar for many of today’s platformers. It came from the great mind of Joe Perry who also worked on the Lion King, Aladdin and Earthworm Jim. The game advertised 7 UP.
In-game advertising is quite a common sight today, in almost all genres on all platforms.