This Frag Brought to you by Coke

Today I read an article detailing how Electronic Arts (EA) has signed a massive deal to put advertisements into their PC and Xbox 360 games. This deal signals a lot of good and bad effects for the video game industry as a whole. First the good side of it, video games have become such a large industry with a valuable demographic that advertisers are looking to spend money on them. Movies have been featuring ads for years, some subtle some not so, but now advertisers are seeing that video games are just as good, if not a better way to reach certain demographics. Another positive attribute is being able to use real products in video games will make them more realistic. It’s much more fun to go on a shooting rampage through a Wal-Mart then a generic retail store. Lastly the added advertising dollars will help to fund the very costly process of developing a new game. Video games now need staffs of hundreds to complete and then have to have a significant advertising budget in order to insure a successful release. There is much more competition among games these days and advertising can often make or break a game, especially if it is a new franchise. Advertising will help to fund more games being made. Now for the bad, of which there is a lot. EA has stated that these ads will be dynamic and will change by downloading new content over a network connection. This type of access especially to your PC will ensure that it becomes loaded with lots of unnecessary spy ware. People will remember all the problems Sony had with their CDs that secretly installed Spy Ware onto people’s PCs. Secondly, despite these added advertising dollars it is unlikely that companies will lower the price of their games. People are now paying upwards of $70 for a new game. Are people really going to be happy when they start playing their brand-new game and find it littered with ads for Cheetos and Bawls (these being gamers primary food groups). EA has stated that their ads will be in context with game themes. However, one of the games slated to have ads is Battlefield 2142, and unless EA has a time machine (which they might with all that Madden money) I don’t think any of the ads with be theme appropriate, except for Twinkies which will be the only product to survive a nuclear holocaust. This increased advertising will also lead to less control by game developers of what gets put into their game. Advertisers will now have say as to what they deem appropriate for games they are sponsoring, much like they do with TV shows now. Video games have finally become large enough to be noticed by corporate America and in the coming years they will continue to play more and more of a role in this country’s financial future.

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