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PRODUCT-PLACING IN VIDEO GAMES, THE NEXT FRONTIER
Published December 5, 1994
Product-placement advertising has come to the video-game business, "just in time for Christmas" -- and it is being "embraced by game makers as a possible cash cow." Some examples include little Adidas billboards in the video game FIFA Int'l Soccer and 7-Up ads on a scoreboard of a Formula One Grand Prix video game. "While new technology has made video games more believable, it has also made them vastly more expensive to produce. Proponents say product ads help keep the expensive games from costing even more, while adding a dash of realism." Opponents of video-game product placement say the "arrival of advertising on computer games is wiping out one of the last havens children have against commercial messages." What bothers consumer groups is that the ads in many of the games are "subtle -- often, products are woven into the action itself. In addition, children play games over and over, unlike, say, movies, where viewers are usually exposed to product deals only once or twice." Another worry: "Unlike movies, which are rated by industry review boards, video games are unregulated." There is nothing to prevent video game makers from accepting alcohol and cigarette advertising (Kyle Pope, WALL STREET JOURNAL, 12/5).