Advertisements in video games have always been frowned upon. For some reason people seem to hate it when they see a real life product or company being advertised in a game.
And I can see why, after spending $60 or $80 on a video game the last thing you want is to be advertised to and told to buy something else. But whether you like it or not ads in video games are here to stay and I predict that sometime in the future even more studios and publishers will begin putting advertisements in their games.
I don’t mind simple product placement in video games all that much, as long as it fits into the game’s world. Having a can of coke appear in something like Battlefield is fine because other than all of the warfare, we have no reason to believe that the world outside of the main game is any different to our world. But having it appear in a game like Final Fantasy is going a step too far since that game’s entire universe is different to ours. As long as the ad doesn’t conflict with the game’s world and isn’t too in your face then I’m fine with it.
That isn’t to say that good product placement doesn’t detract from a game at all. Take Grand Theft Auto for example, the whole idea of that series is that it’s a parody of the real world, so having real life products appear the game wouldn’t exactly make the game better or worse but it would lose that extra layer of immersion. The guys at Rockstar could’ve easily put real ads on the in-game T.V but they instead put in fake shows and cartoons that they themselves made, which in the end adds to the overall presentation of the game.
Of course with video games comes new and different forms of advertising like interactive ads. This means costumes, vehicles, weapons and so on that all have some sort of branding on them. The new Mad Max game had this with a vehicle you could download that was covered in Rockstar Energy drink cans and logos. In a universe where gasoline is called guzzolene this seems particularly out of place and ridiculous.
Right now in-game advertising isn’t so bad, most of the time its just in the background and fits in with what’s around it. But the moment studios and publishers start putting advertisements on loading screens that’s when I’ll really start to get mad. And god help us if we starts seeings ads on loading screens.