Marketing in Games

Hey Leah! Don’t read this! 🙂

I’ve been thinking the last couple of days about marketing within games. On the XBox, all the ‘real world’ games that I’ve played (sports & driving games) contain vast amounts of advertising for real-world products. No longer do see ads for mythical ‘super-cola!’, but actual coke ads, or goodyear ads, etc. And with a second thought, this makes sense. Why? Because the video game market is so enormous. In addition, it costs a hell of a lot to make a modern video game, not just in programmers, but often in scoring and voice-acting (or even video-acting) too. And so why not defray the costs of some of these with a little product placement or advertising? You’ve got a completely captive audience.

On Sunday, I played Trivial Pursuit 20th anniversay edition. During the course of play, I became increasingly disturbed by what felt like advertising in the game. There were 3 questions where the answer linked Viagra to Pfizer. The answer to another question was ‘Claritin’. I’m pretty sure there was at least one more question/answer combo that we read that was related to a pharmaceutical company. Which makes me highly suspicious of the game now. Is whomever owns Trivial Pursuit owned by a pharmaceutical company? What other sort of advertising will crop up in this game as I play it more?