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 Product Placements In Games - Good, Bad, Ugly

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Balladeer
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PostSubject: Product Placements In Games - Good, Bad, Ugly   Product Placements In Games - Good, Bad, Ugly EmptyThu 8 Oct 2015 - 19:26

It's been a thing for a while. It can be done well. It can be done very poorly.

This comes off the back of Nintendo Life's "er, um, ah" review of Chibi-Robo!: Zip Lash, which talks about and sneers at the use of real-world snacks.

John Wahlgren wrote:
But these aren't generic video game snacks — they're real-world brands, and their presence manages to pull off the unholy trifecta of confusion, distraction, and annoyance. Product placement isn't a new concept for games, and when integrated well can actually enhance the game world. Chibi-Robo uses the real world as a backdrop but is hardly working within a plausible snapshot of Earth, and brands like Utz Pretzel Wheels have zero place here. It makes no sense for toys to gush about how much they love these snacks, and it's even weirder to save their gushing in Chibi-Robo's log for later reading. A gentle nudge to post your every snack discovery to Miiverse just twists the knife further. This is crass product placement, not "world-building" stuff, and feels wholly out of place.

He's right, though - it can enhance the game world. An example I actually like can be found in the Monkey Ball games:

Product Placements In Games - Good, Bad, Ugly Smb15

If that's the good, an CRZL is the bad, the ugly is Mario Kart 8. I know not everyone will agree, but in my opinion, the Mercedes in-game cars were as out of place as the Mario-cedes adverts were hilarious. And you don't have to download them, no, but you can't avoid them online.

Product Placements In Games - Good, Bad, Ugly Mario-Kart-8-Mercedes-3

Any other good/bad/ugly examples of product placement in games? Like/dislike the idea in general? Your thoughts, ladies and gents, please.
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JayMoyles
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PostSubject: Re: Product Placements In Games - Good, Bad, Ugly   Product Placements In Games - Good, Bad, Ugly EmptyThu 8 Oct 2015 - 20:34

I think the idea works when it's incorporated tastefully into a game. Snake using a Sony Walkman to explain how he can listen to enemy cassette tape recordings on the go in MGSV - that works. Stuff like the aforementioned Mario-cedes or this...

Product Placements In Games - Good, Bad, Ugly Burnoutobama800_screen-e1375472048543

...not so much. Basically, if the game's set in the real world, I can excuse product placement far more easily than I can if a McDonalds drive-thru popped up in Hyrule, for example.
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Buskalilly
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PostSubject: Re: Product Placements In Games - Good, Bad, Ugly   Product Placements In Games - Good, Bad, Ugly EmptyThu 8 Oct 2015 - 20:41

I can forgive the Mario Mercs because the advert they launched with was so funny.
Product Placements In Games - Good, Bad, Ugly Pikmn-2-battery
Pikmin did it well because seeing the little buggers run around the world I recognise was a big part of the appeal.
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Treesmurf
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PostSubject: Re: Product Placements In Games - Good, Bad, Ugly   Product Placements In Games - Good, Bad, Ugly EmptySat 10 Oct 2015 - 13:10

I was a big fan of the Pikmin product placement too, it gave a real sense of there being this small world of creatures in your own back garden (if you like to litter that is). In the same way I like the sound of the Chibi Robo product placement but only time will tell with that one.

A recent trend in PES games has been to include changing advertisements on the banners around the stadium which update from time to time, I quite like that as it adds to the realism of a real stadium's look and feel.
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Muss
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PostSubject: Re: Product Placements In Games - Good, Bad, Ugly   Product Placements In Games - Good, Bad, Ugly EmptySat 10 Oct 2015 - 17:22

In sports games I generally don't mind it when they advertise something as it is normally brief and adds an air of authenticity to the experience, particularly American sports like Basketball or Ice Hockey.

However, I do get annoyed that EA only keep their servers online for 24 months - ish, because they must make a pretty penny off of product placement.

I get it, they want people to buy the new version, but even so they could have done something nice like put a charity on there, like War Child or Water Aid as the Football Manager Series does, rather than cashing in whatever multi-billion dollar corp is in this year's game.
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ZeroJones
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PostSubject: Re: Product Placements In Games - Good, Bad, Ugly   Product Placements In Games - Good, Bad, Ugly EmptySun 11 Oct 2015 - 14:39

Honestly not experienced it enough to have formed an opinion one way or the other. I do like the sound of the updating advertising hoardings in PES, though - I've felt a pang when previous static/unreal ones have caught my eye in previous football games.
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JayMoyles
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PostSubject: Re: Product Placements In Games - Good, Bad, Ugly   Product Placements In Games - Good, Bad, Ugly EmptySun 11 Oct 2015 - 15:35

I think it'd be jarring if there weren't product placement in sports games.

Was doing some Googling into product placement in games - I didn't come across this in MGS: Peace Walker, but it looks hilarious.

Product Placements In Games - Good, Bad, Ugly Mountaindew

"Snake, that's a can of Mountain Dew. Use the code on the back for double XP this weekend when playing Call of Duty 22: Electric Boogaloo!"
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Buskalilly
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PostSubject: Re: Product Placements In Games - Good, Bad, Ugly   Product Placements In Games - Good, Bad, Ugly EmptySun 11 Oct 2015 - 16:24

So Snake has drank more mountain dew than the entire WWE Commentary team throughout the history of the sponsorship.
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gjones
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PostSubject: Re: Product Placements In Games - Good, Bad, Ugly   Product Placements In Games - Good, Bad, Ugly EmptySun 11 Oct 2015 - 21:29

My favourite remains Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory. Two guards talking:

Guard 1: It's a pretty cushy posting, that's for sure.
Guard 2: But I heard the guy was really annoying.
Guard 1: The guy isn't there anymore, he's out of town.
Guard 2: What, so you're just watching his stuff?
Guard 1: Yeah. Emptying his liquor cabinet and playing video games. He's got the new Prince of Persia!
Guard 2: Yeah? I heard it's awesome.
Guard 1: Gonna be game of the year, man.
Guard 2: Can't wait to play it.

Good? Crazy Taxi.

Bad? I hated the EA Trax thing on games like Burnout and NBA Street, where the song details pop up over potentially important areas of the screen. If I cared that much about the name of a song, I'd check through the Sound Options.

Ugly? Fight Night Round 3 had the bleeding Burger King bloke in your corner. That was surreal. The Mario Kart 8 thing didn't sit well either. Basically, any moment where the product placement is glaringly obvious, instead of just being a part of the environment.
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