Product placement isn’t exactly anything new in the world of entertainment and it seems Remedy’s latest game Quantum Break also has its fair share of product placement but does the game take it too far? We see a ton of product placement of Microsoft products such as Windows phones and Windows 10 devices but with a game and a studio that is partnered with Microsoft in an exclusivity deal, it’s easier to swallow these instances of product placements. However, do advertisements of Nissan cross the line?
Product placement, brand integration or embedded marketing, is, according to the United States Government “any form of audio-visual commercial communication consisting of the inclusion of or reference to a product, a service or the trade mark thereof so that it is featured within a programme, in return for payment or for similar consideration”.
Product placement is very common in forms of media such as film and TV but it’s somewhat less common in forms of media such as video games. However, that doesn’t mean it’s never been apparent in video games. For instance, Naughty Dog’s Uncharted 3 made a deal with Subway to feature a subway t-shirt in the multiplayer section of the game and even had a TV ad with Drake holding a Sub. While some may see these instances of product placement in video games as egregious in nature, it’s worth noting that these sorts of deals can end up making quite a bit of money for developers and hence can aid towards making a game better.
In a case that is closer to home, Remedy’s previous cult classic ‘Alan Wake’ also featured some form of product placement. In Alan Wake, there are the batteries, and the fact that they’re all Energizers. Many were divided at the time whether this was intrusive to the experience or whether it added a level of realism to the game. Alan Wake also featured in game billboards for brands like Verizon and Energizers but since most of that game is spent in dark woods, even then it wasn’t much of a problem.
There is always a hoo-ha about this sort of thing. The sanctity of the games that we love always seem to be in danger whenever we hear of these sort of things but how big of a deal is it?
Well, product placements in video game software have been around since the 1980s. Back then, Sega was placing banners advertising Marlboro in its auto-racing arcade games. However, this kind of product integration isn’t always about the cash. Just as product placement in movies promotes credibility and realism in the movie, it can be said to have the same effect in the space of video games; making the “environment” of the game more lifelike and adding a layer of realism to a game.
Especially in the case of Quantum Break which boats perhaps the most sophisticated TV tie-in elements ever seen in a video game, it’s not too far off to presume that this kind of product placement is just that – a means of adding another layer of realism to the world and environment of Quantum Break.
However, there will inevitably be some who see this as a ‘dirty’ deal and will think that product placement or advertising like this has no place in video games. In some ways, and even more so than other mediums of entertainment, gamers can become very attached to video games and seeing things like this can leave a bad taste in the mouth of some. It seems that gamers have different views on the benefits of having in game advertisements in video games but how do you feel about them? Do you think in-game product placements such as Nissan with Quantum Break is a bad thing? Let us know how you feel in the comments below.